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The sounds of busy automobiles and a distant siren reminded Abby that her exploration was still rooted firmly in the juxtaposition of abandoned relics of the city’s industrialized past against the unrelenting cultural momentum of progress. But these sounds of the world outside quickly faded from her faculties as she zoomed her digital recorder upon an opening in the ceiling that belonged to what once was a factory’s main production floor. Vines and overgrowth were reclaiming for Mother Nature what once had stood as a testament to humankind’s ability to mold raw materials into commodities. The decrepit walls still seemed to hold in them the spirits of the workers who succumbed to the binds of Taylorism in an effort to eek out some type of existence in the post-World War II society.
Abby treaded carefully along the splintered concrete floors of the old building. She understood the risks of being an urban explorer. The structural remnants of a time long gone were a host of all kinds of physical dangers, from foundations that could give way under the slightest weight to getting tetanus from rusted shrapnel that the naked eye would not see until too late. Abby has even run into squatters who have made temporary homes amongst the civilized ruins. Each time she’s encountered someone, the situation has been amicable, but she knew that many of the squatters in the city were mentally disturbed and may be dangerous, particularly if they had substance abuse problems.
The young woman exited the main production floor and began walking along a high ceiling corridor that seemed to have once housed a number of machines. Junk was strewn about the floor. Obviously, the owner of the property had thought it more economic to let the place waste away than clean it up. Abby videoed along the way, pointing her camera to anything she found interesting. She didn’t speak. Commentary would be saved for post-production. She had gained something of a small following on YouTube – fellow urban explorers and people who just had enthnographic interests about the industrialized world watched the content that she uploaded.
Abby stopped to film a rusted out hulk. It was a large cylindered contraption that may have served as an early robotic production machine. She focused intently on it, first recording a wide shot before zooming in to gain the precise details of the subject. She felt a slight dampness on her hair. Abby paid little mind to it at first. She was used to the strange humidity and dankness that often resided in the buildings she explored. It went with the territory, so to speak. However, her attention from the machine was soon drawn away as she felt the dampness get heavy on the top of her head. Reaching up into her brown hair, Abby felt a gooey substance trickling down from somewhere in the ceiling. A big splatter came down across her chest, seeping into her red, long-sleeve shirt. The slime was yellow, interspersed with little black chunks or something or other in its syrupy texture.
Abby felt disgusted. She backed up and looked towards the ceiling. The yellow goo had apparently fallen off of a girder. Thinking to herself how unlucky she was to have picked that spot to stand, Abby moved and resumed filming.
Before focusing back on the machine, the woman’s head began to feel dizzy. Is was the feeling of standing up too quickly or the dizziness that comes when you need to eat. Abby let the camera fumble onto the ground as she half-heartedly attempted to set it on the floor while she regained her composure. In the back of her mind, she hoped that this was just a freak episode and was not related to the goo that had fallen onto her only moments before.
A peculiar numbness arose alongside the sides of her mouth. It grew with a pulsing rhythm that seemed to align with the pounding of Abby’s heart in her chest. She began moving her jaw back and forth, trying to stimulate some sort of tactile feeling into her mouth. In a flash, her mouth violently pushes to either side, the flesh pulling away, rearranging into a more slit-like orifice. Abby panicked in response to the body horror falling upon her. The skin on either side of her shifting mouth raised upwards and popped over two new hardened stalks. The skin slightly ripped and the two new structures protruded over her mouth: two mandibles had just erupted from the woman’s face. Any attempts at speaking were soon made almost impossible as Abby’s tongue reshapened and elongated to the extent that it lazily hung from her mouth.
Extreme discomfort overtook her, almost involuntarily causing Abby to cross her arms, grabbing on each of her sides. She felt movement just below the surface of her skin. It was a foreign feeling, and just the tactile sensation of her sides wavering caused a queasy feeling in her stomach. The pressure built along the sides of her ribcage, pulsating and growing with a twisting feeling that forced inhuman screams from Abby’s larynx. Two nubs bellowed outwards underneath her shirt, pushing against its sides. With a shearing sound, the seams of the red top running along Abby’s side pulled apart to make way for two stalk-like appendages to push through.
It was like a scene from some big budget horror movie. The limbs quickly grew out, as if they were possessed with their own consciousness. Each one had a dark green texture, and they mechanically waved back and forth, attached to Abby’s sides.
The change took hold of Abby’s still-human arms. Her skin made cacophonously cracking noises, flesh uncontrollably morphing into a hardened green surface. Her forearms morphed into tibia similar to that found on any common bug. Her wrists segmented into tarsus structures. Meanwhile, clawed feet tore through Abby’s sneakers, and she fought to remain standing. She was sure that the changes were consuming her legs that were hidden from view underneath her jeans.
Abby pushed her back against a dank wall, attempting to hold herself up with sheer leverage. Her shoulders bulged and snapped, while her torso seemed to barrel outwards. The force of her expanding body tore her shirt off, exposing the horrific reality of the new set of legs attached to each of her sides. Abby breathed heavily, her sizable breasts heaving up and down, seeming to want to bust free from her satiny white bra.
Abby fell forward, landing on the hard, chapped concrete floor. Immense pressure built in the seat of her pants and her ass bulged outwards, taking on an egg-like shape. The seem across the back of her jeans tore apart and what was once her rear-end pushed outwards, ripping her panties from her shifting hips in the process. The crack of Abby’s buttocks sealed shut with hard, exoskeleton tissue. The section of body behind her hips folded over, creating a spiracle.
Changes swept up Abby’s torso, the flesh softening to only become encased in a hard insectoid armor. Her mid section smoothed into a greenish thorax. Abby’s chest swelled out, snapping her bra off, before becoming level with the rest of her mid-section. Her nipples disappeared into the exoskeleton, along with any hint of her former mammalian past.
The green color spread over Abby’s face. Two nubs erupted from her temples, growing into antennae. Her eyes bugged out, and the sclera of each looked as though ink were dropped into them. The color of her eyes became black, and both took on a bulbous alien look. The bones in Abby’s skull softened, while her face pushed in all directions, reconfiguring itself into that of some sort of grotesque bug, as her hair receded.
Anything left of Abby’s human mind had been erased by the transformation. Her human intelligence was replaced by the simple instincts of an insect. She was now some sort of giant arthropodal monstrosity, doomed to stalk the corridors of the urban ruins. The only hint of her fate would be left to those who would also venture into the abandoned factor and watch the footage found on the camera that revealed her final human moments.