Snot

My eyes are itchy, my nose is bunged up and I’m forever sneezing. Don’t get me wrong – I love summer. I’m just sick of hay-fever. Judging by the amount of red eyes and sniffing everyone in the office is also suffering.

The weather forecast last night reported that there would be even higher pollen counts. I’ve stockpiled a load of nose spray. I’ll be fine.

Another day over, another bucket of snot. The office was half empty today. Several called in sick, but some we didn’t hear from. They didn’t reply to their emails either.

When I got home I had a crazy sneezing fit. I hawked up a great glob of snot. That was not bad. What was bad was the creature squirming inside. It looked like a foetus or a shrimp. I flushed it down the toilet before puking. Maybe I was mistaken. I mean, that makes no sense, right? My skin still crawls thinking about it.

Waking up this morning, I couldn’t breathe. My nose was totally blocked. I didn’t sleep well either. Dreams of that snot-thing kept waking me. I tried to call in sick, but no-one picked up so I just sent an email.

I sneezed out another one of those things. Don’t ask me why, but I’ve put it in a jar. I guess I wanted to prove I’m not going crazy. The thing flopped about pathetically until I filled the jar with water. Now it’s swimming around. It looks a bit like one of those sea monkeys. You know, the ones that look cute on the picture but are just fleas or something? I wonder if I should feed it. It comes to the jar wall when I tap it.

The weather forecast says the pollen count tomorrow is going to reach record levels. I’ve ran out of nose-spray, and my nose is locked solid with mucus. Every time I blow it another creature slithers out. I know it’s not normal but that’s what happens. I’ve been putting them in the jar with the first one but it eats them, growing rapidly. As it grows “it” is becoming a “she”, and she is beautiful.

This morning I was woken by a smashing sound. She had somehow fallen off the shelf, shattering her jar. As I came into the kitchen she sat in a puddle of broken glass and water, pleading at me with those gorgeous eyes.

There was no weather forecast today, only static from the radio. I’ve not seen or heard from anyone in a while. It’s just her and me. She continues to grow so I’ve moved her into the bath. When I touch the water, she sends visions of a place that is not on Earth. It’s the most beautiful, relaxing place I’ve ever seen. Unknown stars swirl in an indigo sky and all around is warm blue water. It’s just her and me forever.

She keeps inviting me to get into the bath. Tonight I’ll join her.

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Cheese

Scott loved food but what he loved more were food markets. Every weekend, multi-coloured stalls descended on the town, selling their wares and Scott spent happy hours drifting around, sampling various goods.

That weekend one particular stall was attracting more than its fair share of customers. Scott ambled over to see what all the fuss was. Cheese. Great balls of cheese of every description, wrapped in different shades of wax. More importantly, free samples were being given out to all and sundry. Scott helped himself to a good selection of pungent offerings, and shuffled home, more than pleased with his haul.

That night he decided to try one of the samples. A beautiful, marbled cheese that tasted every bit as delicious as it smelled. Rich, creamy with a delicious after-taste. He treated himself to a few more chunks before bed and that’s when the dreams started.

In it, he was in the middle of town, looking out towards the sea. Other people were there, milling around like it was a large summer party. The air was warm and balmy, pollen floating in the golden sunset. Conversation and laughter smothered everything and everyone was happy.

When Scott awoke, cobwebbed dreams still lingered. He spent the day pottering around, a warm fuzzy feeling from the dream keeping him smiling. That night, he decided to have some more cheese, keen to recreate the dream experience.

Oddly, the dream continued from the previous night. The party had moved closer to the beach.  The golden sunlight was replaced by a calm purple, and the night was cooler. The pollen had morphed into something between maggot and fly which buzzed around people’s heads.

He woke, and the dream was still fresh in his mind. Unlike the day before, he felt troubled. Those maggoty flies made him feel greasy and unclean.

Wanting to claw back the previous dream, Scott tried again with the cheese before bed. Third time round, the dream had moved on even further. A pale moon cast a shadow on the inky black ocean. People were quiet, all facing the moon and standing in the water. Scott stood with them, cool water lapping against his ankles. The flies had changed once again, now more like jellyfish. Scott felt calm and peaceful. He looked at the jellyfish and smiled. He looked around at the others, who were also smiling. As one, they started walking deeper into the sea, water getting colder as they did so. The jellyfish slowly descended, enveloping people’s heads. As people started to go under the water, the jellyfish began pulsating.

Scott walked with the others, under the ocean. The further out they got, the darker it became. In the distance a glow appeared. Like moths, they walked instinctively to the light. As they approached it, the bubbles around their head popped one by one.

Scott never went to another food market. Neither did most the town. Like Scott, they had simply disappeared in the night, never to be seen again.