Short Story: Beautiful


by Jay Caselberg

beautiful-300wJay Caselberg is an Australian writer based in Europe. His work has appeared in multiple venues worldwide and ranges across Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy and combinations of them all. His latest novel, EMPTIES, a story of dark psychological horror is available now. His short fiction has appeared in Interzone, Crimewave, The End of the Road, Dark Visions, Death’s Realm, and Airships and Automatons, to name but a few. More can be found at


They said it started in Northern Europe somewhere, though nobody really knows. At first, it was a small footnote article in the web press, but then it spread, grew viral in the media, in the hushed and slightly panicked conversation around dinner tables. It gave hell to the cat population for a while, but that was then. They gave it a label too — necrotising something-or-other. It’s just a label, and in a way, it only serves to sanitize the true nature of that particular, peculiar beast.

I read all I could at the beginning, tried to comprehend what was happening, but I only got so far, immersed in all that medical jargon. What I did understand were the bacteria. Cartilage and flesh and bone. They were hungry little buggers. You shake your head, read on, know deep inside that it can never happen to you. That’s the other thing about the media; it puts things right there in front of your face, but keeps them at a distance. For all of the reportage, it’s like watching a movie, always at an acceptable distance, that extra step removed. It could never happen to us. Nothing could ever happen to us. Nothing like that.



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