That Thing Unholy is a 500-word, weird fiction piece about an unknowable and dead creature suddenly being somewhere.
Content Warnings: Animal death.
That Thing Unholy
That dead animal there, stinking and smoldering amid the black traces of surgeon flies, was the sort of confusing thing the man couldn’t have expected. But there it was. He stood on his porch and looked the big dead heap for a long time. He spat to his side and stepped down from the porch and looked up to the sky as if the meaty carcass dropped from the heavens themselves, cast down by Saint Peter because it wasn’t alive enough. He looked left along the fence running around the house until his head stopped, and it cocked. He scratched his beard and looked at the thing again.
It could have been a skinned cow of some foreign breed. It could have been a mutant bear that crawled over from New Mexico, which had been dormant under White Sands, somewhere around Trinity. It could have been a mutilated horse that some worse creature had presented in some macabre sacrifice to the man. It had a long pink snout and strings of strong pink muscle. Its feet were a tentacled jelly which amassed strands of rotting flesh clumped up as if they’d each been pulled out of a tin can. Blood bordered the thing, and the man stayed out of it as if warded off by some unexplained mysticism.
Elma! he said. Elma, c’mon out here.
Elma stepped outside.
I’ll be, she said when she saw the thing.
What you think that there is? he asked.
She shook her head.
The man looked around again and said, I reckon it’s an alien or somethin, then he spat again.
She covered her mouth and said, I don't think it’s no alien.
She shook her head and said, It ain't got a big head like them aliens. I reckon it looks like an animal, Walt. Somethin maybe got to it.
He wiped a sleeve across his moist lips and crouched next to the stinking thing. He smelled the rot and took in the foul, otherworldly putrescence that reminded him of a combination of something just born and cleaning chemicals.
How’d it get in you think? he asked.
She looked at the fence, then up at the sky as her husband did before. She looked at the thing and said, I wouldn’t know. Someone put it there, Walt?
Who’d do that?
She shrugged and said, I’ll be.
The man stood up again and looked to the sky. His eyes went from cloud to chubby cloud, and everything was as white as church clothes. He swatted at a fly.
You think it’ll be good for cookin? the woman asked.
I ain't eatin no alien, he said.
She smirked. It ain't no alien.
The man turned and went up past her. He went into the door of the house and closed it behind him. The woman stood there with her hand on her mouth.
I’ll be, she said. She made the sign of the cross on her chest, and she turned around and left.