When Matt stumbled into the diner, he had not eaten in sixteen days.
The patrons watched, horrified, as he staggered through the front door and fell to his knees. His eyes were glassy, his skin cracked and dry. His movements appeared to require herculean effort. He opened his mouth to speak, but his tongue and throat were coated in white fungus, and he could only manage a pained moan.
The Nickerson family was sitting in the booth closest to the door. They had ordered their usual — pot roast for Mr. Nickerson, the blue plate special for his wife, a patty melt for their older son, and the kids’ plate (a grilled cheese sandwich cut into the shape of a dinosaur) for the little one. They had also ordered three slices of coconut cream pie.
When the shock had worn off, Mrs. Nickerson leapt from the booth and knelt at Matt’s side, clucking and cooing and carrying a piece of pie. Matt looked gratefully up into her face. As he sank his teeth ravenously into the soft flesh of her arm, she realized her mistake.