Red Winged Black Bird on a fence post in a field.

The Sandwich Horror


Category: prose

"Thanks for the sandwich, honey," I called to my girlfriend. She waved an acknowledgement from the other side of the kitchen and returned to her excited phone call.

I collected the plate with my sandwich and chips, grabbed my beer and headed into the other room to watch the game. Susan was a great girlfriend; she always made the best food and didn't mind if I watched television while eating. My friends joked that it was just a trap and I should get out as fast as I could.

The pregame commentator blathered on while I tried to get comfortable in my new recliner. Susan gave me the recliner a couple of weeks earlier saying that she wanted me to be able to relax. I said she was a great girlfriend. It was a good recliner, but I didn't have it broken in yet.

I got my backside settled as the commentator changed to an advertisement for the latest horror movie. A sinister voice hinted of cultists calling upon ancient and evil forces and sacrificing unwilling loved ones. The deep voice intoned the tag line, "You're always hurt by the ones you love."

The commentator returned.

With feet up, back partially reclined, and tush cushioned, I cracked open my beer and took a swig. I set the beer back on the side table, careful to put it back on the coaster. Susan treated me well and using a coaster was a small price to pay. I think she said the coaster design was Sumerian or something, but to me it just looked like weird monsters and writing.

This time, the commentator gave way to the music and graphics heralding the start of the game. My eyes focused on the swirling logos, mesmerized, while my hand reached absently for the sandwich.

Susan studied cooking for a couple of years. Her teacher was some exotic, foreign guy whose name I could never pronounce. Most of the things she made were really good, even if they were a bit different. Judging by the smell, the sandwich involved fish of some kind.

Still fixed on the screen, I took a bite of the sandwich. My teeth made it through the bread and then hit something tough and rubbery. I pulled the sandwich away from my mouth to inspect the strange morsel. As the sandwich came away, it pulled my upper lip with it.

It didn't feel like there were any sticky sauces on it, but there was no way to judge strange, foreign foods. I pushed with the tip of my tongue to dislodge the thing. What I thought was progress turned to concern when I realized the food was now stuck to my tongue.

In a panic, I pulled harder on the sandwich. With a rubbery snap, something, mostly solid, hit my chin. My hands held only the bread in which the thing had lurked.

The grip on my tongue tightened and even more of whatever it was wrapped around. The larger mass moved up my chin and toward my mouth. Parts of it probed past my lips and into my nostrils.

To move more freely, I moved the plate back to the table, hitting the volume control on the remote and turning up the game. With the plate off my lap, I could pull the recliner upright.

The thing reached further past my tongue and toward my throat. My gag reflex started and my body convulsed in an attempt to wretch. This action threw me back into the recliner, which unfolded into its most reclined position.

Falling on my back, the horrible thing fell mostly into my mouth. More of its tendrils probed for my throat. I reached in with my fingers to grasp it and pull it out.

To get out of the chair, I threw my right leg over the left arm of the chair. Rolling over, I pulled myself out of the chair and onto my feet. Stooping over with my mouth pointed toward the floor, I pulled as hard as I could on the monster invading me. Feeling some progress as the sticky tendrils started to slide, I grabbed with both hands and levered the creature mostly out.

The room went dark.

I don't know how the fiend did it, but it blinded me. The lights, the game, they were all gone though I could still hear them. I needed Susan's help.

Turning toward the direction I thought held the kitchen, I ran. My judgment proved wrong. Something hit my shin and I fell forward. My head cracked against a solid object and purple stars erupted in my blindness.

The pressure on my back told me I was on the floor. Dull throbbing filled my head. Consciousness grew small.

The creature in my mouth moved further in, filling my throat. The lungs began to protest at the effort to pull in air. I tried to scream, to call out to Susan, my dear, lovely Susan. As the thing moved further into me, darkness swallowed my mind.

As emptiness took me, I thought I heard Susan's voice, as if far away in space and time. "Honey, did you take my octopus sandwich? I don't think I did it quite right."

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