TW: body horror.
Lacy wasn’t in a particular mood as she was walking to the bus stop from work, it was the kind of day in which nothing interesting happened besides a mild discomfort from a 2:00 stomach ache. The honey sun shone through the Autumn trees lining the road and reflected off droplets from a brief rain, creating enough glare to cause the brunette to look down as she walked. Her non-heel work style shoes shuffled through the crispy remains of a vibrant season, and with a whimsical feeling she picked out crunchier looking leaves to step on.
Her brief return to childhood paused when she caught movement from under the leaf her foot currently hovered over. Despite the immediate feeling that hit her as if many little legs were crawling up her arms, Lacy lifted the leaf with a hand that felt more childlike than usual.
Underneath was a mushroom. A fading maroon colored fungi. It would be ordinary if it were not growing straight out of the concrete. Possessed by forgotten days, or maybe simply curious, Lacy touches it. Nothing happens.
The woman returns to her walk, looking straight ahead and feeling silly.
At the bottom of a hill, one girl holds another girl's hands close to her heart. “Rose, how do you know so much about all this plant stuff anyways?” “They're not plants stupid” “Hey! Then what are they huh? Animals?” one girl said in a huff. “No no, they're neither, they don't get energy from the sun or from other plants and animals, they eat us, they eat the earth”. “Don't be gross, I still don't get it anyways”, the girl sticks her tongue out then laughs brighter than that spot of the world had ever seen.
Lacy wakes up the next morning with a pounding headache and an icy cold in her limbs. Her stomach growls as if she hadn’t eaten anything the night before. Groggy and confused, she stumbles her way into the bathroom to brush her teeth. Warm yellow light fills the room as Lacy harshly squints to adjust. After a glance up at her reflection, Lacy freezes.
Winter white veins stretch across her face and hands. Thousands of infinitesimal threads branch from her neck and ears towards her eyes, while a couple thick arteries pump frigid white across her knuckles and up her wrists. Wherever she can see skin, Lacy notices the white veins. It's cold.
Lacy raises her trembling hand to touch her face, feeling an outline where each strand is. Gasps heaving from her chest, Lacy shoves her palms into her eyes and counts to ten. She pries them open again only for the same vision to greet her. Lacy rubs her hands furiously across her cheeks yet the wisps do not wipe away, and she notices with further dread that her face does not color from her panicked swiping. Lacy smacks the faucet on and throws her head under the water as high pitched whine struggles out of her throat. When she falls back from her sink to yet again see her reflection, Lacy yelps and her eyes begin to water.
“HaAgh..! I can’t- I don't- what is going on!? AGHhh!”
The desperate woman rushes out of her bathroom and towards her bed. She fumbles with her covers to find her phone yet comes up empty handed. Crying and babbling, she trips into her bed post and falls to the carpet.
The beige colored ceiling spans above her, calming Lacy to take a deep breath. If she is to figure this out, she needs to call for help, everything will be fine if she could just find her phone.
Lacy begins to rise to look for her phone with new resolve, when she catches sight of her hands yet again. They are shaded a muted red as if raw from being slapped. Lacy groans miserably and shoots up from the ground.
Before she can desperately search for her phone again, hundreds of tiny red bumps sprout out of Lacy’s hands, they clump together in circular mold-like groups, as if they can't grow apart from each other. Lacy screams and cries, choking on her spit and rambling in horror. She tears at her hands, scratching until skin breaks and pain splits her brain, and yet no red to be spilled. The bumps continue fatten and spread over the torn flesh, feeding on Lacy’s skin.
“No no no no NO! NO!! PLEASE NO WHAT IS GOING ON!!!”
As she witnesses the red spots grow, caps and stems begin to form. Lacy heaves, bile and stomach acid spilling next to her. But before she can splutter anymore, Lacy passes out.
At the bottom of a hill, two girls sit as close as they can. “So what's that one called Rose?” one girl asks, pointing to a picture in a book. “You can read, it says it right there,” “Shut up, I can't pronounce that!” “haha, ok its a Laccaria Bicolor, they grow in Japan over dead bodies.” “Eugh gross, it's such a pretty color though…” “Doesn’t it kind of sound like your name? Laccaria, it’s pretty” the other girl smiles shyly and looks away.
When Lacy wakes again, her brain feels as if it was split open, and her body feels as if she was dragged carelessly over stick and stone. When she notices her surroundings, she thinks that may as well have actually happened. She's lying out in the middle of the woods, bird song and lichen the only company in either direction.
Lacy suddenly jolts and looks down at her hands. They look as they did the day before, flesh in place and warm. The woman heaves a breath of relief and shakes her head erratically. She then notices what she is laying in— she’s surrounded by patches of mushrooms varying from maroon to bright orange. Entranced by the sight, Lacy blinks slowly. They almost remind her of something. Getting to her feet, Lacy looks around and realizes she’s at the bottom of a hill-
“Rosie...?” Lacy calls nervously. No answer.
“Rosie? You know I'm sorry, you know I didn’t mean it and I-”
Lacy chokes when she catches sight of a medium sized rock protruding from the ground. It's drenched in red, red mushrooms, red leaves, red, red and red. Lacy trips over her legs and stumbles to the rock in horror and throws her body over it. The stone is jagged against Lacy’s chest, but she digs herself further on to it.
“Oh! Rose! Rose! I’m so sorry! It wasn’t supposed to happen like this!! Can’t you please forgive me? I thought we- I thought you…!”
Decay with me
The wind boxes the trees, creatures twitter, and wood creaks. Nothing else makes a noise.
Mushrooms tend to grow quickly and densely. They start in small groups of equal sized buds, and as they grow larger they develop caps and stems. When they reach maturity, the larger fruiting bodies will overshadow the smaller ones. It's easy to pick mushrooms, as they will often come out in one clump. They grow inseparable and die inseparable.
At the top of a hill, one girl holds the heart of another girl. “Rose don't be gross, seriously”. “I-I am serious, you can forget this ever happened, but don't pretend I'm lying!” “Then take it back!! Don't make this weird, I didn't know you were fucking like that! Are you- are you really a-!” “Come on Lacy, don't be like this I really do like you-” One girl pushes the other away, and she falls, falls down, cracking redder than that spot of the world had ever seen.
At the bottom of a hill, two girls lay intertwined forever.