TW: Non-graphic body horror
It’s allergy season. My nose has been stuffed up for a week. Medecine only sometimes relieves my daily headaches. It gets so bad that I want to drill a hole into my temples.
“You should try this guy my sister goes to,” my friend tells me over drinks. “She has the same problems. He’s not licensed or anything, but she swears by it.”
“Ooo,” My eyebrows jump up, impressed, “Yeah, send me the details.”
The pain only happens a few times a year. It’s not something I think about when I don’t have it, and when I do I never bother to visit a doctor because it’s just a headache. I’ve heard about a sinus surgery that apparently fixes everything, but that seems excessive. Hearing about Cheryl’s guy kinda made me realize I shouldn’t just tolerate this pain for the rest of my life. I’ll be 29 this June – it’s time I do something.
A few days later, Cheryl sends me a message, saying she got me an appointment. I’m directed to go to the address, buzz room 1133 for Hasan, and let myself in. Re-reading the message makes me chew my lip; it sounds fishy. The thumping in-between my eyes, however, convinces me it’s worth a shot.
Twenty minutes later, I’m in front of a polished, high-rise apartment. It’s in a nice neighbourhood which somehow makes me feel better. I’d rather take an unlicensed practitioner who can afford such a place than someone in a back alley.
I do as I’m told, buzzing 1133 from the front entrance.
“bzzzt – Yeah?”
“Come up,” the speaker cuts out and the door to the lobby unlocks.
I blow my nose as I wait for the elevator. One nostril is blocked and I try to blow it open, but just pop my ears instead. Something about this appointment should make me suspicious, but I’m ready to leave all this sinus trouble behind.
I knock on apartment 1133, but then I remember Cheryl’s message, so I let myself in. True enough, the door is unlocked.
Hasan’s apartment is in total darkness, save for two panes of ceiling-to-floor windows letting in a blinding spotlight of sun. In the spotlight is a low-back chair. Next to it I see a shadow of a person whose well-polished shoes are bouncing the sun right into my eye.
“Sit here.” A voice says, Hasan I assume. He steps into the light and motions to the chair, “I’m busy today, let’s make this quick.”
I linger by the door, uncomfortable. “Can we turn on more lights?”
“I just said I’m busy. This is a five-minute process. Do you want it or not?”
Five minutes? What, is he just going to use a neti-pot or something? I grumble, put my bag down next to the door, and gingerly put my faith in Cheryl’s recommendation.
I take a seat and look out Hasan’s apartment window. There’s not much to see except other apartments. He stands over me to my right – he’s positioned in a way that casts a slight shadow on his face, obscuring his features.
“Lean your head back,” and without waiting for me, he pushes his fingers against my forehead. The chair, lets me hang my head all the way back so that I’m looking at the door.
Hasan cradles my neck and squeezes my chin, locking my head in place.
Just when I’m about to ask what the hell he’s going to do, his mouth opens and his tongue unfurls. It’s a cherry-red, thin monstrosity covered in tiny thorns. I want to yell out, but I feel weak – too weak to fight his strong grip. I try to thrash my body about, but I’m paralyzed by something. Fear? My hands grip the armrests and every muscle in my body is flexed.
Hasan’s tongue suddenly changes shape, coiling until it’s as thin as a wire. The thorns stand prominently. Unable to open my mouth, I produce throaty grunts in panic. Hasan pays no mind.
Quicker than I can see, we’re suddenly face to face and I feel something up my nose.
I don’t feel any pain but I feel the soft prodding of Hasan’s tongue in my skull. It’s beyond my nostril. It feels like he’s licking my brain. There’s a pulling sensation and he starts slurping as through drinking a milkshake. Fluid must’ve jostled loose because a liquidy snot comes out the other side of my nose.
To my horror, something licks it up.
The nastiness continues and my mind goes blank. I try to have an out-of-body experience, separating my mind from the sickening sensations my body is experiencing. Just as I think I’m managing, my eye moves against my will and my gag reflex activates. The tongue – that thing – just touched my eye from the inside.
After eons, Hasan finally pulls back his head and his appendage follows. Attached is a string of mucus and he sucks that up without a second thought.
“How’s that feel?”
I blink a few times, the sun feeling stronger than before. I sit upright and I’m sore. I sniff three times in quick succession and I smile.
“Whoa! My nose isn’t blocked anymore!” I touch the bridge of my nose, “I don’t have a headache anymore. Oh my god, that’s amazing!”
Hasan nods. He holds out his hand and helps me out of the chair.
“What did you do?” I try to think of the past five minutes, but it’s strangely fuzzy. I was looking at the ceiling and…something was flushed out? “Like, some fancy neti-pot or something?”
“Yeah, exactly.” He says, ushering me out of the apartment. “But it’s only temporary. A week at most.”
I smile, extremely happy, “I’ll definitely be back. I haven’t felt this great in weeks!” I grab my bag, “What do I owe you?”
He opens the door and hands me a business card, “First appointment is free.”
The card doesn’t even have his name on it, just an address and a phone number. I slip it into my wallet, “Thanks Hasan! You’ve seriously changed my life.”
He nods, like it’s just a blasé favour. He walks me to the elevator and pushes the call button. As the doors open, I turn to him, grinning.
“I’ll see you soon!”
He smiles and licks the corner of his mouth. I just glance his cherry-red tongue and I’m hit with a strange sense of dread.