The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
How About a Side of Mushroom?
by Melissa R. Mendelson
The guy at Marin’s said that they were running fifteen minutes behind. I went to the pizzeria, thinking I gave them long enough, but another guy said that it would be a few more minutes. I stepped away, so they could take the orders from other people standing behind me. I glanced at the television set, but I was not interested in the ballgame. I just wanted my pizza.
As I rested against a bench, I watched the people nearby. They seemed like they were lost in a daze. Maybe, it was because of what was going on around us, and they sat at tables and booths, waiting. What was taking so long, and more people walked in. They buzzed past my face as if I wasn’t even standing there, and they filled up the booth that I rested against. One young girl even kicked my leg unapologetically.
“Orders up.” Everyone jumped at the man’s call.
“It’s just pizza.” I was pushed and shoved as if I was nothing more than an illusion, and people seemed dumbfounded at touching something solid. “Fucking people,” but again, they acted as if I wasn’t even there.
“Your order’s up,” a guy shouted at me, but instead of a regular pizza box, he held a small, white box in his hands.
“That’s not pizza.” I stared at the box, thinking of the brownies waiting for me back home. “What’d you do? Put the crust in there?”
“Just eat it. On the house since it’s your first time.” He put the box in my hands. “Eat up.” It sounded like an order.
“You know what? No thanks. I’ll get pizza down the street.” I moved toward the door, but people gathered in front of it. They still looked through me, but they were determined not to move. “What the hell?” I turned around, and a little girl stood behind me, holding the box in her hands. She was the only one that actually looked at me.
“Eat,” she said. “Eat.” She opened the box.
“It’s a mushroom,” and the mushroom reminded me of a mini pizza. Was everybody high? Was that what was going on here? They were all riding the mushroom wave. “No thanks,” but the people in front of the door melted against the glass. “Let me out,” I said, glaring at everyone.
“Eat.” One of the men emerged from behind the counter. “Or end up like the last customer that refused.”
“Yeah,” I said. “What happened to the last customer that refused?” I followed his gaze over to the oven.
I grabbed the mushroom and forced it into my mouth. Surprisingly, it tasted good, but then little spikes plunged into my mouth, piercing the tongue. I gagged but then giggled, feeling this incredible rush. I sat down at a table nearby, and I wanted more. The mushroom was all that mattered not the world waiting for me outside.
Fiction © Copyright Melissa R. Mendelson
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
About Author Melissa R. Mendelson:
Melissa R. Mendelson is a Horror, Science-Fiction, and Dystopian Author. Her short stories have been published by Sirens Call Publications, Dark Helix Press, and Transmundane Press. She also has a variety of short stories and poetry available on Medium.