The hoot of an owl sounded, and managed to wake Ethan up. He opened his eyes slowly, and for his right eye, difficultly. Something seemed to be caked around his right eye, but he managed to look up.
He was lying on his back on the ground, in the middle of the forest; looking up into the sky. It was dark now, the sun had set and the numerous stars shined like gems in the sky. Ethan groaned, his entire body felt sore. Not quite remembering what had taken place, he tried to pick himself off of the ground, failed, and fell. He tried once more, and managed to sit up. He noticed a very strong scent in the air as well.
Something was off, his vision felt odd. The night seemed clearer to him, it was easier to point out different objects. His hand felt as if there was something on it. Ethan raised his right hand to look at it. Once his eyes made out the hand in the darkness, he gasped in horror at the sight of it.
Ethan’s right hand was a monstrosity now. Each finger was at least twice as long as it had been before, and tipping each one was a long, hooked claw. He moved his fingers, just to make sure they were actually his. Each one moved as he wanted it to, they were real. Ethan realized what the strong odor he noticed was; his hand was covered in blood, his own blood. Dripping down from each claw were streams of crimson blood. Much of it was dry, but some of it still leaked.
Ethan could remember it all now; he didn’t know what to do. He looked at his left hand, it was still normal; although his nails seemed to have grown a bit sharper, and were black. He reached over and grabbed a tree. Ethan managed to pull himself to his feet. Instantly he fell against the tree. His right foot hurt terribly.
He lifted his right foot and reached down, pulling his shoe off, and then his sock. His foot looked similar to his hand. The toes were twice as long, and ended it long claws. His foot was covered in blood, and it soaked the inside of his shoe and sock.
Ethan tenderly tried to set it on the ground to see if he could walk. After putting a little bit of pressure on it, he managed to take a step forward. It hurt to walk, but he had to get home. It was late, and he needed to clean himself up in order to sort this all out. It obviously wasn’t safe in the woods, so he hobbled forward.
After a while of limping, Ethan saw his house come into view. Managing to speed up, he made it to the back door. He wondered if his parents were home, they probably didn’t go looking for him because they assumed he was in his room, possibly sleeping, and didn’t want to bother him.
Ethan reached out with his right hand to open the door, but then shied away when he saw his monstrous hand again. He hesitated, and then opened the door with his left hand. He limped inside and shut the door, holding the wall with his right hand for balance. He didn’t realize he was tracking blood on the floor, and on the wall.
Making his way to the bathroom, Ethan looked around at the dark house. He saw both his parent’s sets of keys, so they were home after all. He made his way through the darkness to the bathroom, surprised at how easy it was to see in this light.
He opened the door to the bathroom and switched on the light with his left hand, covering his eyes with his right as the bright lights flashed on. He hobbled over to the mirror and looked into it, and then stifled a yelp of terror.
Ethan didn’t even look like himself anymore. His skin was an ashy dark gray, and his formerly dark brown hair was an inky black hue. Half of his teeth in his mouth had changed; the teeth in the right side of his mouth had changed shape entirely. They were sharp, like a bear’s, and the canines were so large they stuck out of his mouth when he closed his lips. His right eye didn’t fare any better, it had a glazed over look. So much so that he could hardly see his own pupil. Around his eye, dry blood was caked to his skin. His gums were bloody, and blood dripped down from both his mouth and his right eye.
He turned on the sink and began to wash the blood off of his deformed hand. After his hand, he cleaned up his mouth and the blood around his eye. Ethan felt much better with the blood off of him, but he still looked like a horrible monster. He hated his face, the teeth looked menacing. He never wanted to hurt anyone, but his face made it look like he was a human-killing demon.
Panicking and scared, Ethan managed to calm himself down by taking a few deep breaths. He decided that he should get some rest, he’d figure out how to deal with this situation in the morning.
Ethan walked out of the bathroom and turned off the light. He limped to the stairs and climbed them, pulling himself up with the railing. He went to his room and opened the door, everything was where he had left it, his parents had most likely assumed he was sleeping and didn’t want to bother him. It seemed like days ago that he was lying on the bed and reading the tome, everything normal.
He limped over to the nightstand, and picked up his mask. Inspecting it, he put it on. It was a plain mask; he supposed that it would hide his terrifying face well. Looking around, Ethan spotted an old black hoodie, and put it on over his sweater. With the hood and the neck of the sweater up, it was harder to tell the difference in his skin and hair. Ethan began to feel more confident that he could handle this stressful situation; until he heard footsteps.
“Ethan? Is that you?” He could hear his mother calling to him. There were footsteps, getting nearer to his door. Then there was a shriek.
Ethan noticed something on the floor of his room; bloody footprints. In his panic, he had forgotten to clean his foot of blood. He realized he had probably tracked blood all around the house.
Panicking yet again, he quickly took away the blanket from his bed, climbed in, and pulled the blanket over himself. Ethan tried to hide himself as much as he could, and the door to his room slammed open.
“Ethan! What’s wrong, are you alright!?” His mother asked him frantically.
“Yeah mom, I’m fine, what’s wrong?” Ethan tried to sound as if nothing was out of the ordinary, not wanting to frighten her with his new appearance.
“There’s blood on the-!” She paused, her eyes adjusting to the darkness. “Are you wearing a mask?”
“I uhh . . .” He tried to think of a response to this that wouldn’t ‘cause any suspicion. “It’s because I . . .”
“Ethan, what’s wrong with you?” His mother turned and flipped on the light switch, filling the room up with light. “Are you wearing a hoodie?” She looked down and let out another scream, “Why is there so much blood on the floor!?”
Ethan was silent, not knowing how to respond.
“What did you do!?” She questioned and walked towards him. Ethan shied away a little, not wanting her to see his hand, foot, or face. She reached over, grabbed the edge of the blanket, and then pulled it away.
She let out a scream that rang through the whole house. Ethan tried to quickly hide his hand, but the damage had been done; she had seen.
“Y-you’re not Ethan, you’re a . . . a . . .” She stumbled backwards towards the door.
“Mom! Wait! I’m-” Ethan got up, but when he put his feet on the ground to stand, she saw the blood shining off of the sharp claws on his foot.
“D-demon!” She screamed, and then ran out the room.
“Wait! I’m not a demon! I just, I’m, I-!” Ethan frantically searched for words to explain the situation. He could still hear his mother screaming.
“Quick! Get a gun!” She shrieked to his father, “There’s a demon in the house! I-it’s going to kill us!”
Ethan heard more footsteps, and then his father entered the doorway carrying one of his rifles, his mother was behind him.
Horrified, Ethan raised his hands slightly and backed up.
“M-mom! Dad! I’m Ethan! I’m not a-” Ethan stuttered, trying to explain and backing away from the gun at the same time.
“It’s lying!” His mother shouted, “I think it killed Ethan and wants to get us next! Look at all the blood!” Tears filled her eyes at the thought of what she suspected happened to her son.
Ethan saw his father put his finger over the trigger of the gun, and managed to move away quickly and dodge a bullet that left a hole in the wall.
“Please! P-please believe me!” Ethan shouted at them, jumping to the side again and dodging another bullet.
His father didn’t say a word, but his mother kept going off about the demon killing her son. Seeing as it was hopeless, Ethan looked around for another way to escape. He spotted the window and ran over as fast as he could, which wasn’t very fast due to his foot. He yanked open the window and turned to get another look at his parents. His mother was still frantic, and his father was aiming the gun at him.
Ethan jumped out the window just as another shot was fired. He grabbed the side of the house with his right hand, managing to cling to it. His large claws left slash marks in the side of the wall. Ethan managed to inch down the wall, and then jump to the ground.
He let out a yelp of pain when he landed; he heard two snaps, bones breaking. Ethan stumbled over and looked down, two of his long toes had snapped in half due to the fall. He winced at the intense pain, trying to bear it.
The door could be heard opening, and then footsteps. Ethan managed to get both hands on the ground; he put pressure on his right foot to see if he could still use it.
His father ran around the side of the house, once he saw Ethan he aimed the gun at him again. Ethan got to his feet and tried to run into the woods. He gasped in pain and fell to the ground when he tried to use his right foot.
The gun was fired again, and Ethan shot forward; sprinting despite the immense pain burning in his foot. The gun was fired a few more times, but none of the bullets hit him.
Ethan continued to run until he noticed that the bullets had stopped. It was only then did he realize that he had been running on all fours, rather than just his legs; it seemed to be quicker than running normally, with one foot partially broken.
Pained and exhausted, he collapsed to the ground. Tears filled his left eye, as blood flowed like tears from his right one. He lifted his right hand to his face to wipe them away, and then quickly drew his deformed hand out of his sight. He didn’t even want to look at himself anymore.
“What . . . What am I now . . ?”