The Final Evolution Chapter 7

Click herefor Chapter 6

Chapter 7

“Arrggghhhhhhh!” Jim and I scream at the top of our lungs and the noises outside grows even louder.

“Shut it!” A rough voice comes from the dark and a few other torches click on, which faintly lights up the place.

It looks like the mini supermarket had been transformed into a makeshift camp. There are shelves and shelves of food, but three hammocks are tied between two pipes and there are mats on the floor. A pile of what looks like burnt blankets sits somewhere near the hammocks. There are a total of three men in the room, staring at us suspiciously. One of them is a boy, about seven years old, who is sitting by a fish tank housing fireflies. The man who had spoken has long hair, a fresh wound down his face and a tattoo across his arm. The other man closest to us is clean shaven, but has chapped lips and a pale complexion.

“Who are you?” Jim asks quietly as the noise outside subsides.

“We should be asking you that.” The man with the tattoo scowls. “We’ve combed the area before. There are no other survivors.”

“We arrived earlier today,” I reply, a little hesitant. “My name is Clare, he’s Jim.”

No one says anything in reply to that. The tattooed man lights a pipe and I watch as smoke billow out of it. He glares at me for a moment and then turns around to face a shelf of canned food. The pale one takes my arm and steers me over roughly to sit next to the boy. On a closer look, I realise the tank contains not fireflies, but three, glowing, stag beetles. The little boy looks at me and offers me the packet of marshmallows he is holding. I take one over.


“He’s Hermes,” the pale man tells us, nodding over at Tattoo-man. “This boy here is Sam, my nephew. They call me Uncle Timmy. We’ve been hiding here for weeks.”

“Weeks?” I ask in disbelief.

“Yes. We were escaping from them and Hermes let us in,” Uncle Timmy answers gruffly, setting down his torch. “Now why are you two here?”

Jim takes a deep breath and launch into the story of how we escaped our school and the theme park and how we ended up here to look for Dad.

“Your best chance is to stay in here. Your father is dead,” Hermes interrupts harshly. For some reason, I hate him the moment the words slip out of his mouth.

“How do you know?” I snap at him. “I bet you don’t even know where to look.”

“You don’t either, or else you wouldn’t be here.”


“Stop it!” Jim intercepts. “We’re here to figure out how to get out of here, not to quarrel. We have a radio phone with us. We can-”

“I’m not leaving until I’ve found Dad,” I cut in.

“Clare, you heard him. They have combed the area. There are no survivors. You saw what your house looked like,” Jim begins. “If we leave now, we still-”

“You said you’re coming with me and now you’re asking me to give up? Call the army if you want but I’m staying.” I am fuming.

“I know of a way to get out,” Sam pipes up suddenly. “There’s a tunnel there that leads to the beach.” He stuns us all at this pronouncement.

“Kid, how’d you know?” Hermes asks brusquely, breaking the silence.

“I had to feed my beetles. I knew I can’t go up there,” Sam explains, nodding towards the tank. “I was looking around here for something my beetles would eat, and I found another door that led me out to a tunnel. I followed it and arrived by a beach.”

“Sam, there are… creatures in the beach too,” I say gently.

“Well, I didn’t see any. But I let them out under a tree for some tree sap.”

“There was tree sap under a tree?” I ask, suspicious.

“Yeah. Just at the bottom of the tree trunk.”

“Is that when they started glowing?” Jim asks sharply.


“Let me see it.” Jim pushes his way to the tank. We watch as the beetles crawl. When they touch a leaf, it starts burning. “Are they aggressive?” Jim asks.


Jim takes a marshmallow from Sam and very carefully, lifts the small circular lid in the middle of the rectangular cover of the tank. When the marshmallow is dropped into the tank, the beetles attack it, but upon touching it, they head for the opening. They crash into the cover instead. Startled, Jim slams the lid shut and backs away.

“Strange. They’re not usually like this,” Sam says, staring into the tank curiously.

“I think they have become one of them. The Phantoms,” Jim whispers, looking at me.

“Here.” I pick up the torchlight Uncle Timmy had set down and shines it over the tank. The beetles first fade in the light and then reappear, glowing, safely tucked away under the shade of a leaf.

“Sam… I think what they had eaten might not be tree sap,” I begin slowly. “It could be the saliva of the Phantoms.”

“What the hell are Phantoms?” Uncle Timmy asks.

“The ones with the glowing skeletons in the dark,” Jim informs him.

“When did they become like this, Sam? When did they last eat?” I ask.

“Just this morning,” Sam replies.

“What other changes do you see?” Jim queries, cautiously tapping the tank, driving the beetles into a frenzy.

“They’ve stopped wrestling each other. They liked to do that a lot. But they haven’t wrestled all day. I thought it is pretty cool they started glowing.”

None of us know what to say.

“The Phantoms are there, I know it,” I say finally. “The beach isn’t a way out.”

“We can go out at night, they can’t see at night,” Jim points out.

“They could see us, remember? They changed direction and came straight for us just now!”

“They work together to see in the dark,” Hermes growls, his face looming into the light as he approaches us. “These… Phantoms as you call them, they can’t see with the glow from their own kind, but those retching monsters can. The Phantoms follow the noise they make.”

“They weren’t like that when we saw them in school,” Jim points out. “They were mostly with their own kind.”

“It takes time for them to realise they can make use of it,” Hermes adds. “But when they do, they use it well.”

“How do you know?” I ask.

“I’ve seen them at it,” he replies. “I have seen every single one of them. The ones that retch, their saliva turns people into something else. Same for the ones that glow. There are seafaring ones that come out from the sea. They turn people with their poison-tipped daggers. And then there are those with the tanks. They spit acid. These things, they turn everyone they see.”

“No they don’t.” I interject. “We saw it rip a girl’s heart out and eat it whole and toss her body to a mob of clowns to eat her up.”

“That is because the girl isn’t fit enough to live on.”

“Live on? What do you mean by ‘live on’?”

“She has an illness? Something like that?”

“She was already dying when we met her,” Jim says.

“Can’t live. Not with them, not with us. The best way for her is to die.”

“That isn’t the best way,” I snap at him again.

“This is the real world, lady. Open your eyes wide and see. I’ve seen your father. He was cornered by a group of those retching creatures in his own home.”

“I don’t believe you,” I retort hotly. “You don’t even know my father.”

“Brown eyes? He hangs out at the playground with you often, building sandcastles. I saw him. One day he was cornered by the retching monsters but made it home and lured them there. He couldn’t escape.”

I fall silent, glaring at him. “And you did nothing to help,” I said coldly.

“You know there is nothing one can do when he is outnumbered by them. We can only succumb to it when the time comes.”

“Rubbish. We can fight. We can help one another survive! But this is the cruel world isn’t it? You take care of yourself and neglect the rest. Selfish, evil bastard-” I begin tearfully. But before I can continue, Hermes pins me against the shelf behind me, sending it shaking precariously over us.

“You tell me whether you have saved anyone from those things out there. Have you not hidden somewhere out of sight when you were outnumbered?” he asks roughly. I think about the night I had let Johanna get attacked outside the dance studio and drop my gaze.

“I thought so too,” he sneers. “Look at yourself, in denial of all these things happening, rebelling against anyone who tries to talk sense into you, only caring about what you want. This is the way humans are. We think we’re the best, even when we’re not. Look at those things out there, figuring a way to work together to get what they want. Didn’t you see those beetles, eh? You heard the boy. They stop fighting when they transformed. These things are way better than us. Your father’s time was up, Clare, and I reckon yours will come soon.”

And with that, Hermes heads back into the darkness, leaving me shaken and guilt-ridden on the spot.

The Final Evolution © 2013 by Auby Sparksfield. All rights reserved.

Written by: Ms. Auby Sparksfield

Edited by: Isaac Tan

Click here for Chapter 6


The Final Evolution Chapter 6

Click here for Chapter 5

Chapter 6

This is the worst nightmare ever. Swearing silently in my head, I try to inch closer to Jim for fear of losing his grip. He tightens his grip on my hand. For a few minutes, we simply stand amongst the retching creatures, my mind whirring. How far are we from the left turn? How are we going to get out of here?


A roar comes from my left and I jump in fright. The image of Emma with her great tank roaring flashes across my mind. There’s an Alchemist here? But we would have seen the tank!

But there is no time to think. The Retchers start thrashing down the hall at high speed. Their flailing arms slap across my face and torso from all directions. A second roar fills the air and the Retchers speed up. Then, it strikes me – it is Jim who had roared, not the Alchemist. There is no time for us to marvel at Jim’s brilliance. We run down the corridor together with the creatures, hardly keeping up with them. Then, without warning, he pulls me to a left turn and we finally detach ourselves from the group. He pulls me to a stop, pressing me against the wall. We listen quietly, hearts thumping as the mob stampede down the hallway. We walk quickly and quietly down the corridor, hands outstretched. Then the tip of my fingers jabbed painfully into something hard in front of me. Jim opens a door and we sneak out, shutting the door quietly behind us. Fortunately, no other creatures are lurking outside.

The air is fresh on the rooftop. A cooling breeze reminds us of the excrement staining our clothes once more. The helipad is in the middle but something tells us that it would be unwise to loiter in the open. Jim nods towards a stack of crates at a corner and we settle down there, waiting for the chopper to come for us. We sit side by side and gaze at the cityscape stretched out before us. There is a Ferris wheel to the left and cable cars to the right. Some of the lights in the skyscrapers have gone out, indicating the parts of the island that have gone down under the attack of the monsters.

We wait until the familiar deep orange splashes across the sky, the sun rising up and above the skyline. And there it is, the sound of the helicopter arriving. We run towards it, grateful and relieved. But all of a sudden, the door to the rooftop burst open and the mob of Retchers come thrashing towards the helipad, attracted to the sound of the helicopter. Quickly, we climb onto the chopper as two men in pixelated green army uniform buckled us down. The helicopter rises quickly into the air as one of the Retchers lashes out its tongue, hits the door of the chopper and dissolving a hole in it. One of the army men opens fire.

“No, don’t!” I shout, but it is too late.

Its head explodes as it falls back to the ground, black bile spilling out. Seconds later, it reemerges as the Alchemist, its green tank blinding under the morning sun. It roars and the rest of the Retchers charges towards us at top speed, but we are already out of reach. Then, two figures appear at the doorway of the rooftop. Strangely enough, the Retchers back down quietly behind the Alchemist, their arms stop flailing.

“Please, help!” the woman screams.

“Hold it! There’re two more!” one of the army men stops the pilot. “Get the ladder ready.”

“No!” Jim interjects hurriedly, grabbing the man’s arm and stopping him. “She isn’t talking to us.”

We watch, half frightened, half curious, as she pushes Annie towards the Alchemist.

“Help my Annie, please!” she begs.

Annie cowers as far as she can back into her wheelchair, but her mother is pushing her forwards.

“Stop!” I scream. “Someone save her!”

But there is nothing we could do. For the Alchemist’s hand has slammed hard into Annie’s chest and she lets out a scream that sends chills down my spine. Two seconds later, the Alchemist rips out what looks like her heart and she slumps against the wheelchair, dead, blood pouring out her open wound. Then, the Alchemist looks up at us and swallows the heart whole.

I freeze, horrified at what I had just witnessed. Tears are streaming down my face as the Alchemist picks up Annie’s body and walks to the side of the roof. Then letting out its huge roar once more, he tips her over to the bouncing Jesters below. All of them scramble ecstatically towards her, then sink their razor sharp teeth into her flesh, tearing it away from her body.

“No‼!” the woman screams.

But it is soon drowned by the Alchemist’s roar and the Retchers close in on her, salivating. When they retreat, Annie’s mother is shaking on the ground, panting and retching like Johanna did.

“Let’s go.”

The chopper zooms away, leaving Annie’s mother behind as one of them. I close my eyes and held my necklace tight, shivering.

“Are you alright?” the man whose nametag on his uniform says “Alvin” asks.

I nod, unable to speak. They hand us some food and water and we gulp them down within minutes. Then, Alvin takes out a first-aid kit and starts applying cream on our scalded areas.

“Where are you taking us?” Jim queries.

“Back to our air base. We’ve set up a refugee camp there.”

“No, wait,” I cut in. “Can you take me somewhere, please. I am looking for my father.”

“And where is that?”

“Wincon’s Hat Bay, Nijuha Estate. Not far from here.”

“That place has gone down, miss. One of the first few places that got infected,” Alvin informs me. “That area is not safe anymore. There are no survivors.”

I swallow hard at the news. “No,” I say again. “I want to try for it.”

“I am not letting my team land there. We’ve lost men there when trying to pick up survivors before.”

“Please. You don’t have to come with me, I just have to get there. I’ll walk from that refugee camp if I have to.”

Alvin stares at me for a few seconds, then tells the pilot to turn around.

“We’re lowering you down by the ladder. We won’t be landing.”

A while later we arrive in Nijuha Estate. I peer out of the chopper. The streets are dirty, trash cans spilled over, other things burnt and charred, windows broken. I point out my block to them and they lower the ladder while hovering over the rooftop.

“Thanks,” I say to Alvin. Unbuckling my seat belt, I am surprised to see Jim already clambering over to the ladder.

“I’m coming with you,” he declares.

I smile at him gratefully and he nods, disappearing down the ladder. Alvin hands me a backpack as I get out of my seat.

“There’re food and weapons in there, and a phone. Call us and we’ll see if we can get you out of here.”

I nod, thank him again before climbing down the ladder. Jim is already on the ground, poised with a blade in his hand. When nothing comes thrashing out at us, we make our way into the building, walking quietly as the chopper zooms away. The entire place is quiet and not a single soul is in sight. I look down at my burnt palms and am reminded of the Phantoms. Keeping an eye out for any disturbances, I lead the way to my house.

After climbing down four flights of steps, I reach my doorstep home. The door is wide open, newspapers and broken bottles strewn all over the floor. My couch is ripped, slashed presumably by a knife that lay by the television which is cracked down the middle. Slowly, I step into my house, unable to accept what I am seeing. We check all the rooms. Chaos seems to have reigned here before our arrival. The rest of the rooms are in a similar mess – lamps are flipped onto the floor, windows broken, black bile and bloodstains everywhere… Finally when we are sure the coast is clear, Jim closes all the doors and windows. I draw the curtains and then sit on my bloodstained bed. Clutching my necklace tight, I break down into tears. Jim comes into my room and stands awkwardly at the doorway.

“Maybe…” he begins, “Maybe he escaped.”

“He would’ve told me.”

“Maybe he lost his phone like you did.”

I continue sobbing uncontrollably. He walks over and sits himself next to me, taking my hand. “Come on. We fought to come here. Let’s not give up.”

“You know, Jim, maybe that woman was right. Maybe- maybe… I mean. Look at Matt. He was supposed to be dead and then he revived. You saw the leaves of that tree. It was stained with that black stuff on the dagger and it grew leaves healthier than ever. And Em- she became so strong. Maybe it really is for the better-”

“Clare, stop it.” Jim shakes me hard. “We both know that is nonsense.”

I shake my head and stares into his brown eyes. “How do you know?”

There is a moment’s silence, and then his grip on my shoulders lessens.

“I don’t,” he says finally.

A faint snarling in a distance alerts us. We creep to the window and peer out from behind the curtains. Not far away from our block is a canal and the monsters are once again crowded around there.

“What are they doing?” I ask.

“Beats me.”

We watch them for a while as they climb in and out of the canal, splashing in the water. Whenever they emerge, there is something green in their hands. A full grown monster passes it over to a smaller sized one and it puts the green stuff into its mouth.

“They’re eating,” I whisper.

An Alchemist lumbers into view and turns to climb into the canal. For the first time, the tank looks empty. He reappears a while later, stuffing green stuff into its mouth and the tank starts filling up.

“They’re hungry when they are low on their… ammo,” Jim concludes. “They need to recharge, like a battery.”

“Like us,” I add.

“Stop it, Clare,” Jim says firmly. “They’re not like us.”

The tone in Jim’s voice makes it clear that this conversation is over. I stand up and walk out of the room.

“Where are you going?” he asks, grabbing my hand.

“I’m going downstairs to look for Dad.”

Jim thinks for a moment and did not protest. Finally, he agrees to come with me but not until we are well-rested. We empty the contents in the backpack Alvin had given us. There are two bottles of water, two torchlights, a radio phone, a few packets of biscuits and rations, two air pistols and air pellets.

“What good will these pistols do? Don’t they see that they come in a horde?” Jim asks, looking at the weapons incredulously. But it is better than nothing. We clip the pistols to our belts and eat a few biscuits. When we are ready, we walk to the door quietly and look out of the window. The coast is clear. I step out of the door first, Jim trailing behind me. The neighbourhood looks worse from here than when we were airborne. Units are burnt down and the 7-eleven shop looks like it had been looted. The cashier’s box is open, shelves crashed to the ground. We stuff our backpacks with bread and more water before heading towards another shop. The night is slowly creeping up on us after hours of walking but there is still no sign of Dad. The final hopes I have are slowly dwindling. We know we have to find a place to rest for the night, but many doors and rooms are stained ominously with black bile and blood and we dare not go higher up in the buildings. Snarling and retching noises are growing louder and louder as the sky grows darker. The streetlamps fail to turn on like they usually did.

“Can’t we just go back to that shop to stay for the night?” I say, clinging onto Jim’s jacket.

“The doors and windows are broken. They can get in as easily as we can get out. If we get cornered in there we’re dead.”

Then, a faint glowing light appears in the distance down the winding road that leads to another estate. It is growing larger as larger. The sun dips below the horizon and the retching noises join in. The glow surges towards us, lighting up the Retchers leading the mob. We turn and sprint silently out of the way, but the mob changes direction immediately and heads straight for us.

“Shit! They can see us, Jim!”

The apartment buildings loom into view again as we run back towards Nijuha Estate. But another pack is charging towards us from the front. I pull out the air pistol and fire a few pellets, but the mob just keeps coming.

“No use! Over there!”

Jim points to a dull green metal door under a block. I recognise it at once. It was once a bomb shelter that was transformed into a mini shop underground. Dad and I used to patronise the shop for cheap ice-cream. We run and slam into the door, Jim rattling the handle. But it is bolted shut.

“Shit!” Jim curses and pounds on the door.

Suddenly it swings ajar just a little. Without hesitation, we slide through the small crack slam it shut, bolting the lock. We can hear the creatures outside snarling and retching. The door starts glowing hot with the Phantom’s heat. We back away from it and climb down a flight of steps. Then a torch clicks on to our right, illuminating a pale, ghastly face in the darkness.

The Final Evolution © 2013 by Auby Sparksfield. All rights reserved.

Written by: Ms. Auby Sparksfield

Edited by: Isaac Tan

Click here for Chapter 5

The Final Evolution Chapter 5

Click here for Chapter 4

Chapter 5

I slump backwards, resting against the tree trunk. The cackling creatures loiter around below us, bouncing. There is no way we can get down until they are gone. Jim swings his backpack forward and takes out a pen and a notebook.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“Writing down what I just saw.”

I look over as he writes, “Alchemist, big, with acid tank”, across the top of the page, followed by “Jesters, bouncing, clown-like features”. I chuckle and shake my head. Who but Jim, the workaholic director, would be in the mood to take notes at this juncture? I reach for my necklace and fiddle with it, gazing into the sea, thinking about Dad. How is he doing? Does he know what is happening? Or is he even still…

I shake the thought out of my mind. Whatever the case may be, I have to get to him. I imagine Dad sitting next to me right now, hugging the tree trunk and admiring the cityscape with me like we used to. Once, a bird had pooped on his head and he tumbled out of the tree in shock. I chortle at the thought.

“Why are you laughing?” Jim ask, still scribbling across the paper.

“Thinking about my father,” I reply.

“What about him?”

I started telling him about the story of the bird poop and before I know it, I am recounting every little thing about Dad: how we used to go for root beer float and ice cream waffles, how we used to build sandcastles together, and how we used to race to see who could climb trees faster. After a while, Jim sets his pen down and looks at me, listening intently. At times, he smiles at the funny little things Dad did, like biting into cheese balls and had cheese squirt out onto my face, or when he pretended clothes hangers were guns and imagined we were playing real life ‘Counterstrike’ while doing the laundry. Then he has the look of envy when I recollect how Dad liked to encourage and reassure me.

“He’d do this,” I say, sitting up straight and adopting my Dad’s deep voice, “You can do it, Clare.” And then I raise my left hand and give Jim’s shoulder a hard squeeze, just like what Dad always did to me. Jim laughs. Before we know it, the sun has risen. The cackling below fades away as the sun paints orange and yellow streaks across the sky.

“You have a great father,” Jim says after a while.

“I love him. He’s all I have left in the world,” I reply, still playing with the necklace. “What about you?”

“I lost my father when I was ten, and then my mother just two years ago.”

There is an awkward pause. It suddenly strikes me how little I know about him.

“Sorry.” I manage after a while.

“It’s alright. They weren’t great parents. They divorced and… I had to live at a different aunt’s place every week.”

“That’s awful,” I whisper.

“It’s over,” he says, plucking a leaf off the branch nearest to him.

“So…Where are you going from here?” I ask him, changing the subject.

“I don’t know. The tree seems like a pretty safe place to hide in. Maybe find a jungle and go be Tarzan?”

I laugh. “Well, that’s an interesting plan.”

“What about you?”

“I’m going to get my Dad. Bring him out of this place.” There is another pause.

Jim looks at me thoughtfully as I look out into the sea once again, blowing the bangs out of my eyes. Then, my stomach growls.

“Sorry,” I say, unable to suppress my giggles.”Let’s get out of here. Those foul things are gone.”

“What if there are those… Phantoms around?”

“We’ll see.”

I begin making my descent when I catch sight of the tree branch that was pierced by the dagger the night before. “Jim, look!” I point.

Part of the branch where the dagger had struck has turned a scaly gray, but its leaves are greener than any others on the tree. I climb down and pluck out the dagger, examining it. It has a red and gold handle and a script which I can’t recognise carved into the blade. The sharp end of the blade appears to have been dipped in black liquid. Jim attempts to wipe it off with a towel. It stains the towel, but the tip remains black. He keeps the dagger in his backpack and we make our way down the tree, looking at the tree branch curiously.

We walk around nervously looking for food. Not daring to go into any of the shops, we break the door of a pushcart that says “Popcorn and Nachos” open and pack as much nachos as we can find into Jim’s backpack. Finally, we fill a giant bucket with cold popcorn and set off towards the exit of the theme park, walking as quietly as we can.


A loud smack breaks the tranquil silence and Jim crumples onto the floor, unconscious. Before I can respond, a stick comes down on my head and everything fades into darkness.

***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***

I struggle to open my eyes and sit up. For a few seconds my vision is blurred, then it slowly comes into focus. I attempt to push myself up but something cuts into my wrists – my arms and legs are bound. A slight cramp in my legs tells me I have been out for quite some time, lying in that awkward position. Finally, my vision clears and I look around wildly. I turn and see Jim, already awake next to me. Behind him, a canopy bed stands at a corner, right next to the window and a small little closet. At the furthest end of the room is a table where a pale little girl sits, watching, in a wheelchair. A woman is seated in a wooden chair next to her, brandishing a stick. Her graying hair is tied in a bun and her clothes are torn and tattered. I try to say something, but all I manage is a loud “ummmph!” There is a distasteful piece of cloth stuffed in my mouth.

The woman walks towards us, dragging the wooden stick on the floor behind her. She swings it upwards as she nears us. I close my eyes, crouching away. Then, the gag is removed from my mouth. I open my eyes.

“What do you want?” Jim asks the moment the cloth in his mouth is removed.

The woman does not answer immediately but strolls over to the bed and sits, looking out of the window. The pale little girl wheels her chair over to her.

“This is my little girl. Her name is Annie.” The woman finally speaks in a crisp voice.

“She’s beautiful,” I reply softly.

“She’s dying,” she answers curtly. “I want her to live, to be able to walk, run, and eat like the others.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” Jim cuts in. “But I don’t think we can help. We aren’t doctors.”

“Yes you can,” the woman says. She walks over to us and pulls us to our feet with bull-like strength. She drags us over to the window. The scenery outside reveals to be the theme park. We are in one of the hotels.

“You know what is out there. I saw you two last night.”

“Three of us,” Jim says roughly. “We had a friend.”

“And you saw him die. And then revived by the creatures of the sea.”

“How does that help your daughter?” I demand.

“Don’t you see? They can revive the dead. They make the normal people stronger,” she replies in a loud, harsh whisper. The image of Emma and her acid tank flashed past my mind.

“So?” Jim says. “What has that got to do with us?”

“You can save my Annie,” her eyes twinkle with insanity as she sinks onto the bed. “The monsters won’t come near her. You can be the bait.”

“Mother…” Annie speaks up for the first time, her voice weak.

“Hush, my little girl. You’ll be fine soon.”

The woman moves to the other end of the room and takes out two sets of clothes from the closet. She sets them on the bed. “These are what you will be wearing tonight. I want them to be able to smell you, sniff you out, and lead them to my Annie.”

“Ma’am, there must be some other way to help her,” I say desperately. “You can’t let her turn into something else.”

“Oh, my dear girl!” she exclaims as she pranced back to the window, laughing. “Look outside! Look at those things around you! How many of them are there? How many of us are here?”

She turns and looks me straight in the eyes, laughing hysterically. Then she stops very abruptly, and started walking towards me, swinging the stick upwards again.

“Don’t you realise it, stupid girl? Now we are the something else,” she snarls.

The stick swing downwards and my world goes black once more.

***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***      ***


I stir. My head feels like it has been split into two.

“Clare, wake up! It’s time to go!”

Someone is cutting the ropes binding me. I open my eyes wide. It is dark outside once again. Jim is sawing the ropes with the dagger we got from the Pirates. The little girl is sitting by the table again but the woman is nowhere to be seen.

“Run, as far as you can go,” Annie says. “I’m sorry about Mother.”

“Thank you,” Jim says urgently and pulls me to my feet.

“What is going on?” My head is still throbbing.

“I’ll explain later. Now let’s go.” He pockets the knife, grabs my hand and heads for the door.

“Wait! Annie, come with us,” I say softly, stretching my hand out.

“No. I will stay with Mother.” Annie smiles slightly and looks out of the window.

“But…” I begin.

Jim nudges me out of the door and we creep down the corridor. We turn into a staircase landing and start climbing up the steps. Jim fills me in about how Annie had said she was hungry, so her mother went out to find food. Then Annie freed him and told him that every morning at sunrise, a chopper would come to the helipad to wait for survivors.

“Annie said many parts of the island have already been infected. She had gone to many places with her mother, but they refused to go near her. In fact, they stayed away as far as possible from her.”


“No idea,” Jim whispers back. “But she told me about them. They prefer the dark but they’re blinded in the night and rely a lot on their sense of hearing and smell. They do attack in the day if they’re not hungry.”

“What do you mean? Aren’t we their food?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t have time to ask. I was afraid her mother would come back. She gave me directions to the helipad. That’s where we’re heading to. Come on.”

We climb in silence, listening hard. Occasionally we can hear retching coming from a distance, but we bypass the floors quietly. Finally, eight floors up, we exit and sneak into the corridor, closing the door quietly behind us. Everything is pitched black. We can’t even see each other. Jim and I instinctively grab each other’s hands and we tiptoe down the hallway, looking around cautiously. Quite very suddenly, a loud retching comes from right ahead.

“Did you hear that?”

“Ssshh… They can hear you.”

I am pretty sure our harsh whispers would have travelled to their nimble ears anyway. We inch along the corridors, our backs flat against the walls. There is a steady dripping of something which we are sure is not water. Jim slows to a stop.

“It’s round this corner, and then the door is at the next left turn,” Jim says in an undertone.

“How do we know that they are not down the corridor?”

“Even if they are, they can’t see us. They can’t see in the dark, remember?”

“They can smell!”

“When we are covered in shit? Come on. We smell just like them.” Jim tightens his hand around mine. “Let’s go, or we’d be stuck here forever.”

“You’re nuts,” I whisper back, petrified.

“We’ll be fine.” He doesn’t sound convinced himself.

Jim creeps forward slowly, pulling me along. I try to walk as stealthily as I can, even imitating their slow lumber in case we pass by them. Desperate to blend in, I check the smell of the feces on my shirt. It has been so long since we had climbed out of the sewers that I thought I smell normal. I bite my lip to stop myself from crying. Breathing as lightly as I can, I tuck my hands in to minimize my surface area, to minimize the chances of me brushing past them as much as possible. With every step I take, I feel utterly relieved not to have touched or felt anything brush past me. Numerous swear words have gone through my mind by now and I settle on “fuck” to repeat in my head over and over again.

Suddenly, Jim’s hand stiffens. He squeezes my hand and pulls me closer. I hold my breath. Something wet and cold brushes past my right, knocking into my shoulder and smearing thick liquid on my arm. A deep shadow lumbers past on my right and then another plods across my left. I take a larger step forward and stick as close to Jim as possible. Retching noises now fill the corridor and more and more shadows loom into view. Jim and I follow their slow rhythmic trudge, hunching as we squeeze past them. They are going in the opposite direction and I wonder how long we can stay undetected as imposters.

The retching grows louder and louder as we proceed and I take a chance to catch a quick breath. The air is foul and burns my nostrils. It overwhelms the smell of our feces-soaked outfits and helps us blend in. I knock into more and more shadows as I feel my movement space grow smaller and smaller. Jim navigates to the left, trying to move to the left side of the corridor as much as possible for us to make the turn. Our steps become more and more constricted, more and more cautious as we proceed, shuffling against the rest of the Retchers until we can no longer move. We are stuck.

The Final Evolution © 2013 by Auby Sparksfield. All rights reserved.

Written by: Ms. Auby Sparksfield

Edited by: Isaac Tan

Click here for Chapter 4

The Final Evolution Chapter 4

Click here for Chapter 3

Chapter 4

There is a loud splat and I opened my eyes. I am stuck, swimming in something thick and goopy, waist deep into whatever it is. I yank the bat out of the junk.

“YUCK!” Jim swears, somewhere to my right. It is dark once more.

“Everyone alright?”

“Yes,” Jim and I reply in unison.

We listen to the retching, snarling and stomping of feet coming from above us in silence. I am afraid that the metal would give way, but another loud roar silences them all. We hold still, not daring to make any noise for a minute until shuffling is heard. Then, a torchlight clicks on, revealing a tunnel before us, filled with junk up to our waists.

“Wow. We sure are in deep shit,” I murmur.

Matt shines the torchlight around. We take the chance to survey our injuries. Jim’s neck is scalded red raw as are my hands. Matt takes out a tiny tube of ointment and we rub it over our injuries. By the time we are done, the tube is empty. Matt tosses it into the waste.

“If we are all good to go, let’s move, before she destroys the metal cover,” Matt says softly.

“I think she would have done that already if she’d wanted to.” Jim has a point, but I move off anyway. The faster we get out of this place, the better.

We trudge through the waste silently. The journey is labourious; we have to constantly throw our weight forward in order to bring our legs through the thick waste. Even though I lead the way, I have absolutely no idea where we are heading to. All I am doing is praying that we exit somewhere safe, somewhere that can lead me to Dad safe and sound.

It feels like it has been almost an hour since we landed in this sewer. The muscles in my thighs are burning as though they, too, had been scalded by those skeletons. The only consolation I have is that the waste seems to be thinning already. Then, round a bend, we stop at a fork. A faint sound of water flowing comes from our left.

“Let’s go there. It’s probably an opening,” Matt says.

I can hardly bring myself to remind him that it is perhaps just someone flushing the toilet. But we proceed left anyway and arrives at a metal gate.

“What is this?” I ask. “Where does this lead to?”

“I believe it is to prevent the waste from clogging up. This path should lead to a canal. We can get out from there.”

Matt brings out his crowbar again and we push together, prying the gate open. We follow the path down and indeed, the air is clearing. The gate has apparently been effective in segmenting the waste, for there is none on the ground now. The smell, however, lingers in my nose.

“Do you think we’ve walked long enough to be out of school?” I whisper.

“Yes, I think so.”

Before long we can see the sky, dotted with little stars twinkling. I begin taking the route at a run, water splashing at my feet. The other two follow closely behind me and I feel the mood lightening. Soon, the wall of the canal is low enough for us to climb out. Jim pulls himself up first then helps Matt and I up. The sky is still dark and there is no retching nor any glowing skeletons in sight. The streetlamps are working, lighting up the area well. Not far away from us, there are outlines of roller coasters.

“We need to go somewhere,” Matt says, looking around.

“Yeah. Like maybe go for a thrill ride or something,” I suggest, nodding towards the theme park in the distance.

There is a moment’s silence at first, and then we burst out laughing, clearly very much relieved at our escape. We walk towards the theme park silently, worn out from our ordeal. When we finally arrive at the gates of the theme park, however, we are greeted by the ominous absence of a security guard at the gate.

“Shouldn’t there be someone here?” I ask, frowning at the security post.

“We’ll just wash up. Make it quick, come on,” Matt says, pushing me towards the gantry. Reluctantly, I climb over it and land in the theme park. We walk in a straight line, side by side, heading straight for the bathroom sign across a facade of a Hollywood street. Finally we reach the washroom. The boys dart into theirs and I dawdle outside, thinking. Then, not wanting to be left all alone, I decide to go into the boys’ washroom as well.

“HEHEHE! HAAAAHAAAHAAA!” A cackle whips through the air, raising goosebumps on my arms.

I spin around.

“Who’s there?” I ask as loudly as I dare.

A long silence came in reply.

I scan the place quickly for any sign of chaos which had happened here before, but all seems quiet and calm. The displays in the shops are still arranged in an orderly manner. An action figure poses in the window of one shop and the window next to it has ornaments glinting under the moonlight. My eyes land on the shop selling Goth dolls. All of them bore huge round eyes and little black lips. A tiny doll sits on a rocking chair and stares back at me, unblinking. Its piercing glare is creeping me out. I move my eyes onto the candy shop next to it. Then, a slight disturbance makes me do a little double take.

The chair is rocking slightly and then it slows to a stop. The doll is gone.

We are not alone.

I turn to run into the washroom where the boys are, but they are already sprinting out towards me. Jim gestures for me to turn around and I obey immediately. Loud cackling fills the air and the door to the doll shop bursts open. Monsters flood out, bouncing on stilts towards us. All of them have big red noses and bright red lips flipped inside out. There are black circles round their gigantic eyes that are rolling backwards in their mutated lids. Dressed in circus costumes, one of them waves the tiny Goth doll, cackling menacingly. Then, it hurls the doll towards us. I yelp and duck. The doll hits the ground and starts crying.

Fear spreads through my body. My legs almost give way, muscles burning in protest of fatigue. Jim drags me along as I throw the bat aside to lighten my load, but the monsters are catching up on us. At last, we reach the other side of the theme park. The road spills onto an open beach.

“The beach!” I gasp.

A strange, low humming creeps into the air and down my spine. Something else is coming for us, I just know it.

“Up a tree!” I yell, recalling my hiding place the night before. My eyes sweep the place and lands on a tree not too far away. “That one!”

We flee towards it, feet sinking into the sand. Then a strange gurgling noise emerges from our right, joining in the ruckus. Out of the corner of my eyes, shadows rise out from the sea. One by one they trudge forwards, all of them holding daggers, poised to strike. Dripping wet, they move towards us, still gurgling. We have to get to the tree as fast as possible in order to avoid getting cornered on the ground.

Jim reaches the tree first. He jumps and catches hold of the first branch. After pulling himself up, he reaches back down to help me up. A loud cracking ensues from the tree branch – it is too heavy to hold both of our weights.

“Up!” Jim cries. I scramble up to the second branch and he follows closely behind. I look down frantically to check if Matt is catching up. He is at the bottom of the tree, having trouble climbing. I start making my way down to get him. But before I can reach the lower branch, he catches hold of it and heaves himself up. Quickly, I sat myself down on the second branch and dangle upside-down, using my legs to cling on.

“Come on!” I yell at Matt, stretching out my hand for him, knowing that his branch will give way anytime soon. He reaches up high for it, but he isn’t tall enough. “Jump!” I call out desperately.

But it is too late. The branch gives way with a loud crack and Matt crashes all the way down to the sand. He gets up, looks around wildly as the monsters close in on him. Then he dashes towards another tree in the distance. But before he can reach the tree, a dagger flies out of nowhere and strikes him on the back of his neck. He collapses, face down, onto the sand.

“No!” I scream.

The creatures from the sea look up when they heard my voice and I quickly sat up. A dagger misses me by inches and sticks to the branch behind me. Then the jesters bounce upwards, attempting to grab my dangling legs. I quickly duck behind the tree trunk to take cover as leaves rain upon me; Jim is making his way to the top of the tree. I climb as fast as my weary legs can carry me, out of the way of the terrible clowns. Finally, I reach the top and peek out from behind the leaves.

One of the creatures from the sea is pulling the dagger out from Matt’s neck and then slits it across his throat. Blood spurts out from his wound as the rest carry him towards the sea. Matt is clearly dead. I gasp as moonlight cast itself onto those creatures.

They are gray, covered in scales that gleam beautifully under the moonlight. Like their cousins, their facial features are turned inside out. But something is a little different about them. There are slits on the sides of their necks and they flare outwards rhythmically. One of them dons an eye-patch.

“Pirates,” I whisper.

When the mob reaches the sea, all of them crowd around Matt’s body and starts gagging. Eye-patch emits a loud cry, very much like a war cry and some sort of a chant. Then Matt seems to go into spasms as his eyelids starts turning outwards as do his nose and lips. Scales then slowly spread, covering his skin and his entire body. Finally, slits appear on the sides of his neck. The mob releases him as his eyes open and he starts gasping for breath. He sinks into the sea and emerges a moment later, very much alive.

“No way,” Jim murmurs, his mouth gaping open in disbelief.

Eye-patch draws a dagger out from the water and hands it to Matt, who takes it over with a bow. Then Eye-patch puts a scaly hand over Matt’s shoulders and in uniformity, the mob dives and disappears into the sea, claiming Matt as one of their own.

The Final Evolution © 2013 by Auby Sparksfield. All rights reserved.

Written by: Ms. Auby Sparksfield

Edited by: Isaac Tan

Click here for Chapter 3