Thermidor – a Flash Fiction

Ron was trying to avoid puking.

“Relax, Ronster!” Matt held the lobster by its tail. The animal writhed, and Ron imagined that it knew about the pot boiling on the cabin’s stove.

“God, but it’ll scream,” Ron said. “I’ve heard that they scream.” Trips with Matt always ended up this way – Matt enjoying being cruel to some animal, and enjoying Ron’s discomfort almost as much.

“It’s just steam coming out of the -” A knock at the door interrupted Matt. “I’m not waiting for you, asshat.”

Ron fled the kitchen and went to the cabin’s door. The ranger looked serious.

“You boys been up here long?”

“Just got here today, sir. What’s wrong?”

“I didn’t know anyone was up here. The well water’s been contaminated by some kind of chemical spill from a government lab. They won’t tell me anything more than… you boys haven’t drank any, have you?”

“No, just-” Ron’s words were drowned out by the scream of the lobster. Then by the rattle of a pot hitting the floor and Matt’s scream.

The next scream was much louder. It was not from Matt. It sounded eerily like steam escaping from a carapace.

Ron and the ranger ran.

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