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Horror Fiction Funny

      The fact that management scheduled a mandatory meeting on improving employee mental health for 4pm on a Friday shows how out of touch they are with our mental health needs. I’d guess that most of us are already checked out come 12pm on Friday. The afternoon is reserved for daydreaming about weekend plans.

           For the training, I sat between Kevin and Moonbeam. Not because I wanted to, but because I came in last due to a slight bathroom disaster. See, I have a shy bladder and unfortunately, we have stalls instead of a single use room. Maria walked in at the same time as me and decided to wipe off and reapply all her makeup to get a fresh look because someone told her they knew today’s presenter and he was a yoga instructor. I’m not totally sure what about that description got her so excited, but I spent that whole time in complete panic and mentally begging her to leave.  

           The main issue with Kevin is that I’m not entirely sure he’s human. He talks and operates like a robot. Glancing over at him, I see he is sitting with perfect posture and staring straight at the wall. Are his eyes even blinking? Sometimes I look at those dull, beady eyes and expect to see computer programming code scrolling across them. He looks an awful lot like that Dilbert comic. With people like that, I’m always a tad worried they might snap one day. Moonbeam, on the other hand, suffocated the room with her earthy, body odor smell and she is way too enthusiastic about this whole presentation. If I try to zone out, I’ll likely get noticed right away with her drawing attention this way.  

           “Hey, everyone. Name’s Beck, and I’m so stoked to meet you all. Feeling the energy in this room I can tell this’ll be a good meeting,” the presenter said.

           I fought to keep my eyes from rolling. It hurt.

           “So, I’ve taken a little tour of your situation here and the first thing I noticed is there’s a serious lack of fresh air.”

           What does that mean?

           “We need to get some plants in here. Plants promote creativity, productivity, and good health. They reduce stress, which I know you’ve all experienced. We’re going to be real here today. Get it all out in the open.”

           I could be daydreaming about flying off jumps at the bike park, but instead I’m getting lectured on plants from some surfer bro type. Work is work. Let’s just get it done and go home.

           “I’ve got a surprise for you! I’ve already picked out a sweet plant starter kit you.”

           Someone rolled in a cart filled with potted plants.

           “In order for this to work though, I need someone to be a plant caretaker. This is an incredibly important position.”

           Chip’s hand shot up.

           “Alright, a question! Cool. What’s on your mind?”

           “Will the caretaker get a pay increase?”

           “Not a pay increase, but a status increase. You’ll be so worthy among your peers for taking on the responsibility of their wellbeing in this way.”

           Chip looked away after “not a pay,” and stopped listening.

           I wanted to nominate Moonbeam. This sort of thing seemed right up her alley.

           “Because this job is so important, I’ve talked in depth with the boss man here and we picked the best person. So, congrats to Kevin! You’ll be our new plant caretaker and expert.”

           Kevin didn’t react at all. All I could think was better him than me.

           I’m not sure whether I believed Kevin could pull off this task. He didn’t exactly seem like a plant type. Sure enough, five weeks later and the office was stunning. The floral scents were so strong, no one could smell Moonbeam anymore, which we appreciated. Beautiful flowers bloomed and vines started to crawl across the floors. Kevin must have changed the temperature of the office to accommodate them, which was the one downside. Things were getting a bit humid in there. The plants thrived though. It turns out, Kevin had quite the green thumb.

           A few months later, I had to sneak into the office late at night. I accidentally left my phone charger and couldn’t wait until the next morning. I didn’t expect anyone to be there. No one should have been there. I walked through the dark halls using my little bit of a phone battery to provide a flashlight. That’s when I saw Kevin in the glow of an exit light sitting with a red and orange flowering tree. He appeared to be crying and pleading with the tree. I didn’t know if I should interrupt.

           “Hey, Kevin? What’re you doing here?”

           I startled him and he jumped. He looked at me in this way that seemed like a ghost or monster stood behind me.

           “Why are you here, Lana? It’s late.”

           “Stupid me. I forgot my phone charger. Too addicted to the thing to go a night without it.” I laughed nervously.

           “Lana, you shouldn’t be here.” He sounded weirdly scared.

           “We need the special food, Lana,” a whispery voice said.

           “Who was that? Who else is here?”

           “It’s…It’s…”

           “We’re hungry, Lana.”

           “What the…”

           “You hear them too?” Kevin asked with a bit of hope.

           “Yes, but... who are they?”

           “I thought I was the only one. I wondered if there was something about me. A reason they choose me.”

           “Kevin, what’s going on?”

           “It’s the plants, Lana. They speak to me.”

           “Some water, Lana.” A different whispery voice.

           “They never stop talking!” Kevin cried.

           “Kevin’s getting weak,” the whispery voice said. “We’re passing the power to you.”

           “The power to talk to you?” I asked.

           “They’re so demanding, Lana. Get out while you can.”

           Talking to plants? What a lame superpower? Wait…” Will they do what I ask them?”

           “No.” Kevin shook his head. “They’re taking over. They want to control us.”

           “Oh, that sucks. If I can hear plants, I want to at least be able to control them.”

           “Feed us, Lana.”

           “What do they want to be fed?”

           Kevin shook his head rapidly and put his hands up. “Don’t! Don’t…”

           “Blood, Lana. Kevin failed us and we want his blood.”

           “Blood? I thought you meant water or fertilizer.”

           “Our King is a carnivorous one.”

           “Oh, well I see management sure did a bang-up job with this mental health thing. Nothing says stress reducing like an army of plants trying to consume your office and eat your blood.”

           “We only need a little, Lana. He doesn’t need to die.” The vines began to slither towards me.

           “Sorry, Kevin,” I whispered and bolted for the door. I covered my ears to drown out their cries. I knew the vines were slithering after me. I grabbed the door handle, pulled it open, flung myself out, slammed the door, and gasped.

           I went to the store and brought myself a new phone charger. The following day, I called into work to request a mental health day. The mental health day turned into a mental health week as I sat in my house freaking out. The blinds drawn shut, and all the windows and doors closed. One evening on the news I heard how Kevin was reported missing. That’s what made my decision to resign. Really, it's what was best for my wellbeing.  

August 11, 2021 21:01

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13 comments

T H Galligan
01:03 Aug 14, 2021

Nice and creepy!

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Annalisa D.
01:23 Aug 14, 2021

Thanks!

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Aimee K
17:40 Aug 13, 2021

Such a funny story, but I got really shocked when they said they wanted blood :D

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Annalisa D.
18:25 Aug 13, 2021

Thank you for reading and commenting! I appreciate it and I'm glad to hear you liked the humor. I might edit it a little to have more build up to that part so it's still shocking but comes with a bit of a hint. Maybe she learned it eats flies earlier on or something small like that. It can be fun to get a surprise too though. Thank you!

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Aimee K
03:14 Aug 14, 2021

That's a good idea. But like you said the surprise would be great too :)

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Alex Sultan
05:48 Aug 13, 2021

This story kept me captivated from start to end - I like the humor in it(you're consistent with it to the end, which is great) and how you meshed in a horror element to it. Lana's pov is fun to follow.

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Annalisa D.
12:48 Aug 13, 2021

Thank you so much for reading and the nice comments! Humor always feels a little risky, so It's great to hear it worked well. I'm really happy you enjoyed it. Thank you!

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Eric D.
20:36 Aug 12, 2021

This was super funny and I'm sorry but I found the talking plants really cute like evil little like chihuahuas you could easily like walk around and dismiss. I was just gonna say that at first the narrator was sort of talking to them nonchalantly when they whispered and I kind of found it funny so the fact that she was scared towards the end seemed like a big escalation. But then the very end brought it back to a more casual reaction also worked like a ' eh I dont wanna deal with this sh**" sort of way. This gave me office space vibes I ...

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Annalisa D.
20:55 Aug 12, 2021

I'm glad you liked the humor and it's totally fine to see them as being like evil little chihauahuas. I'm not sure if I would take the plants seriously at first either. With the escalation I think I was going for a this is just too much and too weird and I need to get out of here. Like my fear of dolls. Realisticly they aren't real and even if they were they wouldn't be that strong, but I still don't want to be in a room with them. haha. It sounds like it came across that way from your comments, so that's good. Office space meets little shop...

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Keya Jadav
05:38 Aug 12, 2021

Wow! I did not expect this though...the 'we want blood' part. It was appreciable the way you curtailed all the humour elements. 'The floral scents were so strong, no one could smell Moonbeam anymore, which we appreciated.' - BEST Though I thought it was a bit cruel of Lana to leave Kevin that way but the story was great. Totally eye-hooking

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Annalisa D.
11:38 Aug 12, 2021

Thank you for reading and the comments! I'm glad you appreciated the humor and enjoyed it.

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Danny G
03:32 Aug 12, 2021

Lol this was a good and funny story. Beck perfectly encapsulated what I imagine every single wellness person would be like and I loved the humour.

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Annalisa D.
03:40 Aug 12, 2021

They really do all seem like that haha. I'm glad you enjoyed the humor. I had fun with it.

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