The first thing Rick was aware of when he came to was a splitting headache that throbbed in his skull. It started just above his forehead and transformed into waves of nausea in his stomach. The second thing he noticed was the musty smell of plant decay and rich, wet earth.
From somewhere behind him came the sound of his 1988 Chevy Astro Van knocking and sputtering. Farther off, an owl hooted, while leaves rustled all around him.
He shifted, trying to roll from his front to his back and an army of aches and pains that had been dormant sprang into action. He opened his mouth to groan in pain, but his mouth was covered in a slimy film.
He wiped away the thick, mucus substance and took a deep breath of the cool night air. Something was crawling on his face. It slithered slowly down his cheek toward his neck. He snatched it and brought the object toward his eyes, not wanting to move more than he had to. It squirmed in his hand. What he held was the biggest slug he had ever seen. It was as thick as a ballpark hotdog and half as long.
As he took a hard look at it, the slug stopped moving and seemed to be staring back. Rick’s face twisted into a grimace of disgust and he clenched his fingers into a fist. As he did so, he thought he heard a small, thick voice cry out. Whatever sound he thought he heard, it ceased when he squeezed his fist tight, crushing the slug into a slimy pulp.
When he opened his hand, strings of entrails and slime connected his fingertips to the palm of his hand. He made a move to wipe the mess off on his coat, but instead paused and then snapped his wrist, flinging the squishy mass at a nearby tree. It struck the tree’s trunk with a plop and then fell to the ground. Slowly he sat up, propping himself up onto his elbow and then sitting up from there. He wanted to move his head as little as possible. Each heartbeat pounded out another flash of pain in his head.
The van sputtered violently and then wheezed.