As Robert woke up on that Sunday morning, he immediately noticed something was wrong. Something was horribly wrong.
It was only 8AM, but he was reasonably scared, as anyone would’ve been given his current situation.
His mother stood at the foot of the bed. She’d been dead for years, since Robert was fourteen.
Annie was a nice lady—generous, compassionate, funny, and soft in all the right places. She was blunt enough to tell you when you had garlic in your teeth or tell you to stand up for yourself, but she was always be there to comfort you, holding you in her arms like she could protect you from the world.
Robert missed that. He missed not having a mother figure around, as anyone would. He certainly didn’t miss the rays of light that shone in through his bedroom window and the lights that seemed to outline his mother, though.
His brows creased in confusion and he sat up slowly, leaning against the headboard. Seeming to understand his puzzled state, Annie spoke up:
...Which would be great if she did, really. He hoped she would’ve said anything, he hoped she would’ve explained why the hell she was there. Instead, she stood, watched him watch her, then disappeared.
She didn’t speak up. Strange for a woman who never stopped talking.
It happened all too quickly. One moment, Robert was waiting for her to say something. The next, she was gone, along with the lights. Strange. Fucking strange.
As if his morning couldn’t get any more confusing and life changing, a sharp pain erupted from his shoulder blades. He yelped in pain, scooting away from the headboard. The ache continued.
Robert spent the whole day in bed, wincing every few minutes when his back and shoulders stung with a toe curling jab of pain. No one called, no one stopped by. It’s as if everyone forgot his existed that day. Strange.
He didn’t get up to retrieve the mail, he didn’t get up to eat, he didn’t get up to feed the dog. To put it simply: he couldn’t. It was all too much, the mere thought of moving gave him a headache.
The day slowly ticked by, seconds feeling like hours as he groaned every time a burst of pain shot through his body. It was the opposite of this morning when his mom had disappeared, everything moving way too slow.
He couldn’t think straight. All he could see was his mother, different variations of her. Some crying, some smiling, some frowning, some grimacing. If only he had heard her voice again, that was all he wanted...just an explanation.
His only other thought was “oh, shit, what’s that on my fucking back?” as he reached behind him at around five. Two wet and furry stubs stuck out from his shoulder blades.
No. There’s no possible way.
He began to panic. The ‘What If’’s ran through his head, making it spin and urging his headache on. He didn’t dare touch them again, in fear of discovering something new.
Now, it was eight—8PM, rather than 8AM. Twelve hours had passed since he’d seen his mother, twelve hours had passed. During all twelve, he was in agony.
Earlier, some time after he noticed the weird growths on his back, he noticed red spots appearing on his sheets. He didn’t dare move, too scared to find out.
The pain suddenly stopped some time after eight. His body felt normal again, yet it didn’t look normal. He glanced down at his shaking, clammy hands, gulping way too loudly.
A slight tickling sensation at the base of his neck made him jump. He probably should’ve gotten up and checked was it was earlier, because now, almost everything on his bed was a deep red. Strange.
Robert stood up, the muscles in his back aching uncomfortably. Caked blood made him grimace in disgust and he ignored the sight of pooled blood on his white mattress. He’d just clean it up later.
He avoided his bedroom mirror on the way to the bathroom, keeping his hands to his sides as he shuffled his weak legs and feet into the small room. Before entering, he took a deep breath. He knew he wasn’t going to like what he saw.
As he stood in front of the mirror, his hands shook considerably more than they had been while he was in bed. The thoughts going through his head were ones he’d never disuse to think.
Summoning up all the courage Robert had in his tired body at the moment, he turned around and screamed in fright.
Two bloody and feathery bones were protruding from his shoulder blades, both about two feet in length.
Really, truly, fucking strange.
Of course, Robert being Robert, the only thing he thought in that moment was “Fuck, how am I going to explain this on a first date?” Then, he promptly fainted onto the ground, as anyone would given his current situation.