Monday, September 3, 2018

The Consumption ~ A Short Dark Fiction

The heat grows stifling. Personnel is the only room that seems to actively make life harder. I rejoice when the air conditioning kicks up again; the gentle breeze caresses my sweaty skin and slowly dries the surface like a desert. I fully expect my body to start cracking at any moment, but for now I enjoy the in-between. My mind is calmed, and for a few moments, the computer doesn't talk to me anymore. It normally gives me commands each day, growing harsher and more demanding with each utterance, but when the voices are finally silent, peace reigns.

Then comes the boredom, and it's nearly impossible to stay awake. Something's pushing my eyelids closed with the weight of an anvil, growing stronger the more I fight, and yet I know I can't sleep lest I be terminated. The lack of sleep brings me to the edge of mental breakdown; I just want to walk out.

The temperature starts to rise again. I grow increasingly agitated. My phone, my only object to the outside world, shouts at me, wanting to know, "What the hell are you waiting for?"

"Yes, I hate my job," I admittedly whisper to the screen, hoping no one else hears and thinks I'm insane, "but I don't know how to get out. It's maddening!"

The voice from my device reminds me, You know exactly what to do.

The plastic of the computer now melts down, sticking to my desk and hands. The people around me don't notice the black residue seeping into my veins. My arms turn black as the blood grows dim, and my heart pounds my chest into even more darkness. I panic and beat the walls, alarming my coworkers. 

The store manager hears the commotion and bursts in, restraining me in her strongest bear hug. What was once the head of my affliction now becomes my advocate, but the goo robs her blood stream of its independence as well. She becomes infected, eventually as outraged as me. Soon, she can no longer stand the illness either. The walls flood with the substance and everyone around runs for their lives; the manager and I are stuck to the concrete floor. Now she hates it here as much as I do. The stress and anger reach their breaking points as we can no longer stand the thought of another day's imprisonment. Suicide becomes a preferable alternative.

But when one's life is in danger, all things are possible. We muster the strength to break ourselves free and make a dash for the door, but my manager paid with a broken ankle. The mucus also pulls and slows us down as it leaves our bodies with each step. Harder and harder it tries to jerk us back. It has become so interconnected that we aren't even sure if we want to leave it behind. It's part of us, something we don't think we can live without.

She turns to go back as we reach the exit. Before I can grab her hand, she is gone, taken into the cocoon of nothingness. The blackness now calls to me, offering its hand a little gentler this time. But now, I slap it out of the way.

The End.

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