The Thing Within

An offering of flash fiction, not for the faint of heart, revealing the hatred born from the most harrowing of circumstances, and the deranged acts of desperation that may follow…

by: Gavin Gardiner

I press the needle to my neck, screaming promises of conviction and intention at the men surrounding me — always men. Reassurances are returned through the rain. They want what’s best for me, and I believe them. But they want what’s best for the thing inside, too. They don’t know what I know, feel what I feel. I know no details of the thing within, refused all their offered information. I knew enough, but now I know even more. Now I know it must die.

Their faces, all of them, are of my tormentor, my conqueror. For nearly nine months I bought their bullshit. I grew to love the growing form inside, believed it could come into this world more me than him. But that can’t be. Maybe others out there, but not this one. Not mine. Its father was found dead two weeks ago. An overdose. Too little too late. The thing within is all that’s left of him. Its demands for release were all I needed to finally see the fate it must meet. A mother’s love, it’s eternal. But I’ve seen my hate overtake that eternity. I’ve come to see the kicking creature in my uterus to be no more than him. His secretion. His being. His flesh. The power to sterilize the world of that rapist fuck is in my hands. I’m sorry, little thing within.

The hospital looms before us, a towering headstone reaching into the starless slate sky. If that monolith swallows me again he will live on through the child. I won’t let him. I won’t go back.

I am infected with rape. They won’t administer the cure, so I’ll do it myself. The amniocentesis needle, it’s as long as a butcher’s knife. I lower it to my swollen, diseased belly.

It kicks.

I administer.

The needle penetrates my skin, fat, muscle, connective tissue, the lining of my womb; as many layers as an onion made of flesh. The implement finally finds the thing within and ruptures its soft, fighting form — an intravenous baptism. The poison flows. The men run at me, but I know they’re too late. I feel the terminal writhing of the abomination inside as the chemicals invade it, and with it me. Finally, stillness. Together it and I begin to fade. They’ll try to save it. They will fail.

Then, in our final moments, as the men swarm me with their tools and knives and good intentions, I feel something else inside. Something the poison has failed to cure. Something missed. There is still a thing within.

A twin.


An upcoming horror writer from Scotland, Gavin Gardiner believes there are no greater terrors than that which reside within our own minds. For this reason, he specializes in the psychological, and pushes the themes and subjects of his work into areas seldom explored in the genre. Find out more at


Read “The Tag” by Gavin Gardiner at Across The Margin.

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