A story for my school.
All was well in Santa Cruz until the slugs decided to revolt. It was a Thursday morning just like any other; my classes didn’t start until noon, so I treated myself to a bit of sleeping in. I clambered out of bed at 11:26am, sluggishly meandered over to the bathroom to relinquish myself of slumber-induced urine, and got dressed for my afternoon class. With my red converse laced tight, I was ready to start my day; only I was still exhausted and slightly hung over with a headache from the previous night’s festivities.I slowly trudged out of my room and into the kitchen to search for a quick hangover cure.
Above the refrigerator I scoped out my cereal box, grabbed a cracked blue bowl from the cupboard, and found the one perfectly-sized-for-cereal spoon. I moved my breakfast components to the dining table and began “cooking” the remedy to my ailment. I poured in the milk and followed it with a generous helping of Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, when I felt something shift and fall out of the box. My mind was reeling that morning, so I didn’t think much about it. Probably just some cereal pieces stuck together I figured, and began my consumption of peanuty panda goodness.
As I drove that perfect spoon into the depths of the milk, I felt it hit something squishy. “That’s not right,” I muttered, and quickly spooned out the unknown substance. Upon lifting my spoon and seeing its newfound contents, I realized my Thursday morning was not going to be as easy on my head as I had hoped. Nestled there on my utensil was a small, squirming, yellow banana slug. Its glossy sheen that I’d learned to recognize had been replaced by the wet murkiness of the milk, thus giving it a duller, (and in my case) more nauseating hue. It took me a good three seconds of staring into its wriggling antennae to fully process the creature that had just been soaking in my breakfast. Repulsed, I threw the cereal-swimming slug and spoon against the wall, and struck my housemate’s juvenile “100 Buck Nasty Sex Positions” poster. Feeling even sicker, I quickly inspected the cereal box and found a small hole had been chewed through the bottom corner. “What was it doing in my cereal,” I wondered, “and how did it get inside the house?”
I wasn’t sure my stomach could handle anymore gooey surprises, so I decided it was probably best to refrain from eating before class. I dumped the rest of my cereal into the trash and was about to grab some water when I heard someone knocking at the front door. I crept up to the peephole and saw it was David, my best friend and former roommate.
“Hey David,” I said as I opened the door.
“Ollie you’re okay!” he exclaimed as he grabbed my shoulders. David looked tired as if he’d been running all day.
“Easy on the shaking man! Of course I’m okay. Just slightly hung over, but otherwise I’m fine. Why?”
“We need to go inside before they see us,” he said as he pushed past me and shut the door. “It’s not safe here.”
“What the hell are you talking about? Why isn’t it safe?”
“There’s no time to explain!” said David. He was starting to freak me out. “You need to grab your bag and pack some clothes and food and we gotta run.”
I grew frustrated at his lack of explanation and told him to calm down. We moved to the kitchen and I tried once more to make David tell me what was troubling him.
“It’s the banana slugs. There’s something wrong with them,” he said as he began to hastily fill his backpack with cans of my food. “I was heading to class when I saw a bunch of students running away from something. I hid behind a tree and watched as a mob of people came rushing by, but they didn’t look normal. They all had yellow blobs on their heads and crazed looks in their eyes. Shit was freaky.”
“Are you serious?” I asked, leering with skepticism. “You mean to tell me that banana slugs are controlling those people? Like they’re being zombified by them?”
“I like to say they’ve been ‘slugified,’ but yes, somehow they’re controlling everyone. Now can you please help me pack more supplies? It’s only a matter of time before they find us in here-”
David immediately fell silent, as his eyes widened at an unknown presence behind me. I slowly turned around and saw it was my housemate Kelsey standing in front of the living room door, impeding our only escape. Her eyes burned with a furious intensity, as something small and mustard colored draped across her head writhed like a living crown. She must have decided to skip class that day.
“Oh shit,” whispered David, right before Kelsey sprang towards us. I managed to dodge her lunge, but David was unprepared. In an instant he was pinned on his back and trying to fight Kelsey off. I heard the sound of her teeth biting as she snapped towards his jugular. “Ollie help!” he cried, and I quickly ran behind her to strike. I wrapped my arms around Kelsey’s torso and threw her onto the dining table, causing it to collapse under the force of her land.
“Kelsey what the hell!” I yelled. She responded with a gurgled cry, and came at us once more. Unsure of what else to do, I began throwing anything I could grab at her: cans of food, dishes, and seasonings from a spice rack. That’s when I saw the shaker of Morton Salt sitting on the counter closest to David. Salting slugs and watching them melt was a former childhood pastime of mine, and I figured it was worth a shot. “David! Use that salt!”
David immediately understood and snatched the container as Kelsey pounced once more. He flipped open the spout, and threw a handful of glittery white crystals at the menacing slug atop her head. The salt sizzled as it struck the yellow lilliputian, and Kelsey unleashed one last warbled screech before collapsing to the floor.
We cautiously approached our fallen friend, and watched as the slug released its grasp then melted into a small viscous puddle of sludge. Kelsey groaned as her eyes flitted open and she regained consciousness.
“Ugh, what happened? Ollie, David?” she asked.
“Kelsey! You’re okay!” I said as I helped her to her feet. I embraced Kelsey and was thankful I didn’t end up inadvertently killing her along with the banana slug. “Listen, I know this is going to sound very very weird and stupid, but you were under the control of a banana slug. The shit has apparently hit the fan, and the slugs are going crazy and zombifying everybody. David says we need to get out of here ‘cause we’re not safe while those things are out there, and they could find us here at any moment-”
I stopped talking when I heard a rush of footsteps approach the building outside, followed by screeches similar to those Kelsey had made earlier. Our loud scuffle had alerted the slugified of our location, cutting our escape preparation short. “We have to move,” said David as he grabbed his backpack. “Now!” We hurriedly grabbed a few more items and headed for the front door. I made sure to take my bottle of Advil because I was certain I’d need it. The intensity of that morning’s events didn’t help my pounding headache, and I knew it was going to be a long day.