You are stumbling up the driveway after a messy night. Your feet ache and ooze with blisters, so you take off your shoes. Tiptoeing quietly, you feel an unfamiliar crunch between your toes. Immediately your whole body tenses, and your eyes widen. Your eyes drift slowly downwards. You have to look. The remnants of the snail squelch up between your toes, covering them in slimy goo. The shards of shell scatter on your feet, sharp edges threatening to pierce your soft skin. Desperately you shake your foot, but the snail’s insides cling to you. You grate your foot against a rock, but it only coats it in thick, moist dirt. You can just make out the shape of your foot. You can see the head of the snail, still intact, protruding between two toes. Its slimy head leans towards you, silently screaming in pain. Your whole body shudders violently.
The urge to vomit rises quickly. Gasping for cold air, you try to suppress it. But it cannot be calmed. It rushes up your digestive tract. Your eyes burn and you blink repeatedly, trying to fight the urge. It rises like molten lava, determined to find an escape point. The hot sludge reaches your throat and gushes into your mouth. It hits the pavement like a missile, splattering all over your bare feet. You try to stumble away, but step in it. Tiny chunks of pizza mix with the dead snail, seeping into your skin, staining it. The putrid smell fills your nostrils, each tiny hair shrieking in pain as they curl away from the stench. It is everywhere. You can taste it in the back of your throat, smell it on your clothes and see it dripping from your hair. The sound of it splattering on the pavement haunts you, it’s playing on repeat in your head and you can’t turn it off.
You rush to the hose, turning it on high. The water pelts your foot, hitting it with the force of a million tiny bullets. You wince in pain, but it’s worth it. Rinsing your mouth out, you spit chunks of meat-lover’s pizza on the pavement. Tiny slimy pieces of salami stick in your teeth as you frantically try to scratch them out with your fingernail.
You sigh with relief, and turn off the tap. Finally you rise to your feet, pushing the memory away, trying to ignore its persistence, but it lingers. You take a step.