Author: Sarah Klein

Fred didn’t return from space the same man.

Loretta noticed it immediately, but brushed it off. “He just needs to relax,” she told herself. She did everything she could to make him comfortable.

But Fred was anxious. Fidgety. Not eating as much as he used to. And it wasn’t getting better, it was getting worse.

One night at dinner, she noticed him absent-mindedly chewing a chicken bone, long past when the meat was gone. “Fred? Are you okay? Really?” She asked, and he snapped to attention, and then started to fidget.

“No,” he admitted quietly. “I don’t know what it is.. nothing big even went wrong with the trip. I just feel… like I can’t sit still. And it helps if I chew. I don’t know,” he said, putting his head in his hands for a moment.

“Well, I’ll go with you to Dr. Sands tomorrow,” she said, and Fred winced.

Before she fell asleep that night Loretta noticed him chewing a finger nervously but thought nothing of it. She saw something much worse when she awoke.

Fred had gnawed away most of the flesh on his hands and upper arms. Dripping viscera stained the sheets. His eyes were bloodshot, crazed, his face flecked with spittle. He looked up at her but continued chewing.

She screamed and jumped out of bed, picking up her phone. Then something long and green and slimy burst forth from Fred’s throat towards her. She took her cell phone and ran downstairs in horror. But when they arrived to take away Fred’s body, the little green thing was gone. Investigators started to assess the corpse, but didn’t believe Loretta about any little green thing.

Loretta spent a week away from the house at a hotel nearly an hour away. She did her best to distract herself. She told herself that her anxiety was understandably high, and of course she was going to feel like Fred did, but she just had to relax.

But the hotel maid found her in bed one day when she didn’t respond, chewing her fingers to the bone..