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Flash Fiction Friday: Icky the Monster and the Terrifying Crucible

This one sort of got away from me. Not gonna lie. The prompt was easy enough, but I went in a weird direction. For some reason, my mind wanted to draw in tropes from more cartoon-like monsters, a la Monsters Inc. or Aaahh! Real Monsters. Childish. Cute. Not scary. I thought that would help draw the contrast the prompt sought.

I don't know where the hell the idea of a crucible came from. Either way, sometimes ya just gotta roll with things. You're here to see the raw and dirty - the barely edited, half-baked stories. Some of them aren't going to stick, and that's OK. The journey is what counts. Happy reading!

A monster is terrified by the scary child who lives above his bed.

The shrill sound of a young person screaming blared across the intercoms at Rotten Oak High School for Ghouls. Icky, a small, grotesque creature with a dark leather hide and jutting underbite, shuffled into the corridors of the educational institution.

“Seniors, coming through.”

A grotesque looking character. AI created
A hilarious/creepy AI rendition of our main character.

A scraggly imp with thorny limbs parted the hallways with a guidon that featured a monstrous-looking eye with tentacles sprouting from it, the banner of The Creeps, a group of upper-class students.

Icky’s pig-like nose snorted as a brutish troop of orcs, hags, shapeshifters, and other teenage horrors strutted through the hallway. They carried a sense of pride that the underclass monsters envied - they had passed The Crucible. A test of bravery and willpower that determined the trajectory of all adolescent monsters’ lives. Icky’s day to undergo the trial was rapidly approaching.

She confided to only one person: Slime. An amorphic, blob-like creature with two floating eyes and an expressive mouth. One evening in their dorms, she confessed her fears to him.

“I know we’re supposed to be a certain way and be the scary, anti-human thing but if they only knew how similar we are!”

“Think of it like a selection process,” Slime said. “They aren’t going to take you if they don’t think you’re right for it. Just relax and give it a shot! It’s not like you’re going to be ripping some guts out the first time you encounter a person.”

“I just don’t think it’s fair!”

Icky’s forearm flexed in anger. Sharp blades protruded from her skin. She grabbed it, ashamed of what she had just done.

AI image of slime creature
An AI rendering of Slime

“I’m -- I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have done that.”

Slime looked unphased as she turned away from him in embarrassment.

“That’s just what I’m talking about, Icky. You’ve got… we’re all monsters. It’s what we’re expected to do.”

“And what if we don’t want to?”

“We can’t just make that choice. There’s no running away. Our family expects us to do this.”

Slime was the voice of reason. Despite her fear of the trial, there was no escaping it. It was the rite of passage that all monsters of their realm would undergo. And when the time came for Icky and her classmates to undergo The Crucible, the fanfare was spectacular as always. Throughout the day, the temple that led to The Crucible’s proving grounds was packed with families, leaders, and scribes.

“As we stand here today at the gates of The Crucible, let me remind you of the heritage. The proud heritage of those that came before us and ascended in these same tombs.”

It was The Dark Prince himself. Well, in a hologram. His voice droned on about nonsense as Icky’s palms began oozing. She scanned the crowd for her parents. If she could only make eye contact with her brother or sister. They would know what to do. They were like her. Their parents didn’t understand why, but they were. The ooze made her hands stick together.

“Please, not now.” She whispered to herself.

“-And so as you ascend to the human realm, remember that you are fulfilling your destiny whether you become a man-hunting murder demon. Or a crossing guard. I’m telling you, those crossing guards… life savers in my city. Fate shall speak for itself. Go forth, minions. Give ‘em Hell.”

And so the first wave of teenage monsters stepped forth to the temple doors and were led through by a wildly chanting priest.

“Pretty cool, huh?” Slime asked. “I’ve always loved the pomp and circumstance with these things.”

“The music was pretty cool. The whole ascending in a granite tomb to the human world? Can we skip past that part?”

“That’s the main attraction!”

Slime jabbed her in the arm with a gelatinous appendage.

“I’m already disgusting! Cut the shit.”

“Chunks? Slices? I’ll lick the knife if you don’t want to.”

“I’m gonna throw up.”


A mucus covered troll stamped its foot with a loud clap.

“Enough chatter. Pay attention.”

Icky and Slime were soon called to the temple doors with eleven other monsters. As the giant, bone-trimmed doors opened, a low croaking sound came from within the long hall of the temple. As they crossed the threshold into the temple, their world behind them disappeared. The priest’s chants grew louder and they echoed throughout the chambers adjoining the hallway. They were simple chambers, with candelabras, incense, and the cold slab of granite upon which they would all lie.

“This one, child.”

The priest breathed hot, grotesque breath on Icky as he pointed inside a chamber.

“Lucky seven. We’ll keep our eye on you.”

Icky tried to be cordial with a small bow. She convinced her feet to move and enter the chamber. The stone door slid shut. She was alone. The candles provided adequate light. She slowly moved around the slab of smooth stone, sizing it up.

“Maybe I can just do this until everyone gets back?”

“You definitely cannot do that.” A voice from the slab replied. “Hop on. Let’s go. It’s already a long night for me.”

Icky sat at the edge of it.

“You know the drill. Fully down. Night night.”

Her heart raced. She slowly leaned down under the full weight of her body rested on the slab. It remained cool and enveloped her in a sense of calm. The heaviness of sleep washed over her, and she was transported to the human realm.

It was a place of darkness. Where she murmured prayers for her safety as she explored the enormous corridors of the new realm. As the giant humans wandered about, she hid in desperate fear. She was so tiny. And they were so big. There was no way she could ever be terrifying enough to be able to cross into their dimension and terrorize them. THEY were terrifying.

As Icky covertly moved throughout the dwelling, she heard the unmistakable sound of music. It drew her in with a mesmerizing pull. Her head filled with images of soaring creatures and rolling hills. It reminded her of memories she had with her family before they dropped her off at the School for Ghouls. Places far and wide that beckoned her. To do what? She didn’t know. It didn’t matter. The music made her feel sad.

“Alright, we’re done here.” The slab’s voice jolted her upright.

“What was that?” Icky leaped off the stone.

The door opened and the priest beckoned. She joined the others in an orderly line out of the temple. She stared straight ahead, the sounds of the beautiful melodies from the human world swirled in her mind. She missed that place already, but not in the way that these priests wanted her to.

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