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Jim Corwell

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Member Since: May, 2007

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The Survival Instinct
By Jim Corwell
Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rated "R" by the Author.

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When we came down here, there were hundreds—thousands—of us. Screaming and scared, huddled into corners, fighting for space. Some died quickly with bleeding lungs and haemorrhaged eyes; some died slowly, painfully—skin rotten or burned away, and infection coursing through their veins.

The Survival Instinct

Shirley’s gagging for it.

She kisses hard, like an enthusiastic teenager, with her hands frisking up and down, and groping my butt. Her teeth knock against my teeth, her tongue searches for mine. She tastes like a dirty ashtray. Her gums are bleeding. But at least the blood is sweet.

Sweet, and gritty, like her spit.

She told me once that she’s a nurse. That was a year ago. That was when she could still talk. Even back then, what she meant was that she used to be a nurse. Now, she’s no different from the rest of us: a remnant; a rotting left-over; one of the remaining few hiding away in the tunnels where trains once thundered.

Who knows how many of us are still down here?

When we came down here, there were hundreds—thousands—of us. Screaming and scared, huddled into corners, fighting for space. Some died quickly with bleeding lungs and haemorrhaged eyes; some died slowly, painfully—skin rotten or burned away, and infection coursing through their veins.

Now there are only seventy, eighty, maybe a hundred—nobody has bothered to count—but since the bombs, the dust, and the darkness, we’re it: the end of the line.

They say Nature always finds a way. The ants and spiders, the cockroaches and rats—all the crawling scavengers and vermin—they’re just fine. They’ve always been here, and they always will be.

But not us. Too long we’ve tried to overrule Nature with our self-imposed standards of dignity and acceptability, sealing our own fate.

But not any more. Nature has taken over. She wants us to survive.

Us, the scrag end of humanity.

She wants us to eat and fuck like animals.

Wants us to breed.

Wants us to repopulate the whole stinking, desolate planet.

Shirley, she’s driven by Nature. Her scalp has dry sores, her hair’s falling out; there are black scabs on her face where her skin peeled away months ago and healed-up crispy, and her teeth are loose. She smells like fish and onion stew gone bad, and there are swellings under her arms and in her groin.

But it’s the swelling in my groin she’s focussed on, right now.

“Fuck-fuck-fuck,” she says, squatting over me and dry humping my leg. She doesn’t bother to wipe the string of drool from her chin. “Fuck-fuck-fuck.”

It’s all she ever says. Fuck-fuck-fuck.

Begging, and crawling through the rubble. Fuck-fuck-fuck.

It’s her way out, see. She knows that when she’s pregnant, she’ll go. It’s instinct—we’re all running on instinct. Some of the women have already gone. Gone back Up-Top to fatten and swell away from the shit and stench down here.

Nature can’t be wrong, but a year ago, when Shirley could talk, she told me she was sixty-two.


Her womb’s a dried-up, fruitless sac, and she’ll be here forever with the rest of us, festering and rotting and breathing the stale, smoke-filled air of the underground tunnels; forever following her instincts to flit from cock to cock.

Right now, she grunts and squats over me, making quiet uh-uh-uh noises, fumbling between us to find what she needs, and when I’m inside her, her hips pound her pelvis against mine, and her nails claw my chest, and with every thrust she lets out another loud “Uh!” of exertion.

Further down the tunnel, the Bald Man’s fire spits blue sparks. Meat is roasting in the flames. The Bald Man was bald when we came down here. He’s a hulk of a man, always bare-chested like some medieval executioner. Going Up-Top has bleached the colour from his eyes, and they sit like small marbles, set deep into his head with a pinprick of a pupil. Nobody appointed him keeper; nobody asked him to be hunter and butcher.

The women don’t bother him, except for food. Their instincts keep them away from him. When there were children down here, the women kept them away from him as well. Oh, there were children, once. Ragged, scared and crying children. Most of them died of coughing and bleeding lungs.

Those that survived went Up-Top, the Bald Man said. They’re with the fattening women with babies in their bellies.

Babies are what we need to make. Shirley, they’d be wasted seed, and for her, and the others like her—the old dried up hags—I fake it.

For Shirley, I grip her hips and bounce back against her, copy her uh-uh-uh noises and then squeeze myself hard against her, deep inside, to stop her groin pounding, grit my teeth and tremble like I’m filling her, then fall back to the floor and let go.

Shirley snorts, grunts and climbs off me, then pats a hand between her legs, and sniffs her fingers.

She looks at me with those light grey eyes, and I can’t tell if she’s fooled or not. It doesn’t matter. She needs to fuck with someone else. She needs to get out of this stinking hole.

Noises from beyond the Bald Man’s fire turn heads. Some scream, some cry out in fear.

Not the Bald Man. He picks up his meat axe and scowls at approaching lights in the tunnel. Our keeper, our protector—our executioner—he’s heading for the lights with his axe wielded ready to strike.

A flash of bright blue light; a crackle like static—yet louder, so much louder—explodes the back of the Bald Man’s head His axe drops to the ground, and he falls to the side, falls into his stockpile of limbs and torsos and hollowed-out heads.

More flashes, and beams of light wave down the tunnel. “Whoa—we got another fucking community,” one of them shouts.

Shirley, ever-eager, scrambles to her feet and waddles through the flickering fire light. “Fuck-fuck-fuck,” she says. Her arms are stretched forwards. One of her legs drags behind her. “Fuck-fuck-fuck.”

A light points at her, floods her with whiteness, and there’s a flash and a loud crack. Shirley staggers, a hole as big as a head appears in her back.

“Fuck-fuck-fuck,” she says and gathers her momentum forwards, again.


Her head explodes. Bone fragments fly in all direction like some psychedelic firework. Her blood spatters my face—sour blood, gritty blood—and I move back against the wall into the darkness of the shadows.

“WILKINS!” a voice shouts, and more lights shake as they brighten the tunnel. “What did I say? What did I fucking say?”

“Sir . . .” the Shirley Killer says.

“No shooting.”

“Self defence, Captain, sir. Necessary discharge, sir.”

“You don’t know what gases have gathered down here. The whole fucking place could go up.”

One of the other men has seen the Bald Man’s stockpile. He turns away, bends and vomits loudly.

“Shit,” Captain, sir, says. “The sickos have been eating each other.”

The Shirley Killer’s gun buzzes and crackles as he points it at me. “Fucking freak zombies,” he says, and I tell him I’m not dead, I’m not a zombie, but the words only come out as: “U-u-u-u-u-u-u-h.”

A year ago, when I could talk, things might have been different.


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Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione 2/28/2010
This one is rather nasty -- good one man. Thanx for the add, I haven't posted a short story in its entirely since my work is much too long and I wrote some notes about House of Spiders 3.

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