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Avoiding Pterodactyls

I avoid eye contact with my reflection when shaving in case it winks at me again and puts me in a bad mood for the whole day. If a bad mood catches you outdoors, the pavements crack and monsters crawl through to stop you getting home, like yesterday when the pharmacy courier called a day early before the long weekend. She won’t be back until Tuesday, so for four days I have to stay indoors to avoid monsters outside, while struggling not to yell at the shadow beasts in my flat when the screaming begins in case the neighbours think I’m a nutjob.

I had to skip work so told them my tummy is playing up. It is, because the courier had my cimetidine too, but not enough to keep me off work. Still, I couldn’t say there’s a panopticon of pterodactyls smashing through the ground, trying to sting me with venomous tails.

I rinse my shaver through the tap and place it back in the cup but when I leave me-in-the-mirror stays put. I stop. He sounds like me, but me before this happened. Confident, not desperate to get away. “Don’t ignore me,” he says. Me says. There’s a green, scaly spider in the doorway, its fangs dripping poison to form a hissing puddle around itself. I raise my heel, close my eyes and jump. It squelches beneath me, pincers stabbing through my slipper’s sole. They all scream. I dive under the bed. Three days until Tuesday.

Flash Fiction by Alex Cox

Published in Summer 2017


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