's 2017 Horror Write-off:

Oral Hygeine Is Critical

Submitted by Kiovenn

I woke up one morning with an unusually ravenous feeling of hunger.

Grapes... Pie... Cheese... Burnt toast... Cake icing... Bananas... Aluminum... Fish...

A rather odd assortment of foods seemed appealing to me, for whatever reason.

Regardless, I had to follow the routine. I went to the bathroom, used the toilet, washed my hands, and got out my toothbrush. On another odd whim - I, like many, am rarely at full mental capacity in the mornings - I stuck the toothbrush in my mouth without putting any toothpaste or water on.

I began to feel an odd sensation in my mouth - not painful. No, it was more of an odd tickle, that developed into a light scratching after around forty-five seconds. That likely sounds much like regular tooth brushing, but this time it felt sort of... good, and right, like scratching that successfully relieves an irritating itch. I noticed this, but again, groggily ignored it.

After two minutes of brushing, I still somehow couldn't find the willpower to take the brush out of my mouth. Finally, after another thirty seconds, during which my awareness of how unusual the circumstances were began to rise, I pulled the toothbrush out of my mouth.

The feeling of doing this, suffice it to say, solidified my rising dread.

The toothbrush's bristles had elongated, and were wrapped and tangled around a mass about an inch in diameter, blood leaking between them. I cautiously unraveled the knotted clump partway, revealing a group of horrifying little creatures, slowly dying outside their native environment. They were a shiny white, with varying arrays of spikes on their backs, but all had to sharply pointed legs, which were presently flailing about uselessly. All 30 or so were still wrapped in the long brush bristles. Good. I didn't want them running around, even if they only had a few minutes left to live.

Understanding rushed into my mind, and my thoughts shifted as several of my past understandings revealed themselves as falsehoods planted by the very creatures before me. I had been infected with

It likely started with just one, digging into the flesh of my mouth and replicating into a small colony of slightly specialized units. These then set upon finding a nerve, and manipulated my mind to make me think the infection wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

A further realization dawned on me - They'd had me eating solid food! That's what teeth do to you, of course. My good, trusty toothbrush had saved me; likely my gastric tubes couldn't take much more of it. I would need to get to a clinic later that day, but then and there, the only thing on my mind was a nice, frosty cold beverage. Ah, yes, 3000 or 4000 degrees should do it.