Three Brittle Pigs
by John Rickett
They appeared in droves, plowing out of the forest—ripping, clawing, mouths dripping blood. Wolves, at one time. Now, their bodies were twisted with exposed flesh and muscle. Their fur caked with blood and dirt—their hunger for flesh, amplified.
Edgar snorted, watched them tearing out of the treeline from the roof of his brick fortress. Through the binoculars, it was difficult to take in how large the horde was. Just a churning mess of hair and meat and teeth, moving in a singular direction. Towards his brothers. Towards him.
Marshal’s house would fall first. Spent all his prep money trying to get his sausage deep in some Blue Ribbon ham. Built it from straw and thorns, tweaked out of his mind over a sleepless week. Surrounded it with straw-bale wall, topped with bramble barbwire. Marshal planned to snag them on the thorns, light everything on fire, kill the horde. Stupid idea. Suicide.
Baskin’s idea wasn’t much better. Spent some time on it—the planning and fabrication at least. Lumber and nails, pointed and positioned. A heavy machine gun. Sure, some of the horde would get hung up and mowed down, but eventually they’d claw over each other and that’d be that.
He’d know if he was right soon enough.
His phone sang Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”—Marshal’s ring. He answered.
“Ready to see this, Eddy? Ready Eddy? Ha!”
“Already planning your funeral—if they leave enough of you to bury.”
“Yeah, we’ll see. Have fun in your mausoleum. Kill these fuckers, that’s what I say. Kill ’em all. What about when you run out of food? Huh? Huh? Then what? Gotta leave sometime.”
“Been a fun ride, Marsh. Gonna miss you.”
He put the phone back in his pocket, peered through his binoculars.
The horde was upon Marshals’ house. Some of the early ones got caught on brambles, stumbled over. Others stampeded the fallen. They tore through the straw walls, pulverized chutes into dust and splinters. Marshal appeared on the roof of the main compound in a fireproof suit, wielding a flame thrower.
His brother stepped to the edge of the roof, his squeal piercing the plain, and unleashed hell on the horde. The mass of fur blasted aflame—the entire area an inferno. The horde pushed on, clawing and tearing at the base of the straw house. Soon, it fell, dunking Marshal into the mass of flames and flesh. The smell of burnt hair and bacon. Black smoke.
Like piranhas, clearing the bones as they swam, the wolves bore down on Baskin’s cabin, some burned and charred—all still hungry and rabid. Machine-gun fire erupted from the second floor window, punching holes in bodies, spraying blood. Chug chug chug. Wolves in the front eviscerated on wooden palisades tried to claw through. Wolves in the back pressed on, climbing and crashing like waves. Ebb and flow as gunfire shredded skull fragments and sinew.
The chug chug chug became click click click. Baskin screamed panicked curses. The horde surrounded his house, tearing at the lumber, rocking the structure.
The wooden house gave way, collapsing to the ground. Entombed wolves grabbed out from beneath fallen planks as the horde turned towards Edgar’s Fortress.
“Come on, big bad wolves,” Edgar said. “Come play.”
Movement to the left of Baskin’s rubble. A hatch flew open in the grass.
Baskin clawed his way out, and bounded across the plain towards Edgar. The horde turned as a single organism, and with howling enthusiasm welcomed the challenge.
Baskin ran as fast as his pig legs would carry him, waving his arms and screaming. The horde followed like black tide, slamming into one another—over one another. Always clawing. Always biting.
Edgar placed his binoculars down on the ledge, picked up a grey box with red and green buttons sitting atop a dog-eared copy of Swine Survivor and leaned over to look. Baskin slammed into the base of his brick fortress, grabbing iron bars, pulling.
“Wouldn’t do that,” Edgar shouted.
“Let me in, Eddy! I’m sorry about all the shit I gave you about this place. Let me in!”
“Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin.”
Baskin turned his head towards the horde. His pink flesh blanched. Piss ran down his leg.
“Please, Eddy! Please!”
Edgar considered it. The horde was bearing down on his brother. Wouldn’t be long now. However, Baskin might be the missing piggy puzzle piece that made his plan work all the easier. Live bait instead of patience.
“Sure, Baskin. You can come in,” Edgar said, pressing the green button. Metal sliding on rock sounded below. Baskin vanished though the metal bars, then reappeared.
“Close it!” He screamed.
The mass of meat and fur flooded the plains, drooling towards the fresh pig flesh, picking up speed and ferocity.
Edgar stood, hoof hovering over the red button as the swarm quaked the brick foundation. The tide of wolves emptied into the bottom of his fortress, drowned his screaming brother in teeth and claws. Still, he waited until every drop of wolf drained though the iron gate.
Then, he pressed it.
Below, gears ground together, howling moaned from deep inside the belly of his fortress. Smoke and stench oozed from a metal hatch, forming thick clouds. The building pulsed with its own heartbeat.
Burnt meat and hair.
Food for months.