Dead Flowers and the Drive


This little piece came to me on an uninspiring drive to work

The dead flowers in the vase in dank, dirty water,  caught my eye as I walked past the sitting room that morning, the leaves were brown,  crinkled and crispy. I could’ve sworn they were fresh last night.

I continued out the door on autopilot. As I drove along, I noticed something slimy was stuck to my ear. I picked it off and held it in front of my face,  while trying to keep an eye on the road which was shadowed by the cover of giant,  twisty armed trees. It was a juicy white maggot, I threw it to the floor with a scream, the car swerved on to the other side of the narrow road.

I shrieked and managed to straighten up, thanking some other presence that there were no oncoming cars.  On this dark,  muggy Winter morning, I felt like the only soul in the world awake. I felt that I would never see the brightness of day or feel the sun’s warmth again.

With a loud plop, something dropped on to  the steering wheel.  I looked down just as it hopped to the ground, out of sight. My hearing was slightly muted, my ear seemed blocked,  as if I was underwater . My neck felt sweaty and hot. I reached to the side of my head but I couldn’t feel my ear.

Burning bile surged in my throat, I was going to vomit. I looked for a place to pull in but there was none nearby.  I opened the car window and slowed down. Vomit spurted out like a hot, vile projectile. Chunks of white mess, outside the car, down the inside door, on my clothes, seat belt and window.  I wiped my mouth feeling disgusting. Smaller chunks still lingered in my mouth.

A lay-by ahead caught my eye. I turned in, stopped the engine and peeled off my wet, sticky seat belt.  As I  opened the  door I noticed that beige puke was stuck in the grooves in the car door,  and the insides of the window. It seemed to be moving, crawling, creeping. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. There was tiny maggots, slowly moving together, like one stinking mass.

I stumbled out of the car and fell to my knees. A stream of hot foulness poured out of my mouth. Black and bloody chunks flew out, mixed with crawling off-white maggots in a grotty stream. A popping noise sounded close to me and a searing pain bored through my skull. My vision blurred in one eye, but I could see an eyeball looking left and right in the middle of the red, white and black pool of mess –  like some kind of dark Monet.

I tried to put my right hand to my face,  but it flopped down at my side,  like all the bones had melted. I put my left hand to my head, feeling again for my ear. Something small and rubbery fell into my hand and my world went silent.

My legs gave way and I hit the ground head first. My teeth crumbled and each one of them crashed on to the grass like silent, small irregular dice. I slid my tongue around my slimy,  empty gums before I lost feeling in my body. My world went not only silent, but black and my last thought was of the dead flowers.

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