Just a moment
He sunk back into the lounge. He just needed a moment. The room felt hard and heavy. Timothy’s heart pounded tightly in the distance, and it felt as though everything was moving forwards and backwards at the same time. He could see it all from every angle, but he couldn’t change any of it. He could barely breathe. He knew in another instant the illusion would be shattered. Time would restart and the world would click back into place and he would be able to breathe again. But for now he hung there in an endless moment, suffocating in it all.
I remember once watching a video about a woman infested with maggots. Botfly larvae had scratched and wriggled their way into her upper arm and made themselves at home right under her skin. The bites were almost invisible at first, but the larvae kept growing and eating her flesh, and the spots on her skin soon became red and infected as she kept scratching, scratching, scratching. Finally, driven mad by the constant itching, the woman had gone to see a doctor. The charming little dermatologist had injected each of the bites with some sort of liquid and soon, pop! Pop, pop, pop! Maggots started bursting out of her skin and into the small stainless steel tray held by the doctor, pus disgorging from the cavities left in her flesh. By the end nearly two dozen greedy parasites lay squirming in the tray. The woman had fainted. The video ended with the doctor holding up one of the maggots to the camera, before crushing it between her fingers.
Why I like horror movies
When I was a child, I used to get in a lot of fights. As a fresh-faced five year old on my first day of school, I was almost expelled for fighting with another boy. I left a permanent scar on his check where I had tried to gouge his eye with my thumb. A few years later, I stuck a stick in the front wheel of another boy’s bike, causing it to jackknife and catapult him over the handlebars. The whole left side of his body was red-raw from where he had crayoned against the asphalt, but no permanent damage this time. That same year, I punched another boy in the back of the head while playing soccer.
The Bogey Hole
I don’t know what brought me to the bogey hole that day. The sky was overcast and a cold south-easterly had been spitting sharp little beads all morning. Not the typical sort of day you’d walk thirty minutes to take a dip. But I grabbed my towel and started the hike in that aimless sort of way you sometimes do, without paying much mind to the weather.
The secret to happiness, Geoff figured, was acceptance. There were things in life that couldn’t be helped, so you just had to accept them. A perfect life was impossible - if you even made it to “not bad”, well, you were beating the odds. And, as he saw it, he was definitely beating the odds.
Folie de l’âge
Noah had been watching his sister when it happened. He had been dreading it for weeks. She had been sitting at her terminal, trying to work like everything was normal. They had both been exhausted. She lent back and closed her eyes, just for a moment, just like she had done a dozen times that day. Only this time she didn’t open her eyes. She’d caught it. She was in the Dream.
There were three ways a spacer could get planetside. First, win the lottery. Each week, one lucky ticket holder was given a choice: ten million credits, or a single seven-day planetside visa. Most chose the credits. There were nearly five billion spacers, and every one of them bought their weekly ticket. Aria knew it was impossible to win. She bought her ticket every week.
Every Thursday morning there was a stampede to the assembly hall. The Thursday assembly was always long and boring, and if you didn’t get in quick to claim a chair you had to endure it on the hot, hardwood floor.
The Lotus Effect
It began as he was driving home. It was the first time Chris had been back to the town in three years. He was driving along the familiar streets towards his father’s house when suddenly he began to feel uneasy. At first it was just a minor annoyance; a flickering shadow in his peripheral vision. But as he got closer to home memories shimmered over reality, and the town began to seem surreal and oddly distorted. A building that had always been just there, on his right, was now gone. On some streets traffic lights had grown in his absence. One entire block had been devoured by a new car dealership, with a giant inflatable bull out front.
Into the Weirding
The girl knelt down and pressed her hand into the earth. It was cold and damp, the soil and forest detritus clinging to her fingers. She was barefoot. It wasn’t vital for what was to come, but it made it easier. She closed her eyes, breathed out slowly, and stepped back into herself. The girl disappeared from the forest, the only sign that she had ever been there was her icy breath, already crawling into nothing in the still night air.
Duncan kept his office orderly. His desk was as ascetic as he could make it. It’s only occupants were a monitor, a mouse, a keyboard, and a coaster for his coffee. Beneath his desk was a small cabinet with two drawers. Pens, a notebook, and other stationery sundries were kept in the top drawer, while the bottom housed copies of his qualifications, insurance documents, and the handful of workplace policies that he had never looked at but felt he probably shouldn’t throw away. A bookcase nestled along one wall. The middle shelf contained several photos of his family, and the rest an annually-reviewed list of reference material. The books were ordered alphabetically by author. Even he thought that was a bit much, but he hadn’t been able to resist.
The Chocolate Cake Incident
Oliver could feel the glare of the lights that riveted the ceiling burning into his skin. There was no escape - the walls were painted a scalding white, and everywhere you looked the light glowered back at you. When he left the room — hopefully soon, but probably not — he would be blinking away silhouettes for at least half an hour.