Metamorphosis: A Short Story

Fall is here. Even in my neck of the woods – where October is usually just another Summer month – temperatures have dropped into the comfortably cool range. It may not seem like much, but I’ll take any positive news I can get in 2020.

To get in the spirit, we treat October as one long Halloween, throwing as much horror-themed content at you that we can muster. In addition to our editorials, reviews, Power Rankings, and Monsoon Vision watch parties, we’ve decided to add a bit of original fiction into the mix this year.

This is an experiment. Something new for us. And we’re working on some other new ideas we hope to share soon. So let us know what you think down in the comments. And, as always, we appreciate your support and your participation in this community. We hope you have an amazing October and Halloween!

-SAW Staff


The lump is less pronounced than it was the day before. A week before. A month.

The rise and fall of the moldering down comforter is almost imperceptible in the weak, watery light seeping in from the room’s single window. A dingy box fan hums in the corner, deadening the world outside. The fan runs day and night. Sometimes the world slips through the web of white noise. A train whistle.  A truck dumping the contents of the dumpster across the street, slamming it back down on the cracked concrete.

The lump stirs.

The clock on the nightstand is restless. It circles the hour like a dog circling its bed, but never finding a comfortable spot to rest.

A police siren yelps twice, slips past the fan’s web. A cab or delivery truck double parked on the street below.

The lump begins to change shape. It elongates. Metamorphosizes.

After a while, the lump emerges from the down cocoon. Its eyes blink. Its mouth yawns. It sweeps limp clumps of hair from its eyes and looks around the room as if it expects to find something other than what has always been there. Its flipper-feet unconsciously search the bare wood floor to find the misshapen slippers it doesn’t remember leaving but somehow knows are lying next to the bed.

The lump sighs and, with great effort, separates itself from the fibrous womb. It shuffles to the door and turns to look longingly back at the shapeless mass of blankets and pillows. The flipper-hand envelopes the knob. Hesitates.

The light in the room beyond is brighter than the light in the bedroom. A television in the far corner is tuned to static. The volume low. Another web.

The lump glances at it. Almost wistfully. As if it recognizes within the humming box some hint of what it had once been. Of what it is becoming.

The lump shuffles across gritty linoleum to a small refrigerator. It opens the door. The bulb has burnt out, but the lump’s eyes have grown accustomed to the ashy light. It stands there, its hand-that’s-not-a-hand on the handle of the refrigerator.

Minutes go by. The refrigerator recedes. The clock on the kitchen wall circles the hour.

A car horn followed by an angry shout penetrates the television’s web.

The lump stirs. Blinks its eyes. Closes the refrigerator door and turns to shuffle back past the television to the bedroom door.

It pauses, the door knob cool in its rubbery grip. The television drones on, spinning out its web.

The bedroom seems darker. The outside noises more distant. The bed crouches in the dim light.

The lump sits, slides absently out of the matted slippers. The comforter resumes its subtle rise and fall.

The lump is less pronounced than it was a week before. A day before. An hour.

The clock on the nightstand circles.


Thanks for reading, guys! We hope you are enjoying our Halloween-themed content so far; we’ve got a bunch more coming your way.

In the meantime, tell us how you get in the Fall spirit. Do you have a horror movie watchlist (check out our 31 Days of Halloween for some recommendations), read a horror novel, write your own short fiction, or decorate your home? Tell us about it in the comments, and we’ll see you there!

Author: Billy Dhalgren

“A man writes because he is tormented, because he doubts.” -Andrei Tarkovsky