Resolution. Flash Fiction.

Justine stood in the hallway, she took short, shallow breaths, any attempt to breathe deeply resulted in a coughing fit. The house smelt of damp and rot, of old milk and over it all a heavy stench of stale cigarette smoke. The walls were smoke-stained and rubbish was still strewn about the house. She moved deeper into the house, carefully navigating her way through the crowded hallway, her hip brushed against a wall table and the unsteady stack of papers on it fell to the floor, she ignored it as she moved deeper into the house.

She paused in the kitchen, the linoleum flooring which was once white was now a mottled brown, pots and pans were stacked in the sink, bowls and glasses were on the counters in precarious piles. She glanced at the door to the basement and shuddered, she wouldn’t be looking in there. She turned from the kitchen and made her way back to the hallway, there she climbed the stairs and checked the other rooms. Each room was filled with debris, piles of clothes and food wrappers, stacks of newspapers, unopened boxes of cheap things ordered from infomercials and as always, angel statues stared down at it all from their shelves.

Justine looked into the bedroom then turned and made her way back downstairs. There were no keepsakes she wanted from this place, no reminders. Outside she breathed in the fresh air, then she grabbed the petrol can from the car and she went back inside. She started in the kitchen, first she poured it over the door to the basement, she didn’t want to unlock it. As she splashed it about the kitchen she could hear something moving below, she didn’t stop. Once the kitchen was doused she went upstairs and threw some into the bedrooms, then a trail down the stairs and out the door.

Justine threw the petrol can back into the house, then she took out a box of matches, she carefully lit the petrol trail on fire. She watched as the fire spread into the house then she moved away. She waited, watching the thick black smoke billow into the sky, feeling the heat of the fire against her skin, the roar as it consumed the house. Finally it came, a shrill scream from inside the house, it hurt her ears but Justine waited until it finally stopped, then she turned from the burning building and got into her car. She drove away without looking back, what ever that thing in the basement was it was finally gone and it would never hurt anyone again.

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End of an Era. Flash Fiction.

The crowd stood in silence, the large space was filled with mourners, some carried signs, all wore black. They looked up at the window of the Cathedral and waited, praying for good news, but knowing there was no hope. Inside the woman lay on a large bed, her long golden hair was splayed out around her. Her hair, which once shone with light, had become dull and brassy, her skin was pale, her eyes sunken and dark. Thin wires snaked from her skin and into machines which were monitored by a team of doctors. They stood around the machines, not knowing what to do, there was nothing they could do other than help ease her suffering. A nurse carefully injected something into her IV, she didn’t stir. Over the last year the world had watched as her three brothers and two sisters all succumbed to the same disease, they who had lived for hundreds of thousands of years were dying and there was nothing anyone could do.

The woman opened her eyes slightly, they were milky white instead of the bright, brilliant blue they had been. She called out weakly for her sister, one of the nurses stepped forward and gently gripped her hand. “I’m frightened, the mortals have heaven and hell, but what waits for us on the other side? Do we have our own heaven? Will I be allowed entry?” the nurse didn’t respond, her eyes began to close as she drifted to sleep again, the nurse kept holding her cold hand. A year ago only a few had been allowed touch the gods, those who were deemed worthy enough, since then a parade of doctors and shamans had been through, all trying to find a solution.

The woman let out a soft breath then her body began to collapse in on itself, they watched in silent horror as the last god passed from existence. Finally there was nothing left but the bedsheets and wires. One of the nurses started to cry softly, a doctor went to the window and there he unfurled a giant black flag, the crowd gasped collectively, there was silence for a moment, then the screams started as the crowd cried out as one in grief and horror. Clouds rolled over the sun, casting the world into shade. The gods were dead, they who had done so much for man, they who had slain monsters and fought demons were gone.

Elsewhere, a man stumbled from the depths of a dark cave, squinting against the sudden, harsh brightness, he felt the cool air on his skin, he smelled the sweet scent of the flowers. He stumbled forward, he was not used to walking on two legs, beneath his feet the grass died, nearby a flock of birds took flight, screeching into the sky. The man turned his head in wonder, then he began to laugh, behind him he could hear them, thousands of them, hundreds of thousands, the ground shivered beneath their footsteps. The time of the Gods had ended, now it was their turn.

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Every Year. Flash Fiction.

Jason stood in the centre of the clearing, a faint breeze rustled the leaves of the trees around him. He pulled his jacket a little tighter, it wasn’t a cold day, but it would get colder. Right on time Todd ran into the clearing, he stumbled and tripped over a tree root that was no longer there. As always Jason studied him carefully, everything about him was pale and washed out, like a photograph faded by the sun. Todd rolled over and started scrambling backwards, Jason couldn’t see what he was trying to get away from. Todd’s mouth opened in a scream as a bright red tear was opened along his stomach, more opened on his arm as he tried to shield himself. Jason watched as more and more cuts and scratches appeared. Todd floated into the air, dragged upwards by his arm, his face screwed up in pain. He was thrown partway through the clearing, his body stopping mid-air before collapsing to the ground. Jason had cut down the tree several years ago, hoping it might do something to alleviate his friends suffering. Todd lay on the ground, his chest rising and falling slowly. Jason moved closer and sat beside his friend, reaching out he grabbed Todd’s hand and Jason felt a deep cold move through his body. He could hear Todd whimpering and groaning in pain. Todd looked up at Jason, he frowned faintly, his face stained in blood that was too bright against his skin, it almost looked like paint, “Jason? Where did it go?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be ok, help will be here soon.”
“I didn’t see where it went, it’s still here somewhere, oh god it’s going to kill us both.”
“Just try to stay calm, it isn’t going to get us. I took care of it. Everything will be ok, I promise.”
He sat in the clearing for hours, Todd fell in and out of consciousness, Jason kept promising that help was coming, it would be just a little longer. Finally Todd closed his eyes one last time, then he faded from view leaving nothing but a few streaks of blood on Jason’s hand. Jason stood, his muscles sore and stiff, he shivered despite the sun still shining above. He wiped at the tears that were falling, he felt drained, empty. He had taken care of the creature himself the day it happened, pure dumb luck really. He had been holding a gun and the creature pounced on him, in his surprise Jason accidentally fired, the bullet going directly through the creatures head. It had taken him a while to get out from under it and longer again to find Todd, who had passed away shortly after he arrived.
He came back on the anniversary, not really knowing why, just that he had a strong need to return. The first time Todd had stumbled from the woods he had screamed and then tried to talk to him, Todd was more defined then, not as faded. No matter what he said or did Todd could never see him, not until after he was thrown at the tree. Jason returned every year and would until either he died or Todd faded away completely. So far he had been unable to change things, unable to stop them, he could only watch and then be a comfort to his dying friend.

Jason took one last look around the clearing, it was starting to get dark, “I’ll see you next year.” He turned and started the walk back to the car.

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Daily Enchantment. Short Story.

“Hello little girl, would you like an apple?”
“For the last time Mags, I’m twenty six.”
“What? Shelly? Is that you? My eye sight isn’t what it used to be.”
“Come off it Mags, we all know you’re not blind.”
Mags frowned at her, “Oh Jessica! I thought you sounded familiar. What ever happened to respecting your elders? In my day that would have never been stood for.”
“I’ll start respecting you when you stop trying to kidnap innocent kids.”
“ME? Steal children away!? Never. That sort of stuff is illegal don’t you know.” Mags sniffed then wiped at her nose with one hand, “Besides, you know I’m on the wagon these days.”
“Oh and you were just offering me a snack then, was that it?”
Mags smiled, her face creasing into a thousand wrinkles, “That’s exactly it. I thought you looked a little hungry. Besides, you’re so small someone needs to start feeding you right.”
“I do a pretty good job of that on my own thank you very much.”
Mags arm shot out and grabbed Jessica’s, despite the thin and claw like nature of the old woman’s hand she had an iron grip, “Look at this, all skin and bones, I can fit my hand around your entire arm! That isn’t normal girlie. You need to be eating more.”
“I swear to god Mags, if you don’t let go of my arm right now I’ll go straight to the police.”
Mags dropped her arm and patted it gently, “There there dearie, no need to fret. I was just showing you how thin you were, that’s all.”
“I’m sure.”
Mags smiled at her, revealing stained and blackened teeth, “I’m just concerned over your well being love. You should come around to mine sometime for dinner. I can cook food that’s so good you’ll never want to leave.”
“I’m not going to yours for dinner Mags, when are you going to stop asking?”
“When you say yes. You need to be more friendly to people, be more trusting. The old days are over now, there’s rules, laws. I wouldn’t go around breaking the law, no not me. I know the penalties for that. Drowning, burnt at the stake. No thank you. Besides, you know I was joking before, right? About the apple? Just a little joke between old friends.”
“I wouldn’t call us friends Mags.”
“No? Acquaintances then. After all we have a bit of a chat every day.”
“That’s because you try to lure me off with apples.”
“Oh that’s just an excuse you know? Start up a bit of conversation. Gets a bit lonely here. I mean sure there’s other witches, but those hags can be dreadfully boring. All the old days this and the old days that. Sometimes you just want to give them a slap. And some of the stuff they do be saying, it’s shocking really. Upsets my delicate constitution.” Mags patted her stomach slightly. “I prefer to associate with upstanding individuals like yourself.”
Jessica nodded, “Look Mags, I’ve got to get going.”
“Oh of course, don’t let me keep you. If you want you can have this apple anyway. Eat it on your way home or something.”
Jessica sighed, “I’m fine. Thank you.”
“No, no, I insist.” She pressed the apple into Jessica’s hand. As always it looked impossibly perfect, deep red skin that shone in the light, a faint, mouth-watering scent of apple that promised each bite would be a crisp, juicy delight.
Jessica turned and continued walking, putting the apple in the bin as she passed one by. She shook her head, she’d really have to have a word with the local police about her, kids knew better than to travel through the Witch Haunts, but Mags wasn’t going to give up any time soon. Jessica had sworn she saw Mags hanging about at the edge of the exclusion zone the other day. As it was she was feeling uncomfortable, if it didn’t add on an hour to her walk, she’d just take the long way around. Why couldn’t her walk bring her somewhere nice? Like the Enchanted District, with the talking animals and trees? Or Princess Alley, where you could stop and watch a Princess performing with her animal companions. Jessica sighed, it could be worse, there were plenty of places worse than The Witch Haunts.

“Excuse me?”
“Still not interested Clarence.”
“I’m wounded. Though how did you know what I was going to ask?”
“When have you opened up with anything other than asking me out?”
“Hmm good point. One of these days you’re going to say yes though.”
“I tell you what, why don’t you hold your breath until I do. That’ll solve both of our problems, won’t it?”
Jessica kept walking, Clarence who had been half jogging to keep up fell behind her, Jessica counted down mentally. “BITCH!” She smiled to herself, predictable as ever. Just once she’d like a nice walk home, one where she wasn’t harassed. Oh well, she had been warned about it all before she moved but no, it was all so exciting, and she thought it would all be worth it. She had pictured glistening towers and strong, charming men, not these squat dank buildings and pushy princes. Hell, it wasn’t even like she came from money, though with Clarence anything at all would be a step up. Ousted by his brothers, penniless and alone, not that she could summon much sympathy.

As she approached the café she felt herself tense up a little then relax as she saw Joanna, who was outside clearing away tables, she smiled and waved as Jessica, Jessica smiled and gave a half wave in greeting. It was one of Joanna’s good days, at least going by her glossy black hair. When she got herself worked up it would turn a brilliant white and everyone knew to steer clear.

Jessica let herself into her apartment and dumped her bag on the ground, she moved into the kitchen and looked out the window at the Fairy feeder, tiny glowing lights gently floated around it. Jessica moved closer, they were setting up a few small houses amongst the flowers she had planted, Jessica smiled, maybe she would start having some good luck soon. She opened the window and a fairy flitted inside, Jessica smiled at it, “I’m just going to refill the feeder ok? Any requests?” the fairy shook its head then floated outside. Carefully Jessica refilled the feeder and closed the window again. With that done she turned on the kettle, it was always best that the fairies were outside for that bit, something about the steam seemed to attract them and she didn’t want to have to rush another fairy to the hospital. Luckily they hadn’t blamed her for that one, they could be quite vicious if they were crossed. Jessica filled a mug with hot water, she had a long day and now all she wanted to do was unwind with a bit of TV and a mug of calming tea.

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Every Little Drop. Short Story.

Jane tried to keep herself calm, she wasn’t sure how long she had been awake, but no one had responded to her shouts and she couldn’t wriggle free from the restraints. Her wrists and ankles were bound and a tight strap was across her throat. She had tried to look around the room but it was difficult to see much in the low light, it looked like there were concrete walls all around her. Above her body were thousands of fish hooks, criss-crossing on thin wire. She didn’t know what they were for, it didn’t look like they could be moved up or down, from what she could tell they were immobile. She didn’t know if she should find that reassuring or not. There was no sound in the room, apart from the low sound of her breathing and the lack of windows meant she couldn’t tell if it was night or day. She tried to remember what exactly had happened but the details were fuzzy. Her car had broken down and a man had stopped to offer some help, then she had woken here. Somewhere at the other end of the room she heard the click of a latch and a door opened, the room got a little brighter for a second, then the door was closed and she was plunged into the gloom. That brief flash of light reveal the fish hooks in startling detail, it was almost like a cocoon of them above her, layers and layers.

The man stood over her, it was the man who had stopped to help, he was clean shaven, with bright green eyes and a large smile that she would have described as infectious under other circumstances. He reached out and gently moved a strand of hair from her forehead, “Don’t worry, it’ll all be over soon then you’ll be on your way, you just need to relax and let me do my job.”
“What are you going to do?”
“You’ll see.”
He reached across her and pulled something into view, a ball gag. Jane tried to move her head away, he grabbed her chin and forced her head into position. A sour, plasticky taste filled her mouth, she struggled against her bonds but they held strong. The man muttered to himself as he moved around the room, Jane tried to follow him first by sight then by noise. Occasionally he would cross into her view again before disappearing.

He moved into view above her, she could feel him gently stroking her hair, she tried to move away from it but couldn’t. “I just want you to know that I’m sorry and if there was any other way to do this I’d have done it.”

Jane didn’t see the knife before it slid across her throat, the pain was bright and burning, she struggled against death, against the bonds. Her movements became weaker, she couldn’t breathe, fluid was filling her lungs. With dim horror she realised she was drowning in her own blood. The man kept stroking her hair as she struggled until finally her body lay still. Above them the fish hooks started to jiggle and shake a few were gently tinkling against one another, after a few seconds they settled and lay still. The man moved around Jane’s body and grabbed a metal flask, inside the liquid sloshed and gurgled, he opened the cap on top and brought it to the tip of the lowest hook, all the wires led to this point. He watched as a drop of cloudy liquid formed and he carefully caught it in the flask as it fell. He waited there for half an hour, a total of six drops fell from the hook, he smiled as he twisted the cap on again, she had been a strong one. He gently shook the flask, almost there, maybe a dozen, two at the most and he would finally be finished.

As he dismembered her body, he thanked her over and over, she had been a spur of the moment grab, it had been easy enough, broken car, deserted road. Normally he didn’t go for her kind, those who lived in society, he normally went for the homeless, the hitchhikers, the prostitutes. Those who wouldn’t be missed and if they were, well, no one of importance would care. Sometimes though opportunities like this came along and he wasn’t foolish enough to turn them down. She was the sixth such person, or was it seventh? No. Six. They always gave a little more, she had inadvertently saved the lives of about five other people. Those like her tended to be stronger, they had more to give.

Once the body was disposed of he carefully checked the wires and hooks, for any damage or misalignment, with that fixed he left the room, locking it behind himself.

Upstairs he added a 6 to the long column of numbers in his journal, all totalled he 226, only 24 more to go before the flask was full and that was when the fun would truly start. No one had ever managed to do what he was doing, tearing bits from the soul as it moved onto what ever was next, collecting them all together. There were rumours as to what would happen should someone achieve such a feat, powers like telepathy or mind control, eternal life, becoming a god. Anything was possible and he intended to find out. He itched to go out and grab someone else, he was so close, but he couldn’t afford to be sloppy. Not now. Soon everything would be worth it, all those deaths, all that hardship he had to go through, the searching for those suitable, the moving so he wouldn’t be found out. All that would come to an end, he just needed a little more patience. About one a week for the next six months and he would be finally finished. He didn’t enjoy the killing and he did feel bad for them, but they were giving their lives up for something greater than they could have ever been, something far more noble. He carefully put the journal and flask away, Geena and Frank, his neighbours, were coming over for dinner later and there couldn’t be any traces of his work. He knew some day people would know about it, they’d praise him for his brave and astounding contributions, both to science and the world at large. For now he needed to keep it a secret, but someday the entire world would know his name and tremble.

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Mythic Revival. Short Story.

Jack turned from the observation window, “How far along is he?”
“He’s about two weeks in.”
“Huh, I thought it would be faster.”
“So did we, based on folklore we thought it would be a pretty quick and painful transformation, but based on how he’s progressing we think it takes about a month from infection to the end stages.”
From where he was standing Jack could see deep scratch marks on the door. “What’s with the gouges in the door?”
“He keeps scratching at it, trying to get out. Don’t worry, the door has a steel core, he’s not getting anywhere.”

Jack looked at the man lying on the bed, his back was to them and he couldn’t quite see him. “What kind of changes has he undergone so far?”
“Well, he has had remarkable hair growth all over his body, his nails are becoming thicker and sharper, his teeth have started to fall out and from what we can tell larger, pointed teeth are growing through. He has began to lose his ability to speak, when we started he was able to hold full conversations, now it’s broken, words missing. His metabolism and appetite have increased dramatically, we feed him almost constantly, every hour or so. It seems the more access he has to food the faster the changes come on.”
“And what’s his personality like now?”
“Much more aggressive than before, he will try to attack anyone who makes direct eye contact, he has a shorter temper, if things do not go as he wishes he goes into a rage. I suspect that at the end of the transformation he won’t be able to control the anger anymore.”
“And how useful do you think he would be in a combat situation?”
“Well, we haven’t tested anything like that yet, but I think he would do fairly well. He’s becoming more animalistic and he is currently infectious. As far as we can tell he’s losing the connections he had to friends and family, he no longer recognises photographs of them and has a hard time remembering who they are, even with recordings.”
“So you’re saying he’ll have little to no loyalty.”
“Essentially. I suspect once he is finish transforming he will show no regard towards anyone he once knew.”
“Interesting. How are the other subjects progressing?”
“Why don’t we go have a look and you can see for yourself”

The room she was in was the same as the mans, small, one bed, a small table and a toilet. The woman stood in the centre of the room, her body seeming oddly relaxed, her hospital gown was stained with browns and reds, Jack could see thin scabs criss crossing their way up and down her arms.
“This was a much faster transformation. 48 hours from first infection to total change. Her hearing seems to have increased, though her eye sight seems to be worse. She lost the ability to speak for the most part, occasionally she can get out a word or two but that’s rare. She will only eat raw meat, though she is slow most of the time she can move surprisingly quickly if she wants to. Her intelligence has decreased dramatically and if she isn’t engaged with something everything just seems to shut down. Her nails have grown longer and sharper, and her blood clots astoundingly quickly once it’s exposed to air. I have a theory that she could lose a limb and still be fine, though we haven’t tested that yet, we’re saving it until after we’ve gotten most of the other useful information from her.”
“How’s her temperament?”
“Violent towards anything living. Docile when left alone. Testing has started to become a little difficult, we’ve had to get creative with her.”
“What would happen if we dropped her in the middle of a city?”
“Oh That’s easy, she’d attack and infect anyone she could, the spread of it would be difficult to contain, she seems to register no real pain and will continue until she tires out, which takes a lot longer than it should. She has no recollection of any past life but she does have survival instincts, she will eat and drink. The largest danger is containment. If there is nothing happening she stops, but she’ll continue after a car or an animal until something else gets her attention.”

Jack tapped on the glass, the woman slowly turned around, her hair was stringy and greasy, her eyes had a strange clouded look to them. Her face was completely relaxed, her mouth hung open and a thin strand of drool fell onto her hospital gown. Her skin was a strange mottled grey and purple, making it look like she was heavily bruised in places. Without warning the woman sprinted forward and slammed into the glass, her face twisting and snarling with rage. Jack jumped, the tour guide chuckled, “I’m sorry I should have warned you, she ate not too long ago. She’s always more active after she’s eaten.”
“is there any sure way to keep something like that contained?”
“Not once it’s been released into the wild. We could add trackers to her, but it wouldn’t be much help. The disease seems to kill most other mammals in a few days, they become tired and listless and either starve or die of dehydration, you’d need to contain the area before deployment.”
“What’s the infection rate?”
“It’s high. 99.9% of those attacked will be infected, assuming they survive the attack itself. The goal doesn’t seem to be infection so much as killing and eating. It’s spread through bodily fluids, so a bite or even a scratch could be enough to infect.”

“And finally we have our last patient. Unfortunately he’s nocturnal, so you’re not really going to get much of a show.”
There was a mound on the bed, covered by the thin sheet provided but Jack could just see a sliver of startlingly white skin.
“He’s clever, still remembers most of his old life, doesn’t seem to have any real emotional attachment to it. He eats ordinary food but has cravings for blood. His skin has become pale, almost impossibly so, and his eyes are in an almost permanent state of dilation, his night vision is simply astounding. He’s been compliant with most of our tests, but after an incident the other day I’m now reasonably sure that it is an act to get us to lower our guard.”
“Incident?”
“Did you not read the report we sent?”
“No, I’m afraid I haven’t seen it yet.”
“One of the staff was killed, throat ripped right out before anyone knew what was happening.”
“Did he say why?”
“He said he was hungry and he could see her veins throbbing in her neck and he just lost control.”
“That could be a problem.”
“Yes, he’s also developed a severe allergy to sunlight, being severely burned after only ten seconds of exposure. He is still changing however so we’re not sure what the end result will be.”
“What’s the infection rate?”
“Fifty-fifty. It might take it might not. We don’t know why that is yet. The subject was tested 3 times before the infection actually took, we’re still not sure if the infection adapted to overcome the body or if it’s just particularly delicate, it is quite hard to study.”
“You probably won’t be studying it for too much longer, I don’t see any real use for this type in combat situations.”
The guide shrugged, “Well, you say that now but if you infect a population with it, at least half will become allergic to sunlight and will need to stay indoors during the day.”
Jack nodded, “True, but they’re not going to go out of their way to spread the infection.”
“Not necessarily, they’re quite vicious, as we saw from the recent death, I think that if only one person in a family is infected, that person will spread the infection or simply kill them. Like the other subjects his strength has increased, though unlike them he still retains a good deal of information on who he was. At least so far. Over the last day or two he’s been complaining about forgetting things. Names, dates. Could be a progression of the infection or it could be that he simply forgot. We have had him on a cocktail of drugs since the death to try and keep him contained.”
Jack nodded, “When will we have your next set of reports?”
“Should get them out in another day or two, I just have a couple of tests I want to finish first.”
“Good, be prepared though, once those reports go in they’re going to want to see these guys in action. Either through live or recorded demonstrations.”
The guide nodded, “We’ve already thought of that. We have a few ideas as to who we should use for testing and demonstrations. I’ll include a list with my reports.”
“Who are you recommending?”
“To start no one specific, anyone will do, but I think it would be interesting to see what would happen if you used a family member or two, see how things play out.”
Jack nodded, “Yes, that wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. I can already think of a few applications for the first two.”
“We’re also getting ready to test them in outdoor conditions, see how they survive in the wild.”
“Is that safe?”
“We’re going to pen in an area entirely, keep it stocked with wild animals and water, see how long they last.”
“What about adding a disease or infection? One that would kill them after a week or two?”
“Well we’d need something that is as easily spread and is fatal in order to get them all, I’ll look into it though.”
“Good, I have high hopes about this project.”
“What about the source of the infections? Have you found any more?”
“No, not yet, but I’m sure there will be. The cave system they were found in is vast and difficult to explore, we’ve lost a few people too, but I think we’re going to find a lot of interesting things before we’re done with that place.”

 

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The Outbreak. Flash Fiction.

Ugh. So Tired. Been pretty wrecked the last while, and have had some cramping and stuff, which isn’t exactly fun. I’ve a doctors appointment in a few weeks, so gonna find out what’ll be happening then. In the mean time I’ve to basically avoid most fresh fruit and veg, but I can have pretty much any junk food I want so silver lining and all that!

Yay Crohn’s.

 

____________________________________________________________

 

Dennis stared straight ahead as he walked with slow, steady steps. Occasionally someone would call out to him as he bumped into them, but he didn’t pause or look around. His eyes were slightly unfocused and glazed, his face slack, rain began to fall from the sky, cold heavy drops. Dennis kept walking, not bothering to use the umbrella gripped loosely in his hand. The route was familiar to him, the same one he took home every day and he passed by it all without seeing it.

When he reached his building he entered the door code and continued to the lifts, water dripped from his drenched clothes, leaving small puddles on the tile floor. When the doors opened he stepped inside and pressed the button to the top floor. He rode the elevator in silence, the only noise was his steady breathing. The doors opened and he stepped out into the hall, he turned to the left and opened the door to the stairwell. It didn’t take him long to climb the steps.

The air was cold on the roof and the wind tugged at his clothes. The rain had stopped. Thin grey hairs started to sprout from his skin, each one detached from his skin and caught on the breeze, floating freely. Dennis stepped up onto the edge of the roof and without a pause, stepped off. He didn’t scream as he fell. The thin grey hairs came in larger and larger numbers, a thick cloud of it trailing him.

His body hit the ground with a sickening thud, nearby a woman started screaming. The grey hairs continued to grow, covering his entire body. The woman’s screams started coughing, a few others on the street started coughing too.

Later that night Jennifer sat in her apartment, sipping a glass of wine with still shaking hands. She had told the police everything she had seen and after questioning her for a little bit they had finally let her leave. John was already on his way over, though she hadn’t told him what happened yet. It didn’t seem like something you could say over the phone, even now she wasn’t sure how to bring it up to him. “My day was fine, by the way I saw a guy splattered on the pavement” Didn’t exactly roll off the tongue and then there was that weird thing with the grey stuff that seemed to be coming off his body. The police didn’t say much about that, it seemed like they didn’t know what it was themselves. Jennifer’s head jerked to the side, then she stood and still holding her wine glass, she went towards the door.

Jennifer stood on the ledge of the roof, glass of wine still held in one hand. Thin grey hairs began to appear across her skin, her eyes were glazed, her face slack. A gust of wind caused her to rock back and forth slightly, a cloud of the hairs blew into the night. Jennifer took one step forward and then she was falling.

John yawned as he approached the building, he’d had a stressful day in work, Jacob, his boss, was being a complete dick as usual. He was looking forward to a few drinks and maybe a Chinese, it had been a while since they’d gotten take away rather than cooking. John jumped as he heard a heavy thud to his left, he turned and stared at Jennifer’s body, his eyes widened slightly, his heart was beating heavily, the sound of rushing blood drowned out all other noises, he could feel the vomit rising in the back of his throat, behind him there was another thud, then another.

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