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.