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.

Screeeeeeeeeee

“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 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Cath – http://blog.cathsmith.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Diana Rajchel – http://blog.dianarajchel.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Alynza – http://www.alynzasmith.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
dolores haze – http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
leahzero – http://www.leahraeder.com/words (link to this month’s post)
AbielleRose – http://stainedglassinthenight.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
pezie – http://www.erinbrambilla.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
MysteryRiter – http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Inkstrokes – http://drlong67.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
AuburnAssassin – YOU ARE HERE
Alpha Echo – http://writersramblings81.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
robieae – http://thepondsofhappenstance.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
JSSchley – http://www.jessicaschley.com/ (link to this month’s post)
spacejock2 – http://halspacejock.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Madelein.Eirwen – http://madeleineirwen.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)

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I Killed My Main Characters…

It wasn’t my idea but a fellow AW’er posted a challenge in the flash fiction section–“kill off one of your NaNo characters”.  Well, I killed off both of my main characters in a mere 979 words.  Here are Shelby and Colin’s last fictional moments, at least in this one alternate universe:

The Last Kiss

Shelby examined her fingernails thinking she was due for a fill. It had been at least four weeks since she’d last had one and the gap between the acrylic and her own nail bed yawned at her like a chasm. She called her salon to see if they could squeeze her in before her date that night.

“Harry, hi it’s Shelby. …Yeah, it’s been a while. You got anything open today? …I’d prefer you. …Who’s that? Someone new? …What’s her name? …Tiffany. Okay, well go ahead and put me down for Tiffany at five then. See ya.”

With an hour to kill before her appointment, she decided to leave early and go to the video rental shop near her salon. The Last Kiss had just come out on dvd and she’d been pining to watch it. Scanning the store’s shelves, she asked herself the same question she asked every visit, ‘would it be in the T’s or in the L’s?’. Checking the L’s first, she came up empty handed which only made her grumble at the lunacy of filing movies beginning with the word “The” under ‘T’.

Finding no copies left, she walked to the front to look on the recent returns cart. As she made her way, another woman dovetailed into her path and they arrived simultaneously. Shelby eyed the woman suspiciously for a moment before launching into her search. The woman was tiny and Asian with black as midnight hair and cold soulless eyes. She appeared to be about forty and was no taller than five feet.

They both picked and pawed and maneuvered through the dvd’s.

“Aha!” cried Shelby as her fingers laid claim to a copy of The Last Kiss.

But it wouldn’t budge because the woman had grasped the bottom end. A tug of war ensued with the two women scowling at each other.

“I saw it first,” Shelby said as she jerked the dvd box sharply.

“No. You lie. I saw first,” the woman said in choppy English, a look of grim determination on her face.

With a final jerk followed by a spin to leverage her body into the movement, Shelby wrestled the dvd away from the woman. She grinned in triumph and said, “Sorry. I hope you find another copy,” then ran to the checkout to rent it so she wouldn’t be late for her appointment.

When Shelby walked into the salon, her dvd clutched in her hands, she checked in with Harry at the front desk.

“Hi Shelby. Tiffany just got back from her break and she’s ready to take you now.” He directed her to the back of the salon and indicated which chair Shelby should take. Shelby sat with her selected polish color in hand and waited for her nail tech to return to her work station and get started.

“Hello. I’m Tiffany,” the woman said as she sat down. It was the woman from the video store.

Crap, thought Shelby. “Oh, hey, I hope there are no hard feelings about the dvd back there.”

Tiffany waved a hand as if to say ‘no worries’ then reached for Shelby’s right hand. She tut-tutted as she took in the delinquent state of Shelby’s nail maintenance but began sanding down the margins. The woman was rougher than Shelby was used to being treated but she really needed the fill and figured she was due a few karmic pokes.

“I have special new gel I use. Last longer and not as thick. You want to try it?” Tiffany asked.

“How much?”

“Same price as regular.”

“Okay, let’s give it a go,” Shelby said agreeably.

For the next thirty minutes, Tiffany worked silently, completing all the usual steps of a routine fill. She painted Shelby’s nails a deep dark burgundy color, the color of blood.

Shelby admired the woman’s work when she was done and tipped her generously.

“Thanks, Tiffany. You did a great job,” she exclaimed as she rose to leave.

“You good customer. You come back and ask for me next time okay?” Tiffany said with a big grin on her face.

Shelby zipped home and started dinner for her and her boyfriend. She admired her burgundy nails as her hands flew through the motions of prepping the vegetables, flattening the chicken breasts and uncorking the wine. The evening was going perfectly so far. Colin would be over soon, they’d have a nice dinner, then cuddle up on her sofa and watch the dvd she’d rented.

When the doorbell rang, Shelby moved to answer it. She still wore her apron and a layer of flour covered her hair and face. Laughing at her disheveled state, she opened the door to greet Colin.

“Well, hey there handsome,” she exclaimed as she leaned in to kiss him. “I’ve got a special treat for you right here.” She whipped out the butcher knife from behind her back and in a swift upward motion, slashed his throat.

Blood spurted in her face then gushed out in a torrent, through his ashen fingers,  down his arms and on the front of his shirt.  His eyes regarded her with bewildered horror.  A sickening gurgling sound came instead of his breath.

Shelby couldn’t will herself to do anything but watch until Colin dropped to the floor, the last trickles of his life seeking refuge in her carpet.  She didn’t know why she had done it, only that she’d been compelled by a force other than her own will.  It now commanded her arm to rotate and turn the blade inward.  In a flash, her arm jerked and she gasped when the blade pierced her heart.  “No,” she cried as her eyes widened from the shock and penetrating pain.  The floor rose up to meet her as she collapsed with a crumpling thud.

As she lay there next to Colin, she saw the dvd lying on the floor where she’d casually tossed it and her purse when she got home. The Last Kiss. On the cover was a crime scene photograph of her apartment. She and Colin lay side by side on the floor outlined in chalk. The text at the bottom of the dvd’s case said, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” She took a last look at her nails, the blood on her hands a perfect match, before everything faded to black.