the 99fiction competition. Alas. This is the piece I wrote as a writing exercise during the Writing Excuses retreat, during Dan Wells's talk on writing horror. And one of the things was "Establish normal, and then break it." The "normal" I establish in this piece is "vampires are real and taking over," which... isn't really normal, but it's what I establish within the bounds of the story.
So, anyway. Here it is.
Ghastly symptoms, both odd and familiar--photophobia, cravings, disturbed sleep patterns. The vampires were bolder of late; they'd get us all eventually. Now it was my turn, although I'd delayed this clinic visit in the forlorn hope the signs would just disappear. I fidgeted, the yet-unspoken verdict sitting boulderlike on my stuttering heart.
Doctor Black's gaze was compassionate. "We've done the tests."
I tried on a shaky smile. Sunlight allergy. Diet change. I'd survive. Sure. "It's not that bad, though." Breathing. "Right?"
His brow creased. "I'm sorry, John, but... I'm afraid it's very bad. You have stage four cancer."
And there's your sucker punch for the day. You're welcome.