This was written for #FairyTaleFriday based on the word “tremor”. For inspiration I’ve used the setting of the film “Tremors” starring Kevin Bacon, which for me has echoes of the myths of Wyrms. The word “Wyrm” is from the Old English for a legless serpent or dragon.
Have you ever wondered why the graboids (the word used in the film for the worm-like creatures) were pursuing Val and Earl so relentlessly? Perhaps it was something more than hunger. Perhaps it was jealousy.
He first felt the tremor in the small hours. He lay with arms wrapped around Earl like a man drowning, and just before they were both submerged, he felt it.
“What was that?” Val’s lips were close to Earl’s ear. Earl shuddered.
“Go to sleep, Val.” He turned his body slightly and there was suddenly cold air between them. Val reached for the duvet.
The next morning didn’t start well. Val woke Earl with light teasing kisses, fingers running down his abdomen, but was shaken off harshly.
“Jesus, it’s not even light.” Irritated, Earl threw himself into his clothes and boots. “You’re filthy.”
“Does it have to be light out?” Val shrugged and lit a cigarette, stared out the window moodily.
“What you say, buddy?” Earl was buttoning his jacket already.
Val raised his eyebrows at the “buddy” part. So many years they’d been lovers, and every time they moved to a new town this buddy act started up again, and he started to draw away.
“Did you feel anything last night?” He reached out for the ass of Earl’s jeans as he stomped by; missed. “Like a sort of… tremor.”
“These little towns out here, they get the jitters now and again. It’s normal.” He was half way out the door; just his head and one foot still visible. “Get dressed dummy! We have work to do!”
Fifteen minutes later they stepped out into the dust bowl that was Perfection Valley.
“This is a nice quiet place.” Earl announced into the pale sky, towards the criss-crossed threads of vapour high above. “I think we’ll stay a while.”
That turned out to be a mistake.
Six months later, Val was bored. He was bored of fixing up fences, cleaning out stables and fixing the truck. He was bored of the rusty earth, the blistering sky, and checking his boots for scorpions. Most of all he was bored of Earl.
He was so distant lately it made Val want to scream. He tipped his hat back and wiped his forehead. Maybe he’d go for a walk, get rid of some frustration.
As he traipsed over the parched earth, kicking up dust sulkily, he was startled by a cloud of flies, and at the next moment his boot plunged into the still-warm carcass of a dog.
Cursing, he wiped his boot on the ground. He looked around, confused. The flies had buzzed off. He felt a slight tremor in the ground; shrugged. He’d been feeling those on and off for half a year. No earthquake ever followed.
He felt a chill behind him and turned to find towering above him a creature he’d never seen the like of before. It was pushing itself out of the ground, cylindrical and at least twelve feet in length. Protruding from its gaping jaws, slithering towards the sky, were dozens of shivering tentacles.
Val trembled. His nostrils were filled with a pungent scent, masculine and filthy. His body reacted before his mind could; he wrapped his arms around the trunk of this grey-white beast. Even as his mind reeled in horror his lips were rubbing back and forth against its scales. He was hungry, wet with stinking slime, caked in red earth.
His body bent as it undulated in his grasp, and then he felt the tentacles droop and caress his scalp.
They buried their mutual ecstasy, deep into the cool, dark earth.
~ Kay Barrett, 2015