Short Stories

Peanuts

You are at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. You just topped off your gas tank, and are walking into the shop to pay.

A kindly-looking clerk peers at you over the counter through his small, round glasses as you enter. You’re feeling peckish, so you look around for something nice to snack on while you continue driving to wherever the hell you were going. Things aren’t so clear when you are at a gas station on the edge of reality.¬†

You aren’t in the mood for the colourful packets of chips lined up on the shelves. You aren’t in the mood for candy bars with their screaming taglines and pastel logos.¬†

You’re in the mood for peanuts. Salted, or coated in caramel. You never combine the two. To do so would be unwise. Your stomach growls just looking at the long, thin packets of salted peanuts. You grab one. Okay, you grab two. Three.

You bring your four packets of peanuts to the counter.

You exchange your money for the goods, and turn around to leave, when it hits you. Nothing is preventing you from opening one of the packets right now, and eating some right here. No one would stop you. The clerk notices your heistation.

“Don’t worry, you can eat in here.”

You don’t waste a second. You rip open the top of the packet, and open your mouth wide as you tilt it. The legumes fall out, and you barely chew them before swallowing. Oh god, these are some good ¬†peanuts.

The packet is empty, and so are you. You stare off into space. The clerk smiles at you. You drop to your knees and hands, and vomit black sludge on the clean tiles of the gas station shop. You look up, teary eyed, at the clerk who is smiling inhumanly wide right now.

“Close your eyes. Dream.”

Everything goes black as your head hits the tiles with a loud thud.

You open your eyes to a blindingly white void. You hold your hands out in front of your face, and see that they are covered and dripping with a thin, watery black liquid. Once your eyes are adjusted to the sheer brightness of the white void, you notice a small speck in the distance. Without thinking, you walk towards it.

You walk close enough to better make out just what the figure in the distance is. It appears to be a purple-robed humanoid. You shout out towards them.

“Hey! You!”

You get no answer, but the robed figure starts shuffling in your direction. You start walking again, hoping to get some answers as to where you are and WHY you are here.

You meet up with the figure. Two glowing white eyes leer out through the complete darkness that is their face. You shudder as they seem to pierce right through you, into your soul and possibly your pancreas.

“Who are you? What is this pla-“

The figure holds up its arm, stopping you midsentence. A deep, rumbling voice emits from under the cowl.

Come.”

The being turns around, and motions for you to follow.

You hesitatingly follow, into the vast nothingness. You and the entity walk for hours, and eventually you forget how you got here. You realize that you don’t even own a car. Why would you be at that gas station? You can’t remember. You can’t even remember what you were doing BEFORE you ended up buying those snacks.

You notice the bright nothingness slowly gets darker and darker, the longer you walk. By this point, the void is almost entirely gray.

Eventually, the entity stops. It holds up one of its arms, and motions for you to kneel. You do so.

It motions for you to take off your shirt. You do so. It presses its hands against your bare shoulders, and you scream out in agony as a blistering pain radiates through your body.

When the entity removes its hands, you notice strange sigils have been burned into your flesh, marking you forever.

Stand up.”

You stand up, still wobbling from the pain. The being reaches into its robe, and pulls out a small vial of the most pure blue liquid you have ever seen. It dips a small, thin paintbrush into the vial, and starts drawing various markings on your torso. You nervously stare forwards, trying your best not to move too much or disturb the being currently painting your skin.

When you eventually look down, the being has disappeared. You are alone in the void once again, this time minus shirt and plus forbidden glyphs. You once again spot something in the distance. This time, you don’t waste a second running towards it, hoping it might be an exit out of this place.

You get close enough to recognize the shape as that of a door. You don’t even care if it leads you to a place even worse or if it leads you to your home, where you can just jump in bed and sleep until you forget all the events of today.

You open the door. Behind it stands Peanut. You close the door, and weep. When you open your eyes, Peanut is with you. You weep harder. Peanut weeps with you, not making a sound.

You look at Peanut, your eyes foggy from the river of black liquid flowing out of them. Peanut’s shell is cracked by the ravages of time, and purple ichor seeps out from it’s wounds.

Peanut reaches it’s cane out towards you. You bawl like you have never bawled before. It touches your forehead, and you let out a gurgling scream as you feel your lungs fill with thick purple ichor. It seeps out from your wide-open mouth, flowing down your chin and forming a large puddle on the ground. Your mind is filled with images of the darkest reaches of this universe. Your vision zooms out, revealing the universe to be shaped like a peanut. You smash your fist into the floor until it starts bleeding.

You close your eyes in fear of what Peanut will do next. You clench them shut for what seems like hours as your mind continues showing you visions of every dark corner of the hideous nightmare you call reality.

When you open them, you are alone again. You are lying on the floor of a gas station bathroom, in a puddle of your own vomit. Your head hurts.

You get up and shuffle towards the shop. It’s dark now, yet the door is unlocked. The clerk is nowhere to be seen.

It’s only at home, when you finally take a shower, that you see the glyphs on your shoulders.

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