This piece was my first-ever attempt at writing microfiction as part of NYC Midnight's "250 Word Microfiction Challenge" writing competition in 2019. As with all of their competitions, participants are given a specific prompt, a word limit, and a time limit to produce a unique tale; in this format, we received a genre assignment, a specific action to include, and a word to feature somewhere in the story. This challenge had a 48-hour time limit and a 250-word limit; my prompt for this story was Horror (genre) / Eating Breakfast (action) / "Existed" (word).
I had to learn a lot about writing horror in a very short time when I first started participating in these competitions. (I received four separate Horror genre assignments across three years... Are they trying to tell me something?) The main takeaway I clung to was that the best way to start is to write about something that horrifies you personally. What could be more terrifying than the complete and utter betrayal of one's mind?
This piece ended up being incredibly personal to me because of my family's experiences with Alzheimer's and dementia. The title comes from an unusual symptom of dementia known as Lewy bodies, which can cause patients to hallucinate vividly. You can learn more about this and other symptoms of dementia through the Alzheimer's Association.
CRASH. The walls shudder. Something is in the house.
I dash into the kitchen and find the intruder at the stove, throwing marbled fat into a pan; the hot flesh crackles and spits grease. White shards resembling bone fragments litter the countertop, oozing yellow pus. The smells make me gag.
The Thing turns on me and bares its teeth. “You’re up early.” It leaves the stove and stalks toward me. I cower against the refrigerator, and the monster’s eyes alight with chilling malice.
“I guess it’s going to be a bad day,” the Thing growls as it grabs my wrist. I scratch, trying to get free from its clammy grip. It drags me out of the kitchen; I dig in my heels and whimper. What is it going to do to me?
“Don’t fight, mmm. You come sit here.”
The Thing pushes me, and I collapse into a chair. My eyes land on the phone in the corner. The police could help. I might be able to make it. But the Thing is watching – everywhere, its eyes stare at me from the picture frames. It lumbers out of the kitchen with two steaming plates. “Gonna eat today, Mmm,” it slavers. Suddenly, the phone jangles. I scream and lunge for it, but the Thing blocks me. I manage to escape while it is distracted.
“Hi, Louie… No, it’s not good. Mom’s really disoriented… She wouldn’t eat… She just looked right through me. It’s like she completely forgot that I even existed…”