All Creatures Great and Small
1192 words long
You made your traveling companion; now you have to share a seat with it.
Notes from the author:
The writing prompts were "monstrous" and "mal de mer," the latter being a fancy phrase for sea-sickness. I don't typically get sea-sickness, nor do I know the first thing about any sea-going vessel between the sizes of a motorboat and a cruise ship. But I sure know about long bus trips, and the consequences of reading in the car.
Though it didn't become obvious until the rewrite, I'm pretty sure Ursula Vernon's short story "Toad Words" was somewhere in the background of the first draft. It was probably present when I wrote "The Fourth Miracle of Emmaline Gray," too. Good stories stay resident in the brain, like a virus. Outbreaks can happen at any time.
I should know better than to read on the bus. It always makes me sick and susceptible to the usual consequences. But it was such a long bus ride, and I was bored.
Things came to a head somewhere on southbound Highway 285 between Alamosa and the state border. The Greyhound was wobbling from side to side, something I hadn't noticed until I picked up my book and turned on the night-light. I'd managed to ignore my motion-sickness for almost an hour, but once I gave in--All right, I admit it, this is happening--that's when that slim mental barrier between vomiting and not vomiting vanished. It was all I could do not to toss my cookies on some sleeping dudebro's shoes (which would have served him right; I don't care how tall you are, you don't get to use the aisle for extra leg room).
Well, I got to the restroom in time, but I didn't quite make the toilet. Which was just perfect, you know? You don't want to look at your own sick all over the floor. It's gross. It makes you want to puke all over again, looking at it. Not to mention smelling it. Better to make your deposit down the deep, dark hole and close the lid as fast as you can. That goes double when your vomit serves as the primordial origin goo for some new species of monster never before seen by human eyes.
Like I said, the usual consequences.
Look, it's a long story. I'd rather not go into it. It involves a lovely step-sister and a greedy mother and a witch with a warped sense of humor. Frogs and toads? Oh, I wish it was frogs and toads. No, what drops out of my mouth are bite-sized sentient monsters, no two alike. At least it doesn't happen every time I speak. It only happens when I throw up, and only some of those times, too.
This, though, was one of those times.
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for June 19, 2015. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1192 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.
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