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#FridayFlash The Dinner Party

By Eriktiger @eriktiger

The Dinner Party

The night air was chilly and the stars were twinkling in the milky black sky.
They landed on the soft surface, surrounded by tall brown and gray weeds. Small creatures fanned out, poking at the ground, silently. Testing the soil for weaknesses. Though they didn’t speak a word, their eyes were glowing with anticipation. Their tiny bodies were covered in horns; their mouths were jagged and bulging with sharp teeth.
After a few moments, someone selected a spot.
They quickly nodded in agreement that this location was perfect. The little things chewed their way into the ground, borrowing down into the red clay with their eager fangs.
As the lead digger went deeper, others jumped in the hole, twisting and twirling their sharp, horny bodies, tearing down farther and making the opening wider.
They gurgled and slurped through the soupy mud, almost cheering in delight as they continued their dark quest.
Their bodies were coated with the rosy soil, but they continued downward.
The frenzied dig came to halt when they hit rock. The creatures slumped together like a pile of boxcars after a train wreck.
A muscular monster with a long horn like a unicorn, forced its way to the front of the evil miners. It attacked the rocky layer, pounding away with its huge horn. Flakes of white rock chipped away. It took some time, but it broke through.
Not much farther.
The creatures squealed in delight as one by one they dropped through the path carved through the rock. The last one through the rock paused and turned to look up through the tunnel they had carved. Out into the pinhole of night high above them. The sky looked faraway and distant from down here, but it wasn’t scared or worried. All the mattered was the prize. Its stomach growled to remind it to catch up with the pack.
It was almost dinnertime.
Under the pale rock was a thin layer of gooey liquid, some slow moving underground river. They were expecting it, as the tributary was always there, so they knew to hold they breath and swim quickly through the thick juice to the bottom.
Once at the bottom, it was every beast for himself, digging furiously to poke through the brittle bottom. It was like a piecrust, crunchy and hiding many delicious treasures just below the surface.
That was their goal.
They were deep now, the passageway back out wasn’t clear any longer. The current would have made them drift away from the original tunnel they dug, so now they were downstream from where they entered these cavernous depths.
One of them finally punched through the crust and dropped down to a spongy surface. It patted the springy ground with both hands before standing back up. It waited in the gloomy darkness for the rest of its friends, proud to be the first to make it all the way down.
Moments later, they each dropped from fresh holes, freefalling for a split second before bouncing on the ground, eager and excited, as if they had just entered the pearly gates.
They gathered in a circle, holding hands, standing on the very object they craved most in life.
Despite the aching craving screaming to be satisfied, they first paused to chant in a strange language while they held hands. A dotting prayer or dedication, perhaps a word of thanksgiving to whatever it was they worshipped. A couple broke into song, dancing together, a wicked waltz to mark the occasion. It was a celebration of victory. It had been a long time since they dined in such grand fashion. A welcomed and very well deserved banquet.
And they were very hungry.
The merriment ended and the dinner party began.
The malleable grounds were the meal. Some of the tiny creatures dove into the deep grooves, sinking their teeth into the gray goodness. Biting off tiny chunks and rolling around in their mess. Others dropped to the surface right where they stood, sticking their faces into the delicacy, like a thirsty hiker burying his face into a stream for a drink.
They nibbled and fed, ripping up shreds of the main course as if they hadn’t ate in weeks. It was a party like no other—such an abundance of food there was no fighting and no reason to share. There was more food than they could eat in two lifetimes here. The gluttonous pigs gobbled up the grub with their mouths wide open and kept shoveling in more. When their bellies began to get full, the feast deteriorated into a food fight.
Laughing and frolicking, they used the torn strips as projectiles to lob them at each other, leaving behind large pits and depressions. Running blind with a strip of meat covering its eyes, one of the monsters fell into a fissure. It struggled to get out for a moment, but instead found itself chewing on the walls of the pit it was trapped in.
They burped and belched. Slowing down, they burst into song anew. Such tasty delights. Such a splendid, sweet treat.
Their stomachs were bulging and soon the adrenaline had run its course. They settled back, lounging on the squishy ground, admiring their handiwork, laughing about their fortune.
Some fell asleep; others were nodding off and struggling to stay awake.
As far as the eye could see, there were pockmarks and scars from their frenzy, the landscape ravaged like a forest that had been gutted by loggers.
Jared scratched his head furiously; his whole head was throbbing and burning. The pain was unbearable. He excused himself from dinner, carefully wiping the gravy from his chin and darted into the house to the bathroom. He leaned close to the mirror to see what the hell was itching him so bad. His vision was blurry, but squinting he could make out a small black hole in the top of his head.
The room started swimming and darkness caved in as he fell to the floor.

Erik Gustafson
Word Count 1000

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