Fungal Halo

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A Routine Violation

The signs are subtle at first, easily missed. A faint shimmer in the sky. A whisper on the breeze. A thought that tastes a bit off. This time I was lucky and caught them early, giving me time to prepare. Not much that can be done, but I could cancel plans and send people away.

The uncertainty of its arrival and the looming sense of dread about it make waiting difficult. And this one takes agonizingly long to show up.

Yet soon I feel the telltale fingertips of an invisible hand grazing my head at the temple, and I know it’s finally here.

It plucks a string, pain blooms, the air vibrating in sympathy. The rest of the fingers join. A palm. A thumb at my eye. Pressure. Two digits plunge into brain without breaking skin or bone, and I tremble and cry while it roughly fingers me. I hope one of us enjoys this at least.

And just like that, reality frays on one side and I feel eyes watching me from inside my head. I taste my own skull. I hear mocking laughter in the shape of the laundry piled in the corner of the room. My words stop being entirely my own and twist around those of The Other.

I am a puppet again of forces that do not care about me except to enjoy playing with this easy access vessel. They share their secrets with me as a private joke, knowing I can do so little with them. I can’t even translate them to language. I just get to know the color of pain.