AW Flash Fiction Challenge 1/29 — “Long Time Coming”

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I gave the brain to my YA-writing alter ego, Iris St. Clair, for my return to Absolute Write’s flash fiction challenge after a very long absence.  The challenge was to write a flash fiction story in ninety (90) minutes or less beginning when the theme word(s) was revealed.

“Long time coming” was our theme.  My short story is really more of a bit of back story to a YA novel I began during NaNo.  To read, I’ll need to send you to Iris’s digs.


AW October Blog Chain — “Some Things Dark & Dangerous”

DC Comics' Wonder Woman

Image via Wikipedia (DC Comics Wonder Woman)

This month’s prompt:

Some Things Dark and Dangerous

Choose a word from this list of Lovecraftian words or this list of obscure words (or one from both if you’re feeling ambitious). Use your chosen word(s) to craft your post. It doesn’t have to be Lovecraftian or even horror, but it should be dark, or unsettling, or scary, or Halloweenish in general.

I was preceded in the blog chain by Inkstrokes and will be followed by Alpha Echo.  A complete list of the participants concludes my post.  Give ’em a read!

My Halloween horror follows.  I’ve bolded my obscure word(s) ichor and accursed:

Bubble Tea for you and me

Justin Garvey stared at his reflection in the mirror.  Three new zits brought the grand total on his face to ten. The day before he’d discovered two. A week ago he’d had none.

What was going on?  His face had been as smooth as glass until he’d eaten at that weird diner where the delicacies, to use the term loosely, bore no resemblance to any cuisine he’d ever had before.  Had it not been for Addie’s insistence on trying the trendy new hot spot, “Diana Prince’s Amazonian Kitchen”, he’d have been content with a burger and fries.  Nothing used to break him out.

He leaned in, upper thighs pressed against the bathroom counter, fingers poised to pick and squeeze.  The compulsion to touch and force gunky white geysers from his pores tapped incessantly on his mind’s shoulder. 

His brain chanted the mantra–squeeze it out; purge the pore; pop, pop, pop– like a bad 80’s MTV tune.

When he wasn’t at the mirror, dissecting his skin, his fingers roamed like a blind person’s over Braille.

“You better keep your hands off your face, or you’ll just make it worse.”  Justin’s mother tutted as she stashed a stack of towels in the closet to his left.

He pulled back, and met her eyes in the mirror.  Nervous hands stilled their exploratory excisions and moved to finger comb his hair, his torso vertical, shoulders back.  “Ma!  Go away!”

“I’m just sayin’  The more you pick, the more you’ll get.  You’ll give yourself an infection mashing at those bumps, then you’ll spread the bacteria around.”

Justin released a little ‘pfffft’, and when his critic departed, resumed his ministrations with renewed vigor.

A familiar chime of the cell phone he always carried in his pocket interrupted him.

“Justin!”  His girlfriend, Addie’s breathless statement of his name spiked his anxiety.

“What’s the matter?” He spun and sat on the edge of the bathtub.  A kick of his foot and the door closed him off from the rest of his house with its big ears.

“Something strange has been happening to me.  Ever since we ate at that new restaurant, it’s like I’ve been poisoned or I’m having an allergic reaction.”  Her breaths came in pants, and she released a long, high whine.  “My skin looks like a plucked chicken. So disgusting.  I can’t go out in public. I have to cancel our date.”

Justin stood and marched back to his mirror.  “Okay, calm down a second. You say you broke out after we ate at the Amazon place?”  He leaned in and discovered yet another new pimple.

“Yes!  And it’s spreading!  Fast!  Nothing seems to work!”

“I have it too, so it must be something we ate.  What did we both have?”  He squinted and leaned in to have a better look at his latest visitor.

“Well, there was that white meat stuff and those weird root vegetables.  And that Amazon bubble tea.  We both had that, right?”

Addie’s voice trailed off in his ear as his attention riveted to the pimple.  The edges pulsed, like the tide pushing forward and retreating.  Or was he imagining motion where there was none?  He touched a finger to the top of the whitehead.  Was that a throbbing he felt?

“…I just remember that fugly waitress.  Maybe she spit in our food…”  Addie droned on about the waitress who’d served them.  The pimply-faced, bucktoothed woman also had no sense of humor, and he’d made sure she knew what he thought of her with his nickel tip.

Justin cocked his head to trap the phone between his shoulder and his ear, freeing up both hands.  He surrounded the pimple and pressed on either side of the dome until he felt a slight pop.  Harder he pressed and squeezed until a yellow-white substance extruded like toothpaste with a whispery soft crackle, almost like static.

He expanded the radius of his thumbs and pressed again.  A drop of ichor pooled at the surface and tinged the ricotta-like sludge collecting on his fingertip.

“…never had anything like this happen before…put something poisonous in our food…”

Justin shifted a hip onto the edge of the counter and inched closer to the mirror.  He applied greater pressure, digging his fingernails around and into the margins.

Below the surface of his skin, something crunched and gurgled  then popped out with enough force to splatter his mirror.

“Aww…gross,” he whispered.

“I know!  It is, isn’t it?  I have an appointment with the doctor tomorrow, but my mother says…”

Justin shifted his fingers to a different angle and was rewarded with more popping, and the sensation of something detaching beneath his skin.

He angled his fingers in a new direction and exerted even greater force.

A high pitched, otherworldly scream preceded his own.

Gunk he’d forcibly extracted wrapped around his finger, its volume so plentiful, its texture thicker, more cohesive than the earlier pus and blood.  The ooze extended to his adjoining finger and reared up.  The swaying column stood at least two inches.  He shook his hand, but no motion could topple or dislodge the foul matter.

“What the…?”

The pillar spun in a half turn in front of his face.

Two black dots formed near the top of the column. A slit below the dots formed and opened.


“A worm! Oh my God!”  Justin dropped the phone to the counter and ran to get a tissue to detach the parasite from his hand.

Into the toilet he flung his wiggling bundle of ultra soft Charmin.  The worm’s screams grew louder when it hit the water.  As the tissue absorbed the liquid, the worm twisted and arched…and screamed.  Dear God, would the accursed screaming never stop?

He slammed the lid down and flushed.  The screams died away as the toilet emptied.

Shaking, Justin peered at his reflection.  He ran a finger through the splatter on the mirror, noting the tiny spherical shapes within the ooze.  Eggs….

The zip on his opposite cheek began to pulsate.


Mmm-mmm, dinner anyone?

Participants and posts:
orion_mk3 – (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines – (link to this month’s post)
Cath – (link to this month’s post)
Diana Rajchel – (link to this month’s post)
Alynza – (link to this month’s post)
pyrosama – (link to this month’s post)
dolores haze – (link to this month’s post)
leahzero – (link to this month’s post)
AbielleRose – (link to this month’s post)
pezie – (link to this month’s post)
MysteryRiter – (link to this month’s post)
Inkstrokes – (link to this month’s post)
AuburnAssassin – YOU ARE HERE
Alpha Echo – (link to this month’s post)
robieae – (link to this month’s post)
JSSchley – (link to this month’s post)
spacejock2 – (link to this month’s post)
Madelein.Eirwen – (link to this month’s post)