“Mom, I’m home!” I call out, opening the front door to my house, excitement booming out of my voice. I enter and slam the door with a little too much force, my enthusiasm getting the best of me. “I’ve been looking forward to this dinner all day! Is everything ready, mom!?” I shout, hoping I’m loud enough for my mother to hear me.
I had to stay in after school until seven today because of how much work I forgot to turn in. It has to be illegal to keep a ten-year-old in a class for that long. At least that’s what I thought… But now I don’t have to worry about failing math anymore. Ms. Tammy told me that I’ll get an above-average grade, at least with all of the work that I made up for. Fifth-grade math isn’t hard when you put your mind to it.
I throw off my shoes and slam my heavy bag full of textbooks to the floor, my long hair getting caught in my face. I brush it aside and wonder why my mom hasn’t answered. “Mom!? You said that the special dinner would be ready by the time I got home.” I call out again.
I would go check myself, but whenever my mom is making a big dinner, I know to stay far away. Our kitchen is small, so she makes sure to let the family know that she’s working and doesn’t want any of us running in there.
The last time I ran in thinking that the Thanksgiving dinner was ready, but instead, I almost knocked the turkey to the floor. Then my mom almost knocked me to the floor that day, but I got out of there as quick as humanly possible.
I’m not looking in that kitchen until I hear her tell me it’s ready.
I walk into the living room and take off my uniform sweater, tossing it on our pure white sofa. I don’t know what possessed my parents to buy a sofa this clean in a house of five, but I think it’s to see who gets it dirty first. It’ll definitely be my two older sisters, Marie and Gloria who are pigs! I don’t think it matters because whoever soils the couch first is getting all of us in trouble.
I scan the living room table in front of me, failing to spot the remote. All of the lights are burning bright down here, so I don’t get how I’m missing it. In fact, it’s so bright that I’m seeing weird white spots floating in the air. Maybe it’s because my eyes are adjusting to the light here, but it’s still weird.
While lying down on the couch, my eyes continue to jump around the living room, hoping to spot the pitch-black remote. It’s like trying to spot a lion in a haystack. Why am I having so much trouble? The carpet is white, the couch is white, the beige wooden floor glows like gold because of how bright the light is in here, there should be no reason why I can’t find the remote just by looking around.
Ugh! I hate to think about it, but I might have to do the unimaginable. My body was just starting to settle in the soft curves of the couch too. So soft, so pure, so clean. I can’t bring myself to do it. No, I’ll never give in! “Mom, have you seen the remote!?”
I refuse to get up from the couch, not after I’ve gotten all cozy. As I wait for my mother’s response, I continue to search around the room for the remote. The most I do is pick my head up to peer into the corners of the room, but I still have no luck spotting it.
The white spots in the air are starting to become clearer too. They’ve gone from shining specs to fuzzy-looking dots that hover around before they disappear. Is it so bright that I’m going blind?
I rub my eyes vigorously, in hopes that the white specs will go away. My fingers sink into my eyelids, pushing my eyes back. When I open them back up, the light in the living room feels like it burns for a moment but my eyes adjust quickly.
Unexpectedly, a soft and fuzzy feeling tickles my nose, hands, and arms. The white specs are actually touching me and they’re just as fuzzy as they look. Am I going blind or insane? They rub against my skin, making me feel a ticklish sensation. I must be more tired than I thought.
“Marie!? Gloria!? Dad,” I scream, hoping to get an answer from someone.
While waiting for my answer, the ticklish feeling starts to burrow into my skin, I start to giggle from it but the sensation digs further into me. The tickles go from feeling harmless to jumping around under my skin. The tickling gets mixed in with sharp stings that cause me to jump up from shock.
In a panic, I start swinging my hands across my arms and face, doing whatever I think will help me get rid of the pain. The white specs attached to me float back in the air, unharmed by my fit.
“Mom!?” I howl, hoping to get an answer soon. I launch myself off of the couch, my laziness washed away by the blood rushing through my veins. Not sure what to think of what I felt, I stare at the white specs. The longer I look, the more appear in front of me. Now I’m certain they’re real.
Lost to what’s going on, I turn around, sprinting out of the living room into the kitchen. “Mom are you—” I walk in to see my whole family sitting at the dinner table, but their bodies are limp, slouching in uncomfortable positions. My stomach starts to churn once I process what I’m seeing.
Their bodies are covered in the strange white specs. Along their skin and clothes are white strands that look like veins wrapping around them like vines. The white strands pulsate and grow as I look at them, more of them emerging out of the white specs.
Gloria’s eyes are rolled back into her skull, her body beginning to mimic the look of moldy cheese. Marie is face down on the table, the white specs hovering over her head, attached to her hair, growing rapidly in strands. My mom and dad’s backs are facing me, covered in the same thick layer of white that I can only describe as mold.
The dinner table is beautifully arranged with enough food to stuff all of us and leave leftovers for at least a week. A full tray of baked macaroni, baked ziti, and potato salad sit in the center, making my stomach growl. There’s even chocolate cake and pecan pie for us to dig into.
However, there’s no silverware set up, only a single slice of chocolate cake awkwardly resting on the table, covered in the disturbing white mold. All of the food is. White specs floating around like dust caught in the sunlight, grabbing hold of whatever surface that they could.
I reach for my mother’s back, my hand connecting with the thick layer of mold covering her.
It reacts to my touch. I thought it would feel oilier but it bubbles with warmth. I push hard against my mother’s back and a white mist shoots out of the mold as it melts into my hand. My eyes start to water, my lips quivering on their own.
“M—Mom!?” I pull my backhand back as hard as I can, but the mold grips me harder, crawling onto my wrist. It feels like small teeth are gnawing on me, doing as much damage to my skin as it can.
My breath starts to race as I continue to pull. My wrist feels like it’s going to come off but I’d rather lose my hand than let the rest of the mold eat me. An intense stab surrounds my arm as the mold continues to travel up to my elbow. I shriek in pain, falling to the floor, my mom falling with me. For a second I thought I’d really ripped my arm off, but it’s still attached to my mother’s back.
“Mom! Help me! I—It’s eating me!” She doesn’t move or reply. I can still see her back, a warm and wet feeling escaping from me. I notice a thick red stream leaking out of the mold that’s almost to my shoulder. It jumps forward and clamps down on it, painfully entering my body.
Before I knew it, A ticklish feeling came over my other arm and face, intensifying the pain. I flail as hard as I can, but to no avail. An uncomfortable warmth starts to stretch across my face, pressing against my skull and sinking into my eye sockets. I can still see but now I can’t move. As the mold spreads through me, I find myself not able to move anymore.
My throat is becoming blocked off by a spongy mass forming inside, stealing my ability to breathe from me.
Gaging hopelessly, I’m left wondering what this celebration was even for and if I’ll see my family again.
An overbearing weight crushes my skull, white strands stretching out of my nose and wrapping around my neck. My vision starts to darken, my tears getting soaked up by the mold.
The pressure on my skull drastically increases, my world going completely black. Soon, I feel nothing.