THE PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE MONSTER
Kelly loved pumpkin spice lattes.
It didn’t feel like autumn to her until the PSLs were released. She followed Starbucks on Twitter and dutifully retweeted anything about her beloved beverage. She even had an Instagram account devoted entirely to selfies of her drinking pumpkin spice lattes. During the summer months, she’d browse through those photos longingly, the way other people look through pictures of their childhood or their dearly departed loved ones.
Kelly even dreamed about pumpkin spice lattes. Specifically, one gloriously huge pumpkin spice latte. It towered over her, as broad around as an ancient redwood tree. In the dream, Kelly always ran toward the PSL with her arms outstretched, moving in slow motion while romantic music swelled in the background. She and the latte would spin in joyful circles in a sun-kissed field, greeting one another with the passion of long separated lovers. (Sometimes, she also dreamed about giving birth to a pumpkin spice latte, which she would immediately gulp down, ignoring the slippery afterbirth coating its sides and its baby-like wails--but that was a bad dream, and she always tried her best to forget it.)
Kelly was thinking about the good pumpkin spice latte dream as she left her yoga class. Summer was coming to an end, and the pumpkin spice lattes would be unleashed any day now. She decided she’d get her nails done special for this grand occasion. Her contemplation of which polish would most perfectly capture the essence of a PSL was interrupted by the unmistakable scent of her favorite substance on earth.
She craned her neck, searching for its source. There were no Starbucks near her and she was the only person on the street. She spun in a slow circle, trying to identify where the smell was coming from. It seemed to be drifting out of an alley a few feet in front of her. She moved toward it with joyful eagerness, practically skipping like a little girl.
The alley was dim, cut off from the late summer sunlight by tall apartment buildings on either side. Heaps of trash covered the grimy ground, but Kelly didn’t care about getting her pristinely white tennis shoes dirty when she saw the dark figure looming at the end of the alley. It was the enormous pumpkin spice latte from her favorite dream.
Her feet stuttered to a stop. Disquiet squirmed in her mind for a moment. Was she going mad? Hallucinating? Surely, this wasn’t real.
The steam rising from the top of the latte seemed to sigh her name. Kellllllllyyyyy. Kellllllllyyyyy.
Kelly decided she was dreaming. A dark alley was a far cry from the sunny field in which they normally met, but what were dreams without a dash of nonsense?
She hurried forward, stretching out her arms.
The sides of the cup split apart in a jagged grin, and milky coffee gushed out of its mouth.
Kelly shrieked as the fluid flowed around her legs. Pumpkin spiced acid chewed through her shoes and turned the meat of her feet to jelly. She fell, and another wave of acidic latte washed over her. She watched the flesh of her arms drip off of her rapidly disintegrating bones, unable to cry out in pain, because the lethal beverage had already reached her chest and throat.
When she was nothing but a puddle of goo, the monstrous PSL extended a straw shaped proboscis and sucked up every last drop of Kelly.
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