17 November, 2010


A boy with shaggy hair and an oversized mouth spun in a sswivel chair, tapping his fingers in time to the inaudible music in the room.

"Look after your ears, Markus! Take off those earphones!"

"Aww, Mum!But you don't even like listening to my music."

"Then turn it off."

"I knew you'd say that," he muttered.

"Don't you know," said his grandmother from where she was knitting cooked spaghetti noodles into a plattter for the left over sauce, "that those ear things are sometimes actually bugs waiting to crawl into you head and take over your body?"

"Mother, don't talk such rubbish," called Markus's mother from where she stirred the steaming pot on the stove.

"It's true, Mayleen. Some of them pretend and then take over people, make them like zombies."

"You've been watching too much tv."

"Mum, you know Granma don't like watching tv," Markus swivelled on the chair to face his grandmother. "Anyway, Granma, don't you mean earbugs, in that case?"

"Ex-actly," she said as if that was what she had meant all along.

"Did you know that earbugs are..."

"Yes, yes, I know that," she said impatiently, waving one needle in the air before resuming the steady 'click, click' of her spaghetti knitting.

"Then if my earphones were real bugs, then why wouldn't they have already taken over my brain, huh?"

"Because they were asleep. Not hungry. Already eaten a full meal. You leant them things to your friend last week, didn't you? They were new then, right? You'd never worn them before."

"Ye-es, but..."

"Notice anything different about him lately?"

"No-o, well, he does have a new pimple."

"That's right. What's his behaviour like? Is he more interested in something he's always hated? Does he say odd words he'd never actually say? Have a haircut he'd never normally have?"

"Ye-ah. Right. Whatever."

"Has he?" Granma pressed, grabbing another strand of spaghetti.

"We-ell, he eats macaroni and cheese everyday now, but he's always hated cheese. He says 'cool mate' whenever he sees me and has these extra long sideburn bits after the haircut over the weekend. But that doesn't mean anything, Gran. His cousin's come to stay with him a while."

"And does his 'cousin'," Granma made quotation marks in the air with her fingers as she continued to knit at breakneck speed, "often wear earbugs too?"

"You mean ear phones? Yeah. Everyone does these days."

"Ahhhh," she sighed shaking her head.


"Soon you'll find he's not interested in playing or talking with you or he'll always be giving you some new thing to listen to on you ipod so that you have to wear your earslugs more often."

"You mean earplugs and then it should be earphones."

"But do those little black things actually have a telephone in there? No, right? So it's not ear phones, my boy. Earslugs or earbugs. Mark my words. I'd throw those dangerous things away if I were you. Smash them. You'd see that they're not made of bits of metal and plastic."

"Mother! Stop it! Markus, go to your room and finish your homework before dinner. I'll be checking to see how much you've done after."

"Yes, Mum."

Slouching up the stairs, ear phones in one hand, ipod in the other, Markus shrugged off Granma's impossible story. Huh. People becoming zombies after wearing ear phones. Stories to scare little kids and he wasn't a little kid anymore... although, Fraser had been acting strangely lately.

Sliding into his desk chair, Markus sat to do his homework.

The next day at school, Fraser was waiting for him. First, he asked to borrow, Markus's ear phones, when Markus knew he had just gotten new ones himself and then he gave Markus a whole GIG of new music to listen to. After that, he kind of ignored Markus for the rest of the day.

That night, as he lay in bed listening to the new music, Markus felt something in his ears tickle. He pulled out an ear phone to stratch in his ear, only to feel some sort of gooey substance in there. He snatched at the other side, but it refused to come out.

Panicking, he fell on the floor, tugging on the wire until it snapped. The music kept playing in his ear and he felt the slithering tickle move deeper into his ear canal. Toward his brain. Gasping with fright, he flew out of bed and down the stairs to where Granma was now making spaghetti noodles. Only...

Granma looked up as he skidded into the kitchen, eyes wide with fright, barely able to talk. One glance was all she needed and she opened her arms to him, reaching out to take the other earphone still oozing goo in his hand. Holding him close, she crooned to him and slipped the other earphone back into his ear.

"I told you, didn't I?" she whispered as he pulled frantically at her iron arms. It was then that his gaze fell upon the spaghetti she had been making. One of the strands moved and slithered on the table, a comma with an exceptionally long tail. "Oh, here comes another," she said, holding him with one arm, while reaching up to her ear with the other hand and pulling another strand out of her ear. "Out you come, baby. There, there, it's all right."

Markus's eyes glazed over.

Ok, this story's a little bit too scary for me. Especially after dreaming of people turning into monsters all night that then attacked their former friends. Recurring nightmare. Go away.

Maybe I should stop writing this type of nonsense.

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