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A Horror Flash Fiction by Bryan Costales
Smell Copyright 2011 Bryan Costales, All Rights Reserved page 0
Smell — A Flash Horror Story by Bryan Costales
John’s nose still felt plugged since his wife’s cold infected him last week so he opened his mouth and a ﬂy ﬂew in. At least it felt like a ﬂy. He tried to spit it out but felt a sharp pin-prick on his tongue. “Ow!” he said. His wife Linda across the table from him looked up from her bowl of Won Ton soup. Her spoon poised, her blond hair partly obscuring her left eye, she said, “Something wrong?” John shook his head and grunted. He reach his index ﬁnger into his mouth and felt around for the ﬂy. Linda lowered her spoon and set it with a sharp tick across her bowl. “What’s the matter now?” John felt something small, about the size of an aspirin against the left inside of his mouth and pulled it out. Held between his thumb and index ﬁnger it looked like a small black pea. “Is that one of those Chinese peppers?” Linda leaned across the table to get a better look. She pursed her lips in a kind of a pout. A crash came from the kitchen which made John ﬂinch. Someone must have dropped a plate or maybe many plates. John snifﬂed, felt one nostril clear. He could smell his sweet and sour pork again and he remembered he was hungry. “Not a pepper,” he said, but his own voice sounded more to himself as if he had said, “Nodapeppa”. His tongue felt a little numb like after a visit to a dentist. Linda held out her hand palm up, the undertips of her red nails like tiny smiles. “Let me see.” John dropped the pepper onto her waiting palm and then glanced back at the kitchen. Men angrily shouted back there, behind the closed door. Other diners, John noticed, were also glancing back there at the yelling from the hidden kitchen. Linda said, “Look. It unfolded.” John looked back at his wife’s palm. The ball had uncurled into a beetle of some sort, but with a nasty looking stinger. He tried to say, “I didn’t know beetles had stingers,” but no sound came out. His tongue felt too big in his mouth. Linda squeaked. “It stung me,” she said, and ﬂapped her open hand hard enough to toss the little beetle into the air. Its wings opened and it ﬂew toward another table.
Smell Copyright 2011 Bryan Costales, All Rights Reserved page 1
Behind him, John heard the kitchen door open. Someone screamed, so he glanced back again. One of the waiters leaned against the open red door. His white shirt was covered in black spots. There was something big and black in his mouth. Behind him he heard Linda say, “Good god. Look at that waiter’s tongue.” The waiter slid slowly to the ﬂoor. The black dots lifted off of him with an audible buzz. Hundreds of beetles took to the air. And then thousands of them followed their kin out of the open kitchen doorway. Others in the restaurant stood. Many screamed. John tried to scream but he was having trouble breathing. His tongue almost plugged his mouth and his wife’s cold plugged his nose again. He turned to look at Linda. She gazed wide eyed at her hand. It looked too big, swollen. “My hand,” she whimpered. John looked down at his sweet and sour pork. His food uneaten, his stomach growled from hunger. He could barely breathe but wished instead he could smell again.
Copyright 2011 Bryan Costales, All Rights Reserved