's 2018 Horror Write-off:

I Guess I Have to Put Goo in My Brain Now

Submitted by Fyre

So says the doc. Each night before bed, one litre of cool medical goo must be poured into
the tube that now protrudes above my right ear. Missing days is ill-advised, but I’m
alright with routine.
The first night of. The blue bathroom light isn’t very flattering. I guess it’s not meant to
be. It’s more to help you do your make up, see the pimple you’re picking, and now pour
slime into an open cavity in your head. Okay, I’ve got the carton right here by the sink,
condensation is pooling. I can just pretend I’m pouring a glass of very slow milk. I call
through the door,
“Hey Darla! Wanna come watch this?”
“Do you want me to?”
God no.
“Not really.”
“I’ll be here when you’re done, you can do it!”
Wow, I love her. Enough procrastination, let’s goo this. I wipe the carton down and open
the spout. I try not to look right at it as I pour, but not hard enough. Compared to the
doctor’s sample the green is a lot… Brighter, maybe it’s the fluorescents? The first
viscous globe of liquid finally hits the tube, which is insulative but apparently not
enough. I tense and nearly drop the carton. I imagined ‘cool’ as a refreshing glass of
water. Instead I feel a cold scalpel around the tube’s circumference, maybe the same one
I was numb for during installation. Okay, it’s fine, it’s whatever. It’s not so bad after the
initial shock. My goosebumps subside. It reaches the base of the tube, which having
been described to me as a cross between a colander and a sea urchin, I don’t want to see.
Thankfully there’s no sensation past that point. I picture the thousand artificial
capillaries blanketing my brain, each pumping like a tiny oesophagus.
A litre really is a lot; the last thin strand of slime breaks off at about ten minutes. I didn’t
realise I was sweating. I rinse my face and flip the cap onto my tube, like a petrol tank. I
neatly fold and discard the carton. I climb into bed and hug Darla from behind. I didn’t
think I would cry. She holds my hands.

Two weeks later, I’ve missed a day or two. The chill still hurts but whatever, plenty of
people deal with worse. Shamefully, I still haven’t looked inside. Darla has. She said it
looked fine, even though her face turned pale. Whatever! It’s part of my body and I
should know what it bloody well looks like.
We should really get warmer lighting in here. Cap open, small mirror held behind my
head and I turn to get the right angle.
That’s. Organic. Taut pink flesh covered in holes. They aren’t uniform in any way. Not
concentric, not a grid, large holes that smaller holes cluster around. One’s especially
large, it could fit my finger. What happens if something fell in? I gag. Between the holes
are spines, or hairs. They coil each time I inhale. I don’t throw up. It might make me feel
better but my throat is closed. I put down the mirror, which rattles in my shaking hand.
Come now, this isn’t so bad. How is it any different from any other orifice? The tendrils?
The holes? Just pour the damn slime.
“Are you alright in there?”
I’ve been breathing hard enough to hear from outside. Fuck. You’re stronger than this.
“Fine. Don’t worry.”
Come on, of course she’s worrying, you’ve been distant since you started. Just toughen
up so you can go back out. I’ll even use the mirror to watch the whole thing, like
exposure therapy or something, right?
I hold up the mirror with my left hand and the carton with my right, precariously. I
begin to pour, before the goo even touches the tube the hairs straighten out like a vine
to sunlight. There’s the scalpel. It reaches the hairs, they wiggle to guide the liquid. The
swiss cheese holes asynchronously pucker (pop), prolapse (slurp) and slacken again.
Repeating over and over to gulp more slime. I dutifully finish my carton and the flesh
calms down, soaking up the last drops. I might just faint.

I’m in bed. Darla’s sitting at the foot, she looks anxious.
“Oh thank god, you’re up. I was ready to call an ambulance.”
“What, why? I’m fine.”
I guess I do have a headache.
“You were passed out in the bathroom, I thought you were just taking your time at first.”
Oh no. Idiot. You seriously fainted? From what, looking at the hole in your head? I gag at
the recollection. Darla notices.
“Oh!” She hands me a bucket from the bedside. I throw up.
“Are you really alright?”
“I’m fine, throwing up helped.”
I give a goofy smile, but Darla doesn’t reciprocate. Is she angry? Or I really scared her.
What the fuck is my deal. Great, I’m crying now.
“Lainey, please just let me know what you’ve got going on up there,” she brushes my
fringe aside. “I thought it’d be best to let you figure things out on your own before
talking like you usually do, but now?” She’s crying too. I should probably hug her, I
should definitely hug her, I hug her.
“I’m sorry Darla, I’ve been selfish.”
“You’re not selfish, you just get caught in your head and forget to ask for help.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too Lainey.”
We talk. I tell her about the sharp pain, the nausea, the bathroom lights, about how I
hate walking around in public looking like a cartoon bomb and about how much her
company means. She tells me about how she’s missed my conversation, how proud she
is of my strength, about how my head makes relaxing noises when I sleep that she
thought I’d be self-conscious about. I may have to put goo in my brain now, but that's not
all there is.