by Rick McQuiston
The mass oozed from side to side, expelling
a pale yellow substance resembling rotting seaweed. It was aware but only slightly, only enough to grasp its foul purpose
and to manipulate its form to achieve it.
Movement was what it needed. Whether back
and forth, up or down, in or out, it did not matter. It only needed to stimulate the nitrogen rich air around its being enough
to promote growth.
* * * *
Sandy was a very thorough person. She had
a finely organized agenda that had been perfected over the course of her thirty-seven years. Her mother, God rest her soul,
had been similar in life and she had imparted her ideals to her daughter with disciplined resolution. And those ideals, Sandy
was proud to admit, fastened themselves to her and complimented her in her daily endeavors.
The children, Samuel eight and Agatha fifteen,
were named after her two favorite authors. Sandy smiled to herself as she remembered the nights she passed with Dame Christie’s
or Mr. Clemens’ inspired tales on her lap only punctuated by the incessant ticking of the clock or Adam’s periodic
Both kids had been hustled out the door
easily on time this morning. Agatha flowed through her usual and substantial array of various hair and skin products in record
time and Samuel was less of a nuisance to awaken than he normally was which translated to a little extra time to fully prepare
his daily necessities for school that day. And even Adam, her beloved although less attuned to the value of organization better
half, had managed to leave the household early which Sandy happily knew would firmly entrench him in the good graces of his
She looked at her fingernails and noticed
that the pink frost polish was starting to chip. She made a mental note to pick up another bottle when she had a chance.
Yes, it was shaping up to be a very good
morning, one she was certain any housewife would be envious of.
* * * *
It was near the first step now. It could
not see, not yet anyway, but it easily sensed where the step was. It would have to work at it but it knew that eventually
the stairs would not hinder its advancement towards the light…the light that was seeping through the cracks of the door
* * * *
Sandy was a little upset with herself. She
was having difficulty deciding what to do next and time was slipping away; time that could be well spent in much more effective
and useful ways.
She swallowed the remaining coffee in her
cup and savored the peaceful sanctuary that she was blessed with every weekday. The weekends she looked forward to also but
only in a somewhat reserved way. Time with Adam and the kids was enjoyable to be sure but the solitude of the weekdays was
also precious and she did admit to feeling a twinge of guilt for being so selfish. After all, time with the family was a staple
of life itself wasn’t it?
* * * *
It reveled in the fact that it had hands
now. It studied them closely; they were nearly complete. The left one only needed a second set of knuckles and the right one
lacked just one small finger. They were delicate hands, like a petite woman’s with graceful form and smooth skin.
If it had a mouth it would have smiled.
But that would come also…soon enough.
The thoughts that collected in its rapidly
forming mind gathered in strength and intensity. It was evolving and it realized it.
It sloshed its bulk up another step. Only
several more and it would reach the door which loomed in front of it like a curious child over an anthill. Hard work was becoming
easier to it now and it knew it. The muscle it possessed now would enable it to achieve its goal and expand it experiences
* * * *
The ringing of the phone startled Sandy
out of her thoughts. She found that she did that frequently; lost herself in her thoughts.
It seemed as if lately though she had been
becoming more and more forgetful. Almost like someone were tapping her reserves of thoughts.
But she eventually shrugged it off to aging
and answered the phone. It was Adam. He’d forgotten his glasses and wondered if his lovely wife could run them up to
him. She reluctantly agreed and told him that she would bring him his glasses in an hour or so.
But she was disturbed when she hung up the
phone. Not due to the inconvenience of the errand she now had to do but because she was having trouble remembering another
errand she had to do.
Was it the dry cleaners? The grocery store?
The bank? When Adam had told her what he needed her to do she remembered thinking that she could do the tasks on the same
trip. But what was the other errand?
* * * *
It knew its purpose now; what it was destined
for. It processed the repercussions of all of the actions that it would perform from that day on, studying each and every
one carefully and thoroughly. Every single consequence was determined and analyzed within its mind.
It smiled a perfect and attractive smile.
A smile that revealed many white teeth and concealed a malicious cruelty beyond measure.
It knew hunger now, all too well. Its stomach
cavity was empty and convulsed steadily with groans of discomfort.
The hands it now processed reached up and
grasped the door handle. It felt cold and strangely comfortable in its grip almost as if it were recalling how to use one
after many years.
The knob turned easily as it gently nudged
the door open slightly revealing the well lit room beyond…
* * * *
Adam was very grateful that Sandy had brought
him his glasses. How he had forgotten them he could not explain and he apologized to Sandy profusely.
Sandy smiled to herself. She knew that most
of her day would still be free now that she had delivered Adam his glasses and picked up the dry cleaning. Her hand was sore
but she was sure it would feel better soon.
Her smile grew wide; a perfect and attractive
* * * *
Seating himself behind his desk, Adam began
to thumb through the various and numerous reports and proposals that his job demanded he review. He struggled to remember
exactly the order of importance of each piece of paperwork and became quickly confused and frustrated. How could he forget
He eventually shrugged it off to stress
and lack of sleep and he decided to take a break.
He neatly stacked the papers on the corner
of the desk and stood up slowly. A good stretch session would do the trick; clear his mind and relax his stiff back. He kicked
off his shoes, loosened his tie and began his stretches confident that they would help his workday.
After he completed the combination yoga
and strengthening stretches his mind began to drift towards lunch.
What would he have? Perhaps a salad or maybe
soup. He sat back in his desk chair and pondered the possibilities while the severed fingertip with chipped pink frost nail
polish lay under his desk. It was beginning to leak a pale yellow substance resembling rotting seaweed.
Rick McQuiston 2005