Flash Fiction: Pustule Grumpleskunk—Sneezer

I have allergies. I’m on trial for them.

“Pustule Grumpleskunk, you stand before this council, charged with treason.”

Treason. Because I’m allergic to nearly every bloody scent this state exudes.

“I’m not trying to sneeze, your honor,” I say, twiddling my thumbs. “I swear on the nine layers of Death Hole, I’m not. I simply can’t help myself.”

“Rubbish,” says Councilwoman Nitterspatch. She’s got nostrils like pinpricks; they all do. “Balderdash. No one has ever sneezed in Kettlespatch. It’s simply unheard of! Treason! Heresy!”

“He seeks to infect the Kettlespatchers with a foreign plague!” Councilman Wombletich offers, just excitedly enough to make his neck fat quiver.

“A foreign plague? I was born here!” I protest. I let a chain of sneezes rip; commotion answers outside. I can hear the corpses pulling themselves from the earth, punching through the dirt and stone. I’ve certainly not helped my cause.

“A witch! A warlock!” charges Councilman Snapplesnatch, his right eye spinning like a cork. His spittle hits my face.

“The proper term is necromancer, sir,” I say, eyes narrowed as I wipe the spittle clean. “A witch brews potions and eats children. A warlock curses. I simply awaken the past. There’s a huge difference, and I ask you all keep that in mind, thank you very much.”

I sneeze again. More screams, more groans. The perfume keeps coming stronger. At this rate I’ll raise an army by suppertime.

The council moves to give their verdict when a crier stumbles in, screaming words I can’t discern.

“Crier Digglesprat,” says Councilwomen Nitterspatch. “Calm yourself!”

“News!” he cries. “News from Beagletwitch. “Bumblescrub is five miles from our border. They come tens of thousands strong!” He collapses, spent from crying.

We’re a small state of three thousand—hardly a state. Not good.

The council looks from Digglesprat to me. They bang their gavels.

“Charges dropped. Bring the perfume. Pustule Grumpleskunk, you’ve an army to raise!”

©Luke Tarzian





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