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SLITHER by Edward Lee.
The smoking sizzle rose as Leona hosed down the burning wall. Jesus! she thought. I got it!
She looked around. Where was Howie?
“I found the hose!” he bellowed, running back around the corner. He held the long length in one hand. “Turn it o—” But then he stopped, scanned his eyes at the smoking ashes.
D2108“Howie,” Leona said with the sickest feeling in her life churning in her belly. “That thing in your hand isn’t the hose…”
It hung limp until the moment she’d said that, almost as if it had sensed the trigger of Howie’s fear. His eyes snapped down…
Then the “hose” began to move…
Vaguely pink, glistening skin. About an inch thick. How long was it? It extended from his hand, behind him, its other end still on the other side of the shack. Howie tried to drop the grotesque thing but it was already too late for that. In the space of that synaptic second, the creature energized and wrapped around Howie’s upper torso—
Then Howie was dressed in the thing, wearing it like a corselet. His scream was severed when more of its length coiled about his neck. Howie fell over.
His eyes still registered images as his vision clouded, and then the thing’s head made itself plain: slightly tapered, less like a snake and more like a worm.
A pink hole dilated—a mouth opening?—then a thinner pink tube of something fleshy slipped out and—
“Howie!” Leona screamed.
—slithered down Howie’s throat.
First Paperback, 2005.
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