CHANGING IN THE PALE LIGHT • by Jack N. Waddell

Furious and cloaked in the silvery light, I change.

With an itch that grows to a burn, coarse hairs push their way up through my skin like worms in a flooded graveyard.  I dare not scratch, for unbidden keratin oozes along my fingernail until they lengthen to points.

Twin snakes of rage and terror coil around my spine, twisting it into unnatural shapes.  I fall to my knees first, and then topple to my back.

Yes, there is pain, but it is subservient to my fury.  I rend my clothes, and where my claws miss, the bulging of new muscle serves to part the threads.

I tremble — not a shiver of cold, despite my nakedness, but a paroxysm of rage.  I curse the one that brought this affliction upon me, curse myself for succumbing, and curse the fool that fueled the flames of my fury.

At last, my change complete, I rise to hulk over the object of my ire. Bathed in the pale light, I raise one hand, claw extended like the dagger of a mad god, and bring it down.

I click “Reply to comment.”  With keyboard-shredding fingertips, I type my scorn to the world.


Jack N. Waddell is a Southern writer, physicist, and educator. He and his wife live in Arkansas, where he enriches young minds, but only to reactor-grade levels. His fiction has appeared in Linguistic Erosion and Mad Scientist Journal.


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Every Day Fiction

  • Trollopian

    I dislike sci fi/fantasy/horror, but am glad that I read this one! The economical prose and the clever twist at the end make it well worthwhile. This is what flash fiction is all about.

  • Ian Nathaniel Cohen

    Wow, I’m glad I read all the way to the end of this one. I was ready to write it off due to the over-the-top imagery until I read the final sentence, which justifies everything that comes before it. Also, this story is a perfect “Take That” to internet trolls. Nice job!

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    Very interesting take on the Adam and Eve story as Adam, neither male nor female or both together was rent into the merely human male and female so that Adam (and Eve (“Even”)) would never again be lonely but lower than the original angel.
    Well written, portraying the agony of Adam’s suffering his/her own request to God.

  • Harry Packer

    I agree with Trollopian, I usually avoid sci-fi like the proverbial.

    However, this was good fun.

    PS I’m pleased that Roberta SchulbergGoro explained it so well – I was going to spoil it all and mention Dr Bruce Banner.

  • joannab.

    I, for one, am never going to risk saying a negative comment to this author.

    No, really, this was terrific, just terrific.

  • I enjoyed the over-the-top lyrical transformation.

    Not too sure about the punch, though. I couldn’t ‘Adam and Eve’ it, as we say in London.

  • Ellen

    I loved the story .. but don’t understand the “Adam and Eve ” comments.
    I get werewolf or incredible hulk, or just plain old P.M.T.
    but despite reading it again and again, I can’t find any god or adam and eve refrences.

  • Carl

    I’m with Ellen; somebody please explain the “Adam and Eve” to me.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    Carl – there are several interpretations of Genesis. The one in the bible which I had as a child was that God created man in his image and called that being Adam and placed that being in the garden of Eden. But Adam was lonely and asked that he be given a mate. God said “But then you will be lower and as the animals. But Adam begged and God granted him his wish, making half of the relationship (Eve) from a piece taken from Adam. Eve, with child, was granted fruit, since fruit-eaters make healthier babies but she, under advice from the snake and against the rule, offered it to Adam also. Of the rest of the misery, you probably heard since that’s where there is more agreement in the various versions about what happened.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    I haven’t found any references to incredible hulks, Bruce Banners, etc. in the story. What’s P.M.T.?

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    The fruit tree was called “the tree of knowledge” because infants whose mothers eat fruit become more mentally developed and learn faster.

  • Ellen

    Roberta,
    PMT is pre menstrual tension thet thing that can turn the most mild mannered of us into raging beast for the smallest of reasons.

    I am very aware of the story of Adam and Eve I just do not understand how it relates to this particular story.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    Our own minds make reference to the stories we know. Since it wasn’t “spelled out” just what the reference was my own mind found its closes equivalent, the other references being unknown to me. Those who knew the other stories probably came closer to the author’s intention. Incidentally, and I realize now my interpretation is not the intention of the author, the protaganist’s using a “comment section” in the computer would, in my own previous interpretation, reflect God’s decision than man would not be a beast, only an intellect lower than an angel. I am deeply sorry that the protagonist has become a beast. Thank you for the enlightenment.

  • Carl

    Since the author is a gentleman, I just assumed the protaganist’s beastliness was lycanthropy or possibly an “Incredible Hulk” thing, not a “PMT Avenger” thing. But I enjoyed the tale, and enjoyed the comments as well.

  • AceOmnicron

    Well done, Jack! The mind’s eye created living horror while reading your story. I commented to NLW about the darkness, to which she replied “keep reading!”.

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