Eat. The. Boy.
"What was it? Did you see...?" The tall figure gasped for air as his scratchy voice fell to a low moan.
"I didn't see, but the tail end, looked like a falling star grandpa," an excited voice cracked.
The brush was thick enough to reach out at their legs. Blotchy molds of grass not taken by the winter's fresh breath and mud from the melting snow rendered their legs useless without hands clawing at the ground for balance. The hillside was steep as the two figured panted and gasped for air.
The night air bit at the old man's uncovered throat. It numbed his throat at first and then began to burn as only cold can do. As he walked he was overcome with a hunger that evicted his good sense. The chill in the air was almost too much. He reached in a coat pocket and pulled out a bag of jerky. It was no nourishment. The texture and taste of leather lingered in his mouth. The hunger was not sated.
"Grandpa," a young voice struggled in the dark. "I don't think I can walk much further. I'm hungry grandpa."
The old man, annoyed and relieved, accepted that he would soon be on his own.
"It's okay. I just wanna see what hit. You just wait here, now. Stay here for me." The old man handed the boy the last of the bagged jerky
An hour before, something shrieked across the sky like a dying bird and drew their interest. Its molten shell crackled like a pistol. It hit hard enough to be heard from a mile. The old man and the boy had turned down for the evening by a fire when the monochromatic glow drew their attention. A spectacle in its dark and deep glow, a curiosity deemed worthy. They were enticed from their camp. The curiosity was tingling and they were hungering to know just what hit up there on that ridge.
The boy, still gasping, leaned against an old log and brushed the snow from his knees. The cold snow was wet on his ankles and had bled through to the socks below. His boots were soggy now and his feet were rubbing the soles. He took a sip from the canteen and gave up the trek.
Ahead of him, an old man trudged forward, grabbing thin trees and dead roots pulling himself upward. He could make out the glow less than a hundred feet ahead of him. He felt as if it were growing closer to him with ever step he took toward it. He was hypnotized by its faintness. An ungodly spark in pale darkness captivated him. His attentions were solely on the marks now.
A trail soot and mud marked an imprinted coma that he now followed. As he came to a plateau the glow appeared to him. He was there. It felt like miles had been bridged in seconds and he stood worshiping with his gaze. His face was now numb. His chin now tingled with a twinge. He reached a hand forward and stumbled.
The glow became dimmer then brighter, then dimmer again. It took him more than five minutes to realized that the elliptical shape wasn't touching the ground. It hovered there above an impact crater no smaller than a tractor tire. It pulsed at him and he was drawn forward. He became hungry. His stomach knotted and growled. Sharp pains permeated his spine and then settled in his kidneys. He reached towards the elliptical and stumbled again. Something was reaching back.
His nose began bleeding and he pulled himself up. His trance lifted and he saw a figured in the light. A red eye stared at him from the elliptical. The old man realized that there was no flame in the hill, only the glowing red eye. He felt it looking through him, through his bones and the two cancer scars. It looked through his soul, through the brush and down the mountain to the boy.
"Eat. The. Boy."He thought he heard. The elliptical pulsated again. The dimness grew and the woods became darker.
The old man was hit by another pang that crippled his legs. Drool formed on his lips and saliva dripped from the tongue. Cracks formed in his teeth and they splintered inside the jaw tearing at the outer skin. His ears, already cracking from the altitude began to slip from their place and patches of his hair were being molted from his body. He began a trek towards the boy. The woods that were once shade were lit by the red glow. The shadows parted in fear as he stepped heavily on the sooty ground. The mud was less and less of a problem as the skin on his legs became jello-like. His knee caps splintered and his legs split from sockets. The muscles tensed and expelled fish hook like squares on the tendril his legs now formed. Amazed at his knew appendage, he embraced the ravenous. His dark evolution was a quiet death and patches of land lay dead in his wake. The silhouette of the boy on the log drew closer as his hunger grew ravenous. His jaw was now a vice grip with splintered and needle like teeth. The hands were molded together and had mouths of their own snapping towards the red illumination that was once darkness.
The boy was taken by surprise. He struggled at first. As his arms were snapped backwards and his jaw torn from his skull, his consciousness waned. He did not recognize the figure nor had he any time to. He was already being eaten when he came to. There was no pain at first. As the adrenaline wore from his body terrible throes set upon him. He caught a glimpse of a familiar face.
The eyes and the nose were family. That much he was sure. But there was something living there now, some passenger wearing the skin. The face drooped and red eyes were staring at him. The boy lay choking in his own blood but he kept staring at these red eyes that would not relinquish their hold on him. He died slow and unnatural.
The old man was no longer. Here was the elliptical, old and hungry. Lights gleamed in the distance, bright enough that their hue diminished the stars in the sky. Bewilderment existed in those red eyes. The fear of the unknown lights in the distance soon began to fade, replaced with the immortal pangs of hunger.
"Eat. Them All." He thought he heard. The elliptical pulsated again. The dimness grew and the skies became darker. There was a shooting star in the distance.