Marty the Lizard Boy

Marty was obsessed with lizards. No, not dinosaurs, not dragons, just those tiny, four-legged, slithering things.

I don’t know when or why it started. One day, out of nowhere, lizards were all he talked about.

Marty was an odd kid, one who didn’t seem to fit in, and who was always interested in the most random things. He was also big, tall, almost too tall for his age. At the same time, however, he was a bit slow, shy and reserved. You could’ve called him a gentle giant, if he wouldn’t have been a fourteen-year-old boy.

I thought this lizard thing would be over soon enough. Marty was always quick to get excited about something, but after only a couple of weeks, he’d have moved on.

This lizard thing was different. He didn’t just like them; he grew obsessed with them.

We’d have to do a presentation in class and could choose our own topic? Lizards. We’d each put together our own little website during IT class? Marty’s would be about lizards. Even on Halloween, he turned up in a life-sized lizard costume.

It was the worst during biology class. He’d constantly annoy our teacher, Mrs. Grantle, with questions about lizards and would likewise uh and ah whenever they were mentioned.

Growing up, Marty and I were pretty close. He lived down the street from me and we hung out a lot. I liked him well enough, but even when we were little, I could tell he was different.

That might have been the reason his parents got him anything he asked for. His family was very well-off and Marty’s room was filled to the brim with all sorts of toys. He also owned a giant TV and pretty much any video game console you could think of.

After the lizard things started, however, his room transformed into a bona fide lizard sanctuary. Gone were the posters of superheroes, now replaced by ones of lizards. His bookshelf, once filled with comic books, was now stacked with books on lizards. He even owned a giant terrarium populated by almost a dozen of them.

The most annoying part was that he talked about nothing else anymore. I’d mention a cool new movie I’d seen, and he’d tell me about some dumb lizard movie. If we talked about superheroes, he’d bring up some obscure lizard character I’d never heard about.

I told him countless times to knock it off with the dumb lizard stuff, but he never did. Eventually, I just stopped hanging out.

While I didn’t remember how this obsession came to be, I remember when the bullying started.

Until this point, Marty had been ignored by everyone. He just sat in the back of the class, quiet, and busying himself with whatever he was currently interested in. He was pretty much invisible.

The lizard thing, however, and his irritating behavior soon put him on everyone’s radar.

One day, he even brought one of his lizards to school, and when I saw it, I knew something was about to happen.

He’d put the lizard in a tiny box, which he hid during class, but always brought out during breaks. There, in the back, he’d play with it and show it off to those few classmates who hadn’t tired of his lizard stick yet.

One of them was Stevie. Everyone knew he couldn’t care less about lizards. As he stood there, next to Marty, I could hear the sarcasm in his voice as he asked questions and said how cool Marty’s lizard was. Stevie was making fun of him, but Marty was completely oblivious to it.

During a later break, when Marty went to the bathroom, Stevie put his plan into motion. He snatched the lizard from Marty’s bag and swiftly hid it in someone else’s, a girl named Cindy.

When Marty returned, he noticed his lizard was gone and began searching for it everywhere. No one said a word, of course, not even those who’d seen what Stevie had done. For a while, Marty darted across the room in a panic, trying desperately to find it. When the bell rang, however, our teacher entered the room and commanded Marty to return to his seat. As he sat there, his face was one of misery, and I could tell he was close to tears.

Only a few minutes later, someone screamed. It was Cindy, and right there on her arm was Marty’s lizard.

“Larry!” Marty called out.

Before he could do anything, Cindy brushed the lizard off her arm, and, in disgust, trampled it.

Marty lost it completely, rushed over and started laying into her for ‘killing his friend.’

It took the combined might of our teacher and three classmates to drag Marty of her. By then, Cindy was crying, had a bleeding nose, and a painfully swollen eye.

Marty got in a lot of trouble for that. He was sent to the principal, got suspended for an entire week, and his parents had to come over for a serious talk. By this point, many of the teachers had noticed Marty’s weird obsession, and not a few of them had grown concerned over it.

When Marty returned to school, everyone had heard about the incident, about Lizard Boy’s freak-out, as they referred to him.

I knew it was Stevie who’d spread the story and came up with the name, and from this day onward, he made it a sport to tease Marty.

What started out as name-calling and silly jokes soon turned into full on bullying.

People would dump dead lizards into Marty’s backpack. He’d get beaten up after school. At one point, he was even forced to come to school in his stupid lizard costume and crawl through the hallways on all fours.

It was nasty. Yet Marty never stopped talking about lizards. I just didn’t get it.

One day, on my way home, I walked up to him.

“Why don’t you just stop it with the lizard stuff already?” I asked.

Marty turned around, and for a few seconds, he just stared at me with wide eyes, as if I’d insulted him. Then he beamed at me.

“No way, Andy, lizards are just way too cool!” he answered.

“See, that’s why everyone’s making fun of you!”

“I don’t really mind.”

“You don’t mind being bullied or beaten up?”

For a second, I could see his smile waver. Then it returned, and whatever thought had come to his mind vanished again.

“Hey, Andy, you want to see something super cool?”

“What is it?”

I was about to ask him if this was about lizards again, but before I could, he leaned in close, bringing up his face in front of mine. His expression was serious, conspiratorial even.

“If I show you, you’ve got to promise me not to tell anyone!”

I sighed, but then nodded. To be honest, I felt bad for him.

“Yeah, sure, Marty,” I mumbled.

“All right, but we got to go somewhere first!”

With that, Marty turned around and hurried to the nearby grocery store. Not knowing what else to do, I set out after him.

Once I was inside, I saw Marty rush through the aisles, using his heavy frame to push other customers aside. Here and there, I heard curses, or someone calling after him to watch it, but Marty was indifferent to it all. When I’d caught up to him, I found him standing in front of the meat aisle. For a few moments, he studied the various packages before he picked on and headed for the counter.

“Why are you getting-?” I started, but didn’t get to finish the question.

Marty stared at me with wide eyes, and put a finger over his lips, as if whatever he was doing was a secret.

Once we’d left the store, he didn’t head home. Instead, he turned in a different direction.

“Come on, Andy,” he whispered to me.

“Where are we even going?”

Once more, he shushed me. As we walked on, he tried his best to hide his heavy frame, trying not to be seen. His eyes darted here and there, watching his surroundings until we’d made it to a building at the edge of town. When Marty saw no one was around, he dashed towards a path that led to the forest next to our town.

“Hey, Marty, just tell me where we’re going!”

“It’s somewhere super cool!”

“Yeah, but what is it? Why’d you get the meat? Is it for a cat or something?”

I reasoned he might have befriended a stray, or maybe a bunch of them, and had gotten the meat for them.

“Not, it’s for the lizards!” he finally answered in an almost giddy voice.

I stopped and stared at him. Of course, this was about freaking lizards.

“Are you serious?”

He began nodding vehemently, his face full of enthusiasm.

“Yeah! Don’t you want to see them? They are, like, super cool! I found this nest out in the forest, and they look awesome! Their colors change all the time, and they are different from any other lizards. It’s like a new species or something. Come on, Andy, I bet they are hungry already and there’s probably even more of them now! I wonder if there’s even bigger ones, you know? That would be so freaking cool!”

“I should’ve known this was about lizards again.”

“Well, yeah, but they aren’t just-“

“No, Marty, I don’t care! I don’t give a shit about your stupid lizards!”

With that, I turned around and stormed off. I couldn’t believe it, but to be honest, I shouldn’t have expected anything else.

After that day, I really had enough of Marty, and soon I joined into the various jokes about him.

“Yeah, he’s probably part lizard himself,” I said to one of my friends, Tommy, as we stood in front of our lockers a few days later.

“I bet his parents are reptilians! That’s why they got so much money,” Tommy added.

We both started laughing.

“You know what he told me the other day? He said he’d found this weird lizard nest in the forest and-“

“What’s that about a lizard nest?”

It was Stevie, with his friend Connor in tow. In an instant, they pushed Tommy aside and cornered me.

“Oh, eh, hey Stevie,” I mumbled. “Lizard Boy told me he found this nest out in the forest and went to feed them or something.”

Stevie’s face distorted into a grin.

“You hear that?” he asked, turning to Connor.

“Bet he isn’t just feeding them though,” Connor brought out, laughing. “He’s a lizard lover, after all.”

I sighed. As much as I was sick of Marty’s shit, I couldn’t stand the two of them.

“So, where is it?”

“No clue, somewhere in the forest, I guess.”

With that, I tried to push myself past them, but Stevie pulled me back instantly.

“Yeah, but he showed it to you, right?”

“No, he did not. I didn’t want to see his stupid lizards.”

“You sticking up for Lizard Boy?” Connor barked at me.

“What? No, I-“

“Yeah, are you a lizard, too, Andy?” Stevie laid into me.

“Fuck off,” I yelled at him, which promptly landed me in a headlock.

“You know, Andy,” Stevie started. “Ever since Lizard Boy’s been skipping out on us, we’ve gotten really bored. Maybe we’ll start hanging out with you instead. How about that?”

“Fine! I’ll show you where he entered the stupid forest, but I swear, I’ve got no idea where the stupid nest is! I think he always goes there right after school, so if you wait for him-“

“Oh no, Andy, you’re coming, too. In case you’re lying to us.”

“Yeah, to make sure you aren’t a lizard,” Connor added, laughing.

And so, once classes had ended, I found the two of them already waiting for me.

“There he is! Are you excited about our little lizard hunt, Andy?”

Once more, I sighed, but gave him a nod, not wanting to end up in another headlock.

Marty was already gone, and had snuck out of school via the back entrance, like he so often did these days. He was probably on his way to the store already.

Instead of leading Stevie and Connor there, however, I showed them the path from which Marty had entered the forest. For long minutes, we lay in wait, hidden between the bushes, but Marty was nowhere to be seen. I could tell Stevie was growing restless, angry even.

“Where the hell is he? If you’re lying to us, I’m going to beat the shit out of you, Andy!”

“I don’t know. Maybe he’s still at the store. Or maybe he’s not coming today. How the hell’d I know?”

Right away, Connor slapped me across the back of the head. I cursed in pain and glared at him.

“What’s that? You want to pick a fight?”

“Shut up, idiots! There he is!” Stevie suddenly whispered.

He was right.

Just like the day before, Marty hurried down the street, his eyes darting here and there, trying his best to stay hidden behind buildings. Then he’d made it to the dirt path and went on his way into the forest. As he walked past us, I saw how giddy with excitement he was.

For a while longer, we sat there. Then we set out after him, carefully not to be seen.

We walked for what must’ve been almost half an hour before he stopped in front of a small rock formation. For long seconds, he just stood there, but then he found what he’d been looking for: a small gap between the rocks. We watched as he approached it, and then, grunting, pushed himself through.

When we’d reached the gap as well, we saw how he approached some sort of crevice. He put down his backpack and then set down as well. He rummaged through his backpack before he pulled out a pack of meat. Then he opened it and threw piece after piece down the crevice.

“You’ve gotten really hungry, haven’t you?” Marty asked, giggling.

Right away, Stevie pushed me forward, motioning for the gap. Once I was through, he and Connor followed.

“Well, what do we have here?” Stevie brought out in a sing-song voice with a big grin on his face. “If it isn’t little Lizard Boy!”

Marty froze. Then, slowly, he turned around, his eyes wide with fear.

He opened his mouth to say something, but closed it again when he saw me standing behind Stevie and Connor. I could see the shock on his face at my betrayal.

I instantly looked away and shuffled around as Stevie and Connor approached him.

“We’ve missed you, Lizard Boy. Why didn’t you tell us about this place? I mean, we’re friends, aren’t we?”

“What do you want, Stevie?” Marty asked in a meek voice.

“What was that? Why don’t you speak up Lizard Boy?” Stevie yelled at him.

“Yeah, speak up, you stupid lizard!” Connor added.

“Stop screaming, you’re scaring them!” Marty suddenly brought out, in a voice much louder than anyone would’ve expected.

This outburst landed him a punch from Stevie, and he went down.

“Now let’s have a look at those stupid lizards,” Stevie said, pushing himself past Marty.

When he reached the crevice, however, an expression of disgust came over his face.

“The hell are those?” he spat.

“Leave them alone!” Marty called out, trying to get up.

By now, however, Connor had reached him and pushed him down again, restraining him.

Stevie still hadn’t moved, and driven by curiosity, I stepped up to the crevice as well.

What I saw down there were lizards, all right, but they were much bigger than those I’d seen in Marty’s terrarium.

They were strange whitish things, but I could see their scales shimmer in the light, their color slightly shifting as if they were cheap imitations of chameleons. Their heads, too, looked different. It was their eyes, I realized after a brief moment. They were in the wrong place, not at the side, but at the front of their heads. The strangest thing about them, however, was the way they moved. They weren’t so much slithering over the ground, but crawling.

I watched in fascination as one of them reached a chunk of meat. Instead of biting into it, it tore at it with one of its clawed feet. Feet that almost resembled miniature hands.

I shivered as I stared at the creatures down there. What the hell had Marty found out here?

“Those things are disgusting,” Stevie finally said.

I didn’t like him. Hell, I hated him for dragging me out here, but he had a point.

“They not disgusting! They are awesome!” Marty blurted out.

Stevie turned around, now grinning again.

“Oh, you think so, Lizard Boy? Then why don’t you go down there and play with them?”

“I can’t! They’ll get scared and run away and never come back!”

“Is that so?” Stevie asked, getting a hold of Marty’s backpack.

“Well, that’s too bad. I guess you can’t get this back then.”

With that, he threw Marty’s backpack down into the crevice. The lizards scattered and fled back to a cave at the end of the crevice, watching the backpack wearily. Then they slowly approached it.

“No, why’d you do that?” Marty called out. “If they smell humans, they might hide and never come out again!”

“What are you going to do about it, Lizard Boy?”

In an onset of anger, Marty freed himself from Connor, pushed him aside, and rushed Stevie. Before Stevie could react, Marty threw himself at him, and with surprising strength, pushed him away from the crevice and the lizards below. Stevie stumbled back a few steps before he tripped and crashed to the floor. I could hear him curse up in pain.

“You shouldn’t have done that, Lizard Boy,” he spat as he pushed himself back up.

Stevie was furious now, and I could see the mad grin on his face. In an instant, he was back in front of Marty and began laying down on him. Marty raised his arms to protect himself from Stevie’s onslaught, but I saw him backing away. He took one step, then another, and finally tripped over a rock.

Marty tumbled backward, lost his footing, and a moment later, he was gone.

Everything was quiet. The only audible sound was that of the lizards below us.

Then I heard a thump as Marty landed right between them. The strangest of sounds reached my ears. It sounded almost like a dull ‘uff,’ but also entirely different.

With weak, shaking legs, all three of us stepped forward. Marty lay on the ground, down in the crevice, not moving.

Suddenly, his eyes fluttered open, and he stared up at us with a pleading expression, which was quickly replaced by rage. He moved, was about to push himself up, but then he fell down again. His eyes fall shut, his face went limp, and I watched as a small trickle of blood ran from his mouth.

“Fuck!” Stevie brought out.

Then he and Connor turned around, dashed towards the gap, and were gone a second later.

“M-Marty?” I called out.

No answer. His eyes didn’t flutter open. He didn’t move. All I saw were those strange lizards which began circling him.

As I stared at him down there, panic washed over me. Oh god, he was dead. Marty was dead. He’d fallen and now…

Not knowing what else to do, I ran. I was scared, confused, but most of all, I felt guilty.

I thought about telling someone, to call for help. Yet I was the one who’d brought Stevie there. I was the one responsible. It was my fault. It was all my fault!

The moment I’d made it home, I locked myself in my room. I was out of it, shaking, couldn’t sit still. I tried to tell myself Marty was all right. It wasn’t that big a fall. Sure, he’d probably gotten hurt, but it wasn’t like he’d die from something like that!

When my parents called me down for dinner, I just sat there, at the table, not moving. I ate nothing, I couldn’t. After only a few minutes, I got up and went back to my room, ignoring my parents as they called after me.

I didn’t sleep that night. I just lay in bed as Marty’s fall replayed in front of my eyes. Once more, I saw him staring up at us, saw his pleading expression, his anger, and then the blood trickling from his mouth.

Still, I told myself, he was probably all right, he had to be.

All those thoughts were crushed when Marty’s seat remained empty the next day.

After school, I found myself cornered by Stevie and Connor. They, too, were out of it. But then Stevie threatened me.

“You keep your mouth shut Andy, or I swear…”

I saw him reach into his pocket, saw the switchblade he was hiding there.

“I promise, Stevie, I won’t say anything!”

“Good, and anyway, we’d just tell everyone it was you who pushed him!”

With that, the two of them left me behind, more scared than ever.

The day after, Marty didn’t show up either. By the third day, our teacher told us Marty had gone missing. She appealed to us to come forward if we knew where he might have gone or what might have happened to him.

When I heard this, I looked up, but noticed Stevie staring me down. And so, I didn’t say a thing, never did.

A few days later, Stevie approached me again and pushed me against my locker. He was angry, but I also noticed how tired and restless he looked.

“Was it you!?”

“No, I swear, I didn’t say a thing! Why’d you think-“

“What? No, not that! I’m talking about last night! You were at my window, weren’t you? Making these weird sounds, scratching over the class and acting like some freaking lizard!”

Before I could say anything, he pushed me against the locker once more, this time harder.

“Admit it, Andy! Tell me it was you, for fuck’s sake!”

“No! Why’d I…? What the hell are you even talking about?”

For a few more seconds, he seemed to probe me, but then let me go and stormed off. As he did, I could hear him curse under his breath.

I just stared after him. What the hell was he talking about? Then I thought about Marty, about his hateful expression.

What if he’d been okay after all, but hadn’t gone home? What if he’d stayed there in the forest with these weird lizards and was now coming after Stevie? No, coming after all three of us.

I told myself I was being stupid. If he’d been okay, he’d just gone home. It was freaking Marty we were talking about!

But then, about a week after Marty’s fall, Stevie didn’t show up to school.

It was Connor who told me what had happened. The night before, Stevie had sent him a message, telling him that someone had been stalking his house for the past few days. Eventually, when he saw a figure standing at his window, he’d had enough. He wrote he was going to finish Lizard Boy for good. It was the last thing anyone ever heard from him.

“What if it really is freaking Lizard Boy?” Connor asked. “What if he’s really come back and-?”

“We’re talking about Marty here!” I countered.

“Yeah, but then, who else could it be? Why’d they come after Stevie? No one else knows what we did!”

I just stared at him, not sure what to say.

“Fucking hell,” Connor spat at me, and hurried away.

Three days later, Connor was gone, too. His story, however, was different. He hadn’t just vanished. Apparently, someone had broken into his room in the middle of the night. When his parents were awoken by the noise, they stormed into his room. They found the window destroyed, the room in a state of utter chaos. Yet no hint of Connor or the intruder remained.

At this point, the disappearances caused an uproar in town. Three kids had gone missing, had presumably been kidnapped.

School was cancelled, a state of emergency was declared, and curfews were enacted.

They question all of us. Yet somehow, I didn’t come clean. I couldn’t I was too scared to say anything, to admit what we’d done. I felt guilty. If I’d said something earlier, but now…

Before long, a search was started. First by the police, but soon, many of the townspeople joined in. They found nothing.

I grew detached during these days, reclusive and retreated to my room. I was riddled with guilt, but more so, I was afraid. What if it really was Marty? What if he’d really come for them, and was now coming for me as well?

By this point, my fear had grown irrational and had transformed him into some sort of lizard hybrid. In my mind, he was a slithering, scaly monstrosity, just waiting for me to be alone so he could come and drag me away.

Before long, more people went missing. Two more kids were snatched from their homes, as they referred to it. Two kids, who, like me, had taken part in tormenting Marty. Then it was our biology teacher, Mrs. Grantle.

Eventually, even the search parties weren’t safe from Marty’s wrath. One day, eleven men set out in another search of the forest. Amongst them the fathers of Stevie and Connor. Come evening, only seven of them returned. The rest should stay missing.

Tonight, as so many times before, I lay in bed, not able to sleep. It was long past midnight when I heard something from outside. I told myself it was just the wind, repeated it over and over again. Yet the lie didn’t work. The sounds were too loud, almost like footsteps echoing from below my second-story window.

Oh god, I thought, it was Marty. He’d finally come for me!

At first, I wanted to hide, but then I went up to the window. Maybe, just maybe, I could reconcile with him, apologize and tell him to stop this crazy revenge of his.

“Marty, I’m sorry, I didn’t-“ I called out, half-crying.

Then my voice trailed off. In the dim light of the room, I could see a figure below my window. It stared up at me with cold, reptilian eyes.

Yet whoever or whatever this figure was, it was much too big for even Marty, much too scaly. Its skin was strangely white, but then, it seemed to change, to adapt to the dim light from my window.

I saw clawed, scaly hands, and a long reptilian head. The creature opened its mouth, releasing a screech before it began scaling the wall.

I screamed and scrambled back from the window. At that moment, lights went on all over the house. I heard the creature hiss, heard it let go of the wall, and watched as it slithered away into the darkness of the night.

I just sat there, on the floor, staring out the window in sheer and utter horror. When parents came into the room, asking me what was wrong, what had happened, I wasn’t able to say anything.

Marty’s words as he spoke to the strange lizards in the forest reverberated inside my mind.

“You’ve gotten so hungry, haven’t you?”

And then, another thing he’d said came to my mind.

“I wonder if there’s even bigger ones, you know? That would be so freaking cool!”

Oh god, I realized. I had it all wrong. It wasn’t Marty, it never had been.

I don’t know what Marty had discovered out there. I don’t know what those things are, but I know they aren’t just lizards.

After Marty fell, after he’d died, they’d gotten their first taste and they must’ve realized there’s more of us.

And now, they are coming for us, for all of us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

RehnWriter Newsletter