#FridayFlash: The Way of All Flesh

The Way of All Flesh

by Tony Noland

The bathroom tiles were cold, biting plates of ice under her bare feet. The vanity cabinet door creaked as she closed it and she froze. Like silvery moonlight framing a statue in the park, the pale glow of the little nightlight held back the darkness. A moment, a long foolish moment passed and she heard nothing but his continued heavy breathing.

She clutched the barber's shears tightly. He would never understand. She didn’t understand herself. There was no reason for it, the whole thing was insane, but she had to. She just had to.

As slowly as she could, she moved back down the hall, back through to her bedroom. It was so dark, she moved by memory toward the bed. He lay exposed, blankets pushed down to his waist. He slept in the nude, as he always did. That first night, she’d been startled by his heat. He was not her first lover, and she’d been accustomed to the warmth of men. Men were like hot bricks wrapped in flannel, a comfort throughout the night for cold feet and hands.

Him, though... sleeping with him in her bed was like sleeping on a warm sandy beach. Every morning for the first week, she slept deeply and awoke aroused. Seven mornings running she had reached for him and he had been solid and ready for her, even in his sleep. Enormous, he was two hand spans long and as thick around as her fingers could curl. It was almost more than she could take, even with a slow and patient touch. He was wonderful, like nothing she had ever felt before.

The antique shears glinted, the long gilt steel blades catching the thin bit of light from the window. She moved one floating step at a time, closer and yet closer still to his side of the bed. It was on their twelfth night, as she lay naked beside him, sweat cooling into the darkness of the bedroom, that the first mad urge flashed in her mind. It passed and she had smiled at the lunacy of it. Since then, though, the desire had returned, at first intermittently, then continuously - a complete image of her doing the unthinkable playing over and over in her mind.

In her waking moments, when she was at work, at the gym, anywhere she was apart from him, she could see that it was absurd. But at night, in the deep heat of the night, when she was at the heights of emotion and sensation, with his body against hers, she was overcome with a sense of the rightness, of the pressing need for this mad course of action. She resisted, she argued with herself, berated herself for being a fool. Why did she want to hurt him? How could she?

She stood next to him, over him. In her mind the crime was already committed. It was not only right and wise - it was necessary, critical that she do this. A very small, weak voice inside her cried out to stop her, to forestall this insanity that would be the ruin of him and her and everything. She ignored it.

She drew down the blanket and with her free hand she gently lifted him. Whether at her touch or at the feel of the cool air, he grew, filling her hand. As quietly as her fingers could manage, she opened wide the shears and maneuvered them in place. Then, with all of the strength in her arm, she closed them hard, slicing the blades fully across the root of him. His manhood came free and she leapt back from the bed, snatching it out of the fountain of blood that gushed from him.

He came awake with a roar and clapped both hands to his mutilated groin. He looked up at her, screaming in shock and agony. Frightened, confused by what she had just done, she turned away from him and looked at the heavy mass she held in her trembling hand, dripping and flopping, yet still firm and radiating warmth.

From behind the head of it, two long yellow fangs flashed out, then arced forward convulsively to bury themselves in her wrist.

Comments and constructive criticisms welcome. Other #FridayFlash pieces can be found here


  1. Ouch! and then Ouch! Great build up, loved the turn at the end.

  2. Ouch and eek!! I certainly wasn't expecting that ending!
    Say hello to Vagina Dentata's male cousin!!

  3. DAMN! I cringed, I'll admit it. . . but then the ending made it worth it!


  4. Christ! I actually clapped a hand over my mouth in horror and sympathy when she finally did it...kept thinking 'no...it's not what I suspect...something will stop her...!" Damn! Scary stuff! I'm checking for teeth from now on!

  5. nightmares, dude.... nightmares...

  6. THOUGHT I knew where you were going with this by the second paragraph. Glad he got her back with that fanged head of his. Whew! Excellent story. Peace, Linda

  7. Chance sits at his desk, sipping a luke warm cup of tea. he clicks on the link to Tony Nolands story. He then begins to read through the story GROSS he shouts before picking up his laptop and hiding it under the desk, hoping the story will go away.

  8. O.O OH MY GOODNESS. I could SEE this action and actually cringed. And I'm a GIRL. O.O

  9. Thanks for the great comments! OK, let's see...

    Four men, all cringing and anticipating nightmares.

    Four women, three also cringing and one relishing the fanged revenge for the mutilation.

    Yep, I'd say it's a horror story all right.


  10. Lorena? Is that you?

    No, seriously ... I kept thinking there was no way you'd allow such a travesty but you went ahead and allowed it, only to double back and get the girl in the end. It was a double shocker. Very good, but Tony, I'm a little worried about you.

  11. I'm with liv and Jim on this... I'm feeling sick now.

    Scary and gross. Had me hooked throughout.

  12. Sorry, David. Maybe go take a nap until you feel better. Lock the door.

    Actually, Liv and Amy, when I began to write this, I expected that she wouldn't do it. The tension built and built and then, when it came time for me to deploy the plot twist I had in mind, to swerve away from the oncoming cement truck ... I plowed straight ahead instead and let the car wreck unfold in all its bloody glory, just to see what would happen.

    I'm not sick in the head; I'm a writer.

  13. I'm giggling at Mazz's comment!

    Tony this is so evil, you! I don't know if I should ahhh or eeek!

    I can always expect to be entertained by you. This is no exception.

  14. Definitely a change of pace for you, Tony - well done

  15. SLAM! I thought the Bobbit moment was approaching. Nice twist at the ending! Bravo!

  16. Yowza..biting..sorry couldn't resist!

  17. First I cringed, but when the teeth showed up I decided he must have deserved it for being some kind of weird alien thing.
    The inside of your imagination is...different, Tony. Well done. :)

  18. Do the fanged ones grow back like salamander tails? Never mind, I don't want to know.
    This was creative and what an ending. Yowza!

  19. Well now he doesn't have to worry about the fit of his trousers, right? That's something.

    You've done it well, this horror genre!

  20. Do tell, Tony, how do you sleep at night? If I were you, I'd wear pajamas in the future. Now, constructive criticism..."He slept in the nude, as he always did." That sentence seems redundant to me. Uh oh. I don't want someone with your imagination to get mad at me! I loved it all, even that sentence. Really.

  21. All I can say is that was pretty twisted on every level. So good job! It was a great read.

  22. Chris: having it grow back would be terrific! Look for the sequel, summer of 2012!

    Thanks, Eric & Marisa!


    "He slept in the nude, as he always did."

    I think you're right, Susan. That line could be tuned up some.

    "As always, he slept in the nude."


    "He was naked. He was always naked in bed."

    I'll have to think about it.

  23. Excellent build up and a very interesting twist at the end. I don't even want to think about how you came up with this one.

  24. And SHE gets "snakebit" in the end? Very interesting last little line there. There's more to that man's whanker than meets the ... well, I'd better not say.

    What was it you said in your defense of flash fiction? You write it to readers feel? Well, you whacked me in my gonads with this one, mister. I felt it. More than I wanted to.

    Constructive bit of criticism: My grandfather was a barber, and his barber shears weren't big enough to cut off something of the size you describe. Maybe a fellow with a pencil-sized you-know-what. But not this summer-sausage dude. That'd take garden shears.

  25. *raises hand* I'm with the cringing, crossing legs crowd.

    Not my usual cup of tea, but your execution was fantastic.

  26. Laurita: Don't ask, don't tell.

    Anasazistories: I knew going into it that the detail there wouldn't work, but decided to let it go. I'll admit, I hoped no one would notice, but you all are sharper than that, obviously.

    It's plausible for someone to have a pair of barber's shears in the bathroom, for trimming bangs & such. Nobody has straight razors anymore, and to have a pair of garden shears secreted in there would indicated far more premeditation than I wanted to convey. I thought about having her go to the kitchen, for a pair of bone shears, but that's kind of an obscure cooking device. I'll try to think up some way out of this corner... that's what revisions are for, I suppose.

    Dana: I realize this isn't everyone's delight; I'm not sure I care for it much, to be honest. I just wanted to see if I could do something along these lines. Actually, I was thinking of a comment you made on your blog last week: "I am thinking that I need to start writing some more serious stories. Or at least less silly/ridiculous ones. I don't want to get branded as the class clown for Friday Flash". I don't know if I have a branding of any kind, since I tend to use FridayFlash as a way to try out new things. This little bit of bloodiness is the antithesis of funny. Maybe next week, I should go for something sweet and touching? It will be the last #FridayFlash before Christmas time, after all....

  27. That's wrong on so many levels. Great read though, had me squirming and cringing to order. Well paced and damned nasty at the end there.

  28. I just wanted to sleep like that... how could anyone who slept that well do the unthinkable?!

    I, too was cringing and hoping it wouldn't go there... but it did. And the snake fangs in the freudian snake... you are a twisted man.

  29. Dan & Peggy: Thanks for reading, and for the great comments! I realize this one is kind of harsh, but I'm glad the pacing and buildup of tension worked the way it was supposed to. That's lousy for a love story, but good technique for horror!


Thank you for leaving a comment. The staff at Landless will treat it with the same care that we would bestow on a newly hatched chick. By the way, no pressure or anything, but have you ever considered subscribing to Landless via RSS?