He knew they were there before he opened the door. His eyes burned with a dry itch and he could feel his sinuses flaring.
The bitch! She had done it again!
He pushed open the door to the office, and sure enough, a giant bouquet of bright yellow flowers obscured most of his desk.
“Aw, someone’s got a secret admirer” said Stacey as he staggered past. He wiped his streaming eyes with the back of his hand.
“It’s no secret – its Jane again. The cow knows I am… ACHOOO!!…allergic!”
Stacey glared at him. A long strand of mucus was dangling from the front of her fringe.
“Oh god! I’m so…AAAACHOOO!…sorry – oh bollocks!”
Stacey wiped the spray from her face and passed him a tissue. He clamped the paper over his nose and edged his way closer to the mass of yellow blooms.
“The window! AAAAACHOOOO!! Open the fucking window!” he rasped. His face was bright red and swollen and his eyes bulged, looking like two poached eggs floating in a bowl of water.
Stacey unlocked the windows and threw them open. James grabbed the bouquet and staggered towards the open window.
“AAAAACHOOOO! Fucking Bitch! AAAAACCCHOOO!! I’ll get her for …AAACCHOO!..this”. He hurled the bouquet through the open window and collapsed against a desk as the golden flowers rained down on the street below.
Stacey picked the strand of mucus from her hair and wiped her hand with a tissue.
“So – you’re allergic then?”
The day had not gone well. Stacey had refused to talk to him once she realised what had been clinging to her hair, and he was bombarded with low level abuse from his other colleagues. Emails of Van Gough’s sunflowers paintings had arrived in his inbox with predictable regularity, and comments such as “How you doing Flower?” had been made by sniggering co-workers all day. By 5pm, James was happy to get away from the taunting and head back home for a quiet night in front of the TV and a few beers.
He climbed the stairs to his apartment and put his key in the lock. His eyes itched.
“Oh no! She wouldn’t! AAAACHOOO!”
The apartment was filled with yellow flowers. Every surface – from the kitchen table to the sofa and the bed were covered. A layer of golden petals covered the floor and a bright cheerful wreathe spelled the words “FUCK YOU!” from the top of his television.
James’s vision burned and he fell to the floor sneezing.
“Oh you fucking AAACHOOOO! Bitch, you’re AAAACCHOOO! Dead!”
James chuckled as he placed the last empty container into the rucksack. It had taken him all day and it had cost him around a grand, but it was going to be worth it. The moon had come out from behind the cloud cover, illuminating the corridor in a stark white light. He closed the letter box without a sound and threw the full rucksack over his shoulder.
Did I go too far with this? I did sleep with her best friend after all, he wondered, and then shook his head. Na, she will see the funny side of it eventually, he decided and walked from the apartment block, chuckling as he went.
Her nose itched. Jane moved her arm up to scratch, but the movement of her arm seemed to be impeded, as if she was moving through treacle. She scratched the irritation, but her sleep was disturbed by other small tickling sensations all over her body.
She tried to clear her mind, to get back to the dream. There had been a beach, and someone that looked like Brad Pitt. Sleep came upon her in a wave, warmth and security holding her close. The tickling sensation on her stomach began to travel upwards. She moaned and rolled over, the movement somehow seeming to take more effort than it should.
She felt a something burst beneath her body. She brought her hands to her breast and they came away wet and sticky.
What the fuck?
She rolled onto her back and opened her eyes, the fog of sleep clearing. The room seemed hazy, somehow indistinct, the moonlight giving the room an opaque glow.
The moved her arm up to wipe her eyes, brushing away gossamer threads from her face. Things scurried in the half light.
Her eyes widened. Her entire room was covered in webs. Thick black bodies moved along the almost invisible tendrils covering her body.
Spiders! Dozens of huge black spiders!
Jane opened her mouth to scream, but her cry was muffled by the wave of black hairy bodies that swarmed across her, crawling into her open mouth and shrouding her in thick sticky webs. She gagged and bit down hard, feeling small legs crunch under her teeth and a foul tasting fluid spay across her tongue. She fought the urge to vomit and spat the remains of the creature out.
Terror surged in her and she began thrashing on the bed in a vain attempt to shake off the crawling intruders. Tiny blossoms of pain erupted across her body as the spiders reacted to the attack and sank their fangs into her flesh, each injection like a bee sting. Each one painful but insignificant on its own, but multiplied forty times over.
Jane opened her mouth and screamed, a long shriek of pain and horror and struggled to get to her feet. Her legs were numb and her throat constricted as the venom coursed through her. Jane fell to the floor, landing on a carpet of scurrying bodies that burst beneath her.
Sucking long wheezing gasps of air through her swollen airways, she crawled towards the door of her bedroom as waves of black tarantula’s swarmed over her body, crawling beneath her night dress and biting exposed flesh. The door might as well have been a thousand miles away.
Jane collapsed onto the floor unconscious as the spiders wrapped her prone body in silk and sucked the fluids from her corpse.
©2009 Graeme Reynolds
Graeme Reynolds is a horror author, exiled in the South West of England where he spends his time thinking up new ways to write horrible things.
You can read his work on his blog and website http://graemereynolds.wordpress.com http://www.graemereynolds.com