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Well, this is unexpected. Something new coming out of nowhere. And this close to Christmas?

As usual for me, this is a bit of a weird one, but I think you guys will like it. I'm not really even sure how to summarize it, so just give it a shot, if you please.


"I'm hungry," Steph groaned to herself as she sat alone in her living room. She placed a hand on her belly and glanced at the clock on the far wall as it slowly ticked the seconds away. Her pizza was due to arrive at any minute, but that wasn't about to stop her from complaining. After taking a deep breath, Steph held it for a second and then let it out as a tired sigh. Then, her nose twitched sharply to the left and she scrunched up her face.

"Ugh! Why don't you ever stop?" Steph mumbled as she began to massage the sides of her nose. The sharp prickling died down to a feathery tickle, but Steph knew she was still about to sneeze.

"Aaahhhh..." Steph took a deep breath, her head tipping back slightly. At this point, she gave up on massaging the tickle out of her nose. She knew better than to try holding back.

"Aaaaaaahhhhhh..." After another hitched breath, Steph's head was tipped back as far as it would go, and her nose pointed straight up at the ceiling. Her friends used to make fun of her for sneezing so theatrically, but Steph didn't care. She'd always enjoyed being overdramatic.


Keeping her mouth closed, Steph sneezed powerfully through her nostrils. The pressure building in her sinuses immediately disappeared, and at the same time she felt something light and fluffy rocketing through her nasal passages. A pair of black clouds oozed out of Steph's nostrils, melding into a singular blob just a few inches away from her face. Once the last of the substance left her nose, Steph opened her eyes to see a small, black orb floating in front of her face. A pair of tiny white eyes stared back at her for a second, and then the orb quickly darted away, leaving a trail of black mist in its wake. Steph rolled her eyes, and then she pressed her palm to her nostrils and mashed them upward, her nose creasing sharply just above the tip.

"Finally, thank god!" Steph blurted as she heard a knock on her front door. She gave her tickly nose another upward rub with her palm as she stood and headed for the entryway. Having long since gotten used to them, she paid no attention to the dozens of tiny eyes watching her from the shadows. In the three years since Steph started sneezing the little things out of her nose, she'd grown accustomed to them. Their eerie stares used to unnerve her to no end, but eventually she realized that they never did anything harmful. Before too long, she even started to think of them as her only companions, especially since she decided to lock herself away in her inherited estate.

Steph flung the front door open as soon as she reached it, and she smiled when she saw her usual delivery boy standing outside. He smiled back, bowing his head for a second and handing a pizza box to the solitary customer.

"Hey, Stephanie," he said, giving a little wave with his free hand. "Enjoy."

"Please, call me Steph," she responded with a laugh, accepting the box.

"Sorry, I always forget," the delivery boy said, beginning to blush slightly as he laughed at himself. Steph had already paid with her credit card over the internet, but she decided to give the young man a tip anyway. After setting her pizza box down inside, she fished around in her wallet and handed the delivery boy a few bills.

"Oh, you really don't have to..."

"Please, I insist," Steph interrupted, holding up a hand. They exchanged a smile again, but Steph suddenly clenched her eyes shut and wrinkled her nose. She wasn't about to sneeze, but the sudden tickle in her sinuses was too strong for her to ignore.

"Ugh, damn!" Steph whined as she mashed her nostrils upward with the palm of her hand. Her hand hovered under her nose for a second as she paused to sniff a few times, and then she pressed her nostrils up again.

"You okay?" the delivery boy laughed as he watched Steph struggle with her nose. After giving her nostrils a third vertical rub, Steph coughed once and nodded, putting on a strained smile.

"Yeah," she choked, coughing once more, "I must have allergies or something."

"Well, I hope you feel better soon," the young man said, smiling warmly. Steph nodded in thanks, and then she pressed her palm to her nostrils yet again and did her best to plug up her nose. Now she felt a sneeze coming on, and she wasn't about to let one loose in front of someone.

"Th-thanks for the pizza! Have a nice night!"

The delivery boy waved goodbye, and Steph quickly shut the door. She felt a little rude slamming the door on him, but she found that preferable to letting someone see what happened when she sneezed. Turning away from the door, Steph took a shrill breath and removed her hand from her nose.

"Aaahhhhh... KNSSS!"

Steph felt herself blow out another cloudy black orb, but this one had already darted away by the time she opened her eyes. Giving a quick shrug, Steph carried her pizza back into the living room and set it down on the table in front of her favorite chair. Flipping the box open, Steph grabbed the nearest slice and began to chow down. That delivery boy was probably the closest thing she had to a real friend anymore. Maybe someday she'd invite him inside, but she just didn't feel ready to show anyone her secret yet.

Four years ago, just as Steph was starting college, her parents were killed in a car accident. This left her almost completely alone, her only surviving relatives being her maternal grandparents. They were more than willing to finance the rest of Steph's time in college, but only one year later, they too passed away. Having no other descendants to care for, they left Steph everything they had, from their small fortune to both of their homes. Steph only knew about their first house, a small but cozy home in the suburbs. She'd visited it a dozen times as a child, but she never knew her grandparents owned the estate she currently lived in until they left it to her.

Steph's original plan was to live in the smaller house, but almost as soon as she moved into the mansion to explore it, she found herself unable to leave. Not because she physically couldn't exit, but because something happened to her. After the first time Steph slept in the mansion, she began to sneeze frequently, and every time she did, one of those little black clouds always came out of her nose. Fearing the worst, Steph sealed herself away and severed all ties with her former friends. At first she thought she was going insane, though nowadays she was certain the little watchful blobs were real. Even still, Steph knew no one would believe her if she tried to tell the truth, and as benign as the creatures appeared to be, she didn't trust them not to make a mess if they were brought into the public eye.

"Want some?" Steph asked with a full mouth as she reached for another slice of pizza. She glanced around at the dozens of eyes watching her, but as usual they didn't respond in any way. Shrugging to herself, Steph stuffed the next slice of pizza into her mouth and chewed unceremoniously.

"You guys are a great crowd, really," she grumbled, wiping at the corners of her mouth with a napkin. As she reached for a third slice, Steph suddenly stopped with her hand hovering over the pizza.

"Oh, not again..." she whined, wrinkling her nose up tightly. Already knowing this tickle would make her sneeze, Steph made no effort to hold it back. The less time she wasted, the sooner she could get back to her pizza.


This sneeze was a little bigger than usual, but Steph wasn't terribly surprised. The little cloudy orbs already came in so many different sizes. Expecting to see another harmless ball of fluff floating away from her, she was completely unprepared for what she found when she opened her eyes. Steph's heart skipped a beat as she saw a large, dark cloud in the exact shape of a human body sitting in the chair across from her. It was like the first time all over again; Steph could only feel confused and terrified. She didn't even rub her nose, leaving the leftover tickle to grow until it made her sneeze again.


This time, Steph immediately mashed her nostrils upward with her palm to make sure she wouldn't sneeze a third time. Sniffing twice, she slid the side of her index finger under her nose and flicked the tip up a few times; her solution for when ignoring the tickle wasn't enough but a full-on vertical rub was overkill.. Steph hoped the figure sitting across from her would simply be gone when she looked back at it, but she knew that was too much to ask for. It was still there, and it looked different somehow. The figure now looked more whole and less cloudy. Steph could only assume that the lack of another little creature meant her second sneeze somehow strengthened this humanoid entity. She had no reason to believe it was malicious, but that hardly brought her any comfort.

"Uh... Hi?" Steph said, waving one hand weakly at the figure. She couldn't make out any eyes, but at the same time she felt it was staring back at her. The only features Steph could discern were the vague outline of hair around its head, and a nose protruding from its face. After staring blankly for a few seconds, the figure simply stood up from its chair and walked away without a word. Steph felt a mixture of relief and paranoia as she watched her new guest leave the room. She was glad it was gone, but she knew it was still around somewhere.

After taking a moment to calm down, Steph went back to eating her pizza. She had never been much of a stress-eater, but the familiar taste of the food definitely made her feel better. By the time she had the last slice in her hand, she'd almost forgotten about the humanoid figure wandering around her house. However, once she finished, Steph looked up at the doorway leading to the hall to see the figure standing there once again. She was a little startled, but she tried to remain calm. The figure still didn't seem terribly threatening, but then Steph noticed a long, sharp feather clutched in its right hand.

"Can... Can I help you?" Steph asked as the figure began to approach. She intently watched the way it walked; it had long legs and it took delicate, feminine strides. Above all, it moved with a purpose. Steph forced herself to smile as the figure sat down in the chair across from her again, but then she suddenly found herself unable to move. Her smile immediately disappeared as she struggled to free her hands from whatever invisible bindings held them. Now, Steph was terrified again. She looked back up at the figure to see if it was somehow causing her distress, but all she could see was the feather creeping toward her face.

The shadowy figure delicately held the stalk of the feather between its thumb and forefinger. Steph's eyes crossed as she watched the sharp tip of the feather disappear underneath her nose, and then she scrunched up her face as she felt it brush teasingly along her septum. In that moment, she knew exactly what her guest was going to do.

"Please stop," was all Steph could manage to say, but the figure ignored her entirely. Steph twitched her nose sharply from side to side was the feather waved back and forth under it, but subconsciously she already knew there was nothing she could do to save herself. Then, the feather drew back slightly, allowing Steph some breathing room. Her long, curved nostrils flared in anticipation as the feather lingered underneath them. Deciding to show no mercy, the figure reached the feather in for the kill.

Steph tried to squirm as she felt the tip of the feather begin to trace the edges of her right nostril, but she was still stuck in place. Luckily, all this tickling made her do was scrunch up her nose; she didn't have to sneeze yet. However, it didn't take the shadowy figure long to arrive at the same conclusion. Before Steph could take another breath, she found the feather being slowly, torturously pushed up into her nostril. She cringed, feeling an agonizing tickle fill the right side of her nose. Just when she thought it couldn't get any worse, the figure began to lightly twirl the feather around, leaving nothing un-tickled.

"Aaahhhh..." Steph gasped, knowing she wouldn't be able to last much longer. She stared intently at the figure as her eyes began to close, managing one last pleading breath.

"Please! Stop!" she begged, her eyes squeezing shut. The unbearable tickling was making her eyes water, and a single tear fell from the corner of her right eye as she scrunched up her face. Suddenly, the figure removed the feather from Steph's nose. For a moment she thought it had heeded her request, but the soft bristles sliding through her nasal passages only made the tickling worse.


Steph managed to open her eyes for a split second before snapping them shut again to sneeze. What she saw was more than a little unsettling: the shadowy figure had put the feather aside and leaned in even closer than before. Its head was tipped back, and despite the fact that its entire body was already dark, Steph could make out two black voids in the underside of its nose.


A thick, dark mist flowed out of Steph's nostrils as she sneezed, and with a sound more like a howling wind than a sniff, the shadowy figure inhaled the cloud into its own nose. As she opened her eyes, she saw that the figure's body had once again become more whole. She could now clearly differentiate its hair from its skin, though its nose was still the only visible facial feature. After staring at Steph for a second, the figure once again stood and left the room in silence.

In an attempt to make absolutely sure she wouldn't sneeze again, Steph desperately mashed her nostrils upward with the palm of her hand. The bridge of her nose creased so sharply it almost hurt, but the sensation was preferable to the agonizing tickle that still filled her nasal passages. After pausing to sniff a few times, Steph pressed the tip of her nose into her hand and began to vigorously rub it up and down. She didn't stop even as her nostrils began to make an audible squishing sound, and not even when she felt a bit of wetness smear on her palm. Steph only stopped rubbing once her nose was numb, immune to any more tickling.

After wiping her damp palm on her pants, Steph pulled her feet up onto the cushion of her chair and wrapped her arms around herself. She sniffled wetly, feeling like she was going to cry, but she told herself it was because her nose was stuffed up. Feeling a slight tickle crop up in her nostrils, Steph wiped the underside of her nose on her left knee. She snuffled, pressed her nose into her knee again, and then finally forced herself to stand up. Not sure what else to do, Steph headed upstairs to take a shower. That usually made her feel better when she was upset.

Steph didn't even bother washing herself. She simply stood under the column of hot water for what felt like hours, leaning against the smooth, tiled wall for support. Eventually, Steph felt herself getting pruney, and she decided enough was enough. She shut off the water and grabbed a towel, vigorously rubbing her hair dry as she stepped out of the shower. Even though she lived alone, she still took a moment to wrap the towel around her body to cover up before heading to her bedroom. However, when Steph looked up again, she found the shadowy figure standing right in front of her, the long feather in its hand again.

"I said stop!" Steph bellowed, drawing back her hands. She tried to shove the figure with all her might, but to her surprise, her hands simply passed through its body. Steph's momentum carried her forward, and even though she managed to stop herself from slamming into the wall, she fell into her bathtub. After rolling onto her back, Steph found herself unable to move, feeling the same invisible chains holding her arms and legs.

"Leave me alone!" Steph pleaded with all the courage she could muster, but the shadowy figure didn't seem to notice or care. It knelt down on the floor next to the tub, and then as it leaned in close, Steph almost thought it looked like it was smiling. With Steph powerless to resist, the figure gently stroked the tip of the feather up and down the young woman's septum, her long nostrils flaring as they began to tickle. Steph and the figure both knew this sort of tickling wouldn't make her sneeze; it was as if the figure was simply teasing her, getting her ready for what was to come.

Steph scrunched up her face as tightly as she could as the feather slid horizontally across the underside of her nose. A few of the soft bristles reached up into her nostrils, giving Steph the faintest feeling of a building sneeze. After drawing back for a second, the figure returned to its usual effective method of slipping the tip of the feather into one of Steph's nostrils.

"Aaahhhhh..." Steph heaved, feeling the feather waving around inside her nose. Her eyes had already begun to water, and she could tell her sneezes were coming on even more quickly than before.


As soon as the thought crossed her mind, Steph let out a small sneeze. She heard the shadowy figure inhale again, but this time it wasn't satisfied with only one. It kept tickling, pushing the feather deeper and deeper into Steph's nostril until it began to brush against areas never before touched by anything but air.

"Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh..." Steph took in a shrill gasp, unable to control herself. She frequently made her sneezes more dramatic on purpose, but this time her intense reaction was completely natural.


She sneezed twice in a row, a rare occurrence for Steph. The howling sound of the shadowy figure inhaling once again filled her ears, and then the feather finally receded from her nostril. Feeling her motor skills return, Steph immediately pressed her palm to her nostrils and furiously mashed them up and down, side to side, until her whole nose was numb again; anything to stop the tickling. Then, she finally opened her eyes, what she saw chilled her to the core.

The shadowy figure had almost completely taken shape. Steph's three sneezes were enough to fully define its facial features, and what scared Steph was the fact that she recognized them. It was her. The figure's whole body was still covered by a dark shadow, but Steph clearly recognized her own eyes, nose and mouth. The figure had even assumed Steph's short, unkempt hairstyle. The last of the mist Steph had sneezed out disappeared into the figure's nostrils, now long, curved openings like Steph's own rather than the black voids they had been before. Giving Steph a mischievous smile, the figure briefly rubbed a finger back and forth under its nose, and then it stood and left the bathroom without a word.

Steph expected herself to be terrified, but after what just happened, she was more angry than scared. She wasn't sure if her doppelganger was actually evil, and perhaps she would never know, but now Steph knew she had to get rid of it regardless. How she was going to get rid of it remained a mystery, but Steph knew it had to be done. Putting on a bathrobe as quickly as she could, Steph headed to her bedroom, hoping some sleep would help her come up with a plan.

As usual, dozens of little white eyes watched Steph as she walked down the hall. They still never made a move, save for turning to follow Steph as she passed, but they seemed different somehow. Steph always knew they were watching her every move, but this time it seemed like they were actually interested to see what she would do next. She simply shook her head as she stepped into the master bedroom. A few of the little orbs were sitting on top of her bed, but they immediately fled as Steph sat down.

After swinging her legs up onto the bed, Steph looked over at her bedside table. The top was bare save for a clock, but she remembered what was in the drawer. She hadn't needed them since her first week in the mansion, but Steph was glad she still had a bottle of sleeping pills. They were long-expired by now, but they were the best Steph had to work with. She knew she needed sleep, but she was just too angry and wound-up to get any rest. Sighing to herself, Steph uncapped the bottle and deposited a pill into her hand.

"If I die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take," Steph said to herself as she stared down at the pill, thinking more of Metallica than the prayer. Tipping her head back, she popped the pill into her mouth and swallowed it dry. Finally, Steph laid down on her bed and closed her eyes. Seconds later, she sat bolt upright as she felt a gentle tickle on her septum, but to her relief she was still alone. Assuming there must have just been some dust in the air, Steph touched the side of her index finger to the underside of her nose and flicked it up a few times. After getting rid of the tickle, Steph laid down again and tried her best to clear her mind and sleep.

Even with the sleeping pill, Steph laid awake for what felt like an eternity before finally falling asleep. She wasn't sure how long it had been, but it was better than nothing. Unfortunately, what sleep she did get didn't last for long. Steph awoke sometime later to find her dark doppelganger sitting on her belly, keeping her pinned to the bed.

"Get out of my house!" Steph ordered. She struggled to raise her hands, but once again she found herself unable to move her limbs. The shadowy figure above her smiled, holding up the feather between its thumb and forefinger again.

"Oh, I will," the figure said in Steph's own voice, "I just need a little more from you first."

Steph cringed as she felt the tip of the feather touch the base of her nose, and she squirmed as she felt it slide teasingly up her septum. That already tickled horribly, but this time, Steph was defiant. She concentrated as hard as she could on holding back her sneeze, if only to waste her doppelganger's time. However, she knew she'd have to hold out for quite a long time if she wanted to break the shadowy figure's resolve.

"Come on, sneeze," it teased, gently wiggling the feather up and down Steph's septum. "You know you want to."

"N-no!" Steph stammered, squeezing her eyes shut. She twitched her nose sharply to the left, allowing her nostrils to escape the feather if only for a second. When the figure moved to tickle her again, she twitched her nose to the right, and then back and forth as it continued to follow her. Steph kept wiggling her nose for as long as she could, until her facial muscles began to tire. Still, the figure seemed unfazed. It inserted the sharp tip of the feather into Steph's left nostril and gently waved it up and down.

"This is going to tickle so much," the doppelganger said, an almost seductive tone to its voice. Steph couldn't remember the last time she'd spoken to someone like that. Continuing to wave the feather up and down, the shadowy figure began to slowly push the tickly object deep into Steph's nose. The young woman gasped, both of her eyes watering.

"Aaaaaahhhhh..." A pleasured smile spread across the figure's face as Steph's chest heaved. Realizing her resolve was slipping, Steph concentrated even harder on keeping herself under control.

"Don't deny it, you've got a sneeze coming on."

"I won't!"

"But I can see it in your face. Just a few more seconds, and then... Ah... Ah-Choo!"

The doppelganger faked a sneeze as it pushed the feather even farther into Steph's nostril. By now she could almost feel it reaching back into her throat; only the hard stalk of the feather was still visible outside her nose. Steph coughed once as she felt the very tip of the feather tickle her throat. Then, to Steph's great relief, the feather suddenly stopped moving. Slowly opening her eyes, Steph looked up at the shadowy figure to see it smiling evilly.

"Say 'gesundheit.'"

Before Steph could protest, the shadowy figure slowly, torturously twisted the feather out of Steph's nose, tickling every inch of the nasal passages running through her left nostril. Tickly tears streamed from Steph's eyes, and as much as she wanted to stop herself, she knew she just couldn't. She began to gasp and wheeze with deep inhalations as her will to not sneeze finally broke.

"Aaaaaahhhhhh... Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh... Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..."

The doppelganger closed its eyes and tipped its head back in anticipation. As hard as Steph fought to hold in her sneeze, the shadowy figure didn't have to wait for long.


A dark cloud surged out of Steph's nostrils, filling the air between her and the doppelganger. The figure began to inhale deeply, steadily filling itself with more of its essence as Steph's nose pumped it into the air. Even after her sneeze was over, Steph felt too weak to open her eyes. She heard the sounds of sniffing and snuffling continue for a few seconds as the dark figure inhaled every last bit of the black cloud, and without so much as a closing taunt, it leapt from the bed and quickly left the room. Steph began to cough as her strength returned, and after a few more seconds she finally opened her eyes.

To her surprise, Steph found a tissue box sitting on the foot of her bed. It certainly hadn't been there before, and she doubted her doppelganger had left it for her. Looking up toward the ceiling, she saw a few pairs of little eyes looking down at her.

"Thanks," Steph said with a smile as she reached for a tissue. Folding it over once, Steph placed the soft paper square under her nose and took a deep breath. Holding nothing back, Steph gave a huge, honking blow into the tissue. It wasn't wet, and when Steph inspected the tissue afterward, the only signs she had used the tissue at all were a pair of black lines in the shape of her nostrils. The one advantage to Steph's inexplicable nasal condition was that she almost never had to blow her nose. On the rare occasion she did, the only products were the same nostril-shaped spots on the paper.

Holding the tissue in one hand, Steph gently wiped it back and forth under her nose. Then, shifting the paper between her fingertips, she mashed her nostrils upward with the heel of her palm. She let out a sigh, looking back up at the ceiling, and to her surprise one of the little black orbs was making its way toward her. It made no sound, and it barely seemed to do anything at all, but its presence made Steph happy somehow. She smiled at the small creature, and then it suddenly disappeared under her nose. Before Steph could stop herself, she inhaled.

Steph felt as if someone had shoved a pair of cotton balls up her nostrils and then pulled them all the way through her nasal passages. She coughed, but the feeling disappeared before it could reach her throat. Placing a hand on her chest, she coughed again before realizing what she'd done.

"Oh god, I'm so sorry!" she blurted, shoving two fingers horizontally under her nose. However, when she looked up at the other little orbs, they were still watching her. None of them appeared to be terribly bothered by what she'd done; if anything they still looked friendlier than usual. Steph pondered this for a moment, and then she suddenly had an idea. Lowering her fingers slightly, Steph sniffed. She felt a bit of suction on her hand, and a smile spread across her face. Now she knew what she had to do.

As soon as she regained her full strength, Steph shot out of bed. She pulled a T-shirt on and then tore out of her bedroom, intent on finding the dark figure. She searched every room on the second floor to no avail, and then she headed for the grand staircase. Jumping from the top step, Steph slid down the banister and jogged to a stop when she reached the ground floor. From there, all she had to do was look out one of the entryway windows. The doppelganger was outside, making its way down the road leading away from the mansion.

"Stop right there!" Steph bellowed as she flung the front door open. For the first time in three years, she stepped out of the mansion. She began to sprint down her driveway, her bare feet pounding on the pavement. Although it appeared to ignore her at first, the doppelganger eventually turned back to Steph as she ran down the road. It didn't bother quickening its pace.

As Steph ran, a strong wind began to blow through the trees around the mansion. Dandelion seeds took to the air, floating across the road in clumps. A few of them tickled Steph's nose, but she quickly swatted them away and mashed her nostrils upward to put a stop to the tingling sensation. The dark figure, on the other hand, finally began to show weakness.


To Steph's surprise, the doppelganger sneezed as the dandelion seeds tickled its nose. It made the same sound and the same motions as Steph did when she sneezed, but the dark figure's mimicry was nothing surprising to her anymore. As the doppelganger sneezed, a bit of its essence was blown out through its nostrils. It immediately inhaled the substance to reabsorb it, but Steph had seen enough to know what she had to do.

While the doppelganger was busy sneezing, Steph managed to catch up with it. She lunged forward, tackling the figure to the ground. Now that it was fully corporeal, it was also finally solid. Without giving the figure time to react, Steph grabbed a fully-bloomed dandelion from the edge of the road and shoved it up the doppelganger's right nostril. The figure began to squirm on the ground, making the same pre-sneeze face that Steph would. Smiling triumphantly, Steph tore another dandelion from the ground and forced it into the figure's left nostril. Grabbing both exposed dandelion stalks, Steph twisted them and then pulled them free of the figure's nose, pleased to see that each and every seed had been left behind inside.

"How does that feel!?" she shouted, hurling the bare flowers to the ground.

"Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh..." A hitched breath was the only response the doppelganger could give. Its chest heaved and its face contorted, but both it and Steph knew it was only a matter of time now.

"Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh... Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh..."

Steph exhaled, preparing to breathe in every last drop of the doppelganger's essence. If she let any of it go, the process would simply continue. Finally, she closed her eyes just as the figure drew its last breath.


The doppelganger burst into a black cloud, and Steph immediately began to inhale as much of it as she could, returning it to wherever it had come from within her nose. She had to pause to catch her breath a few times, exhaling through her mouth just to be safe, but she didn't stop until all of it was gone. Finally, Steph collapsed on her back just as the last of the dark substance disappeared into her nostrils. She coughed a few times, and then she finally started to relax. Steph smiled to herself, but then she suddenly sat upright again as a frightening thought occurred to her.

Snatching a floating dandelion seed out of the air, Steph began to tickle her own nose. She had to be sure that the doppelganger wouldn't just come back again the next time she sneezed. Her nose was still sensitive in the wake of the last few hours' worth of sneezes, and it didn't take long before Steph managed to let out a small one


Much to her relief, Steph watched as a little black orb floated out from under her nose. She collapsed on her back again and began to laugh, watching the little creature float up into the sky. Then, Steph suddenly sat upright again as another frightening thought crossed her mind.

"I'm hungry."

Steph's stomach rumbled as she waited just inside her front door. Earlier she had been mad about only getting three hours of sleep, but on the plus side that meant her favorite late-night Chinese restaurant was still open. She'd placed her order about forty minutes ago, and that meant her food would be arriving soon. Steph smiled to herself as she saw a pair of headlights appear through the window, but she felt a tickle in her nose before the car arrived at her door.


Another little orb burst from Steph's nose as she sneezed. She smiled after it for a second, and then a knock came at the door before she could even rub her nose. Reaching one hand toward the doorknob and the other toward her nostrils, Steph prepared to receive her second meal for the evening.

"Thanks for coming by so late," Steph said, squeezing her eyes shut as she mashed her nostrils upward with her palm.

"Don't worry about it," a familiar voice said.

Steph opened her eyes, peering over the side of her hand. It was the same delivery boy from before, only this time wearing a different uniform and giving her a bag of Chinese food rather than a pizza. The fact that it was the very same person startled Steph so much that she let out a little half-second scream. The delivery boy took a step back and began to laugh.

"Sorry! Didn't mean to scare you," he said, holding up a hand defensively.

"No, it's okay," Steph responded, gently flicking the tip of her nose up with her finger. "I thought you worked at the pizza place."

"I do, from six to ten. Then I work the Chinese place from eleven to two."

They smiled at each other for a second, and then Steph burst into hysterical laughter. It might have just been because she was so tired, but somehow that was the funniest thing she'd heard in years. The delivery boy began to laugh too, and they kept it up for a few minutes until Steph was out of breath. She let out a deep sigh, leaning against the door frame, and then she gave the young man a shy smile.

"Hey, um, do you want to come inside?"

The delivery boy smiled, shook his head, and then looked right into Steph's eyes.

"That sounds great, but I have a better idea. Do you want to go out?"


And that's a wrap! I hope you all liked it! I'm probably not going to do a sequel to this exact story, but I'm rather fond of the concept, so I may end up exploring it more in the future.

I was debating saving this story for after Christmas, but I decided to just go ahead and throw it up here now. Speaking of Christmas, however, let's just say The Best Is Yet To Come.

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Oooh, more Blah stories :bounce:

This is such a wonderful concept. A seriously adorable story.

To her surprise, Steph found a tissue box sitting on the foot of her bed. It certainly hadn't been there before, and she doubted her doppelganger had left it for her. Looking up toward the ceiling, she saw a few pairs of little eyes looking down at her.

"Thanks," Steph said with a smile as she reached for a tissue."

This is quite possibly the cutest line in a story I have ever read ^_^

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The shadowy figure had almost completely taken shape. Steph's three sneezes were enough to fully define its facial features, and what scared Steph was the fact that she recognized them. It was her. The figure's whole body was still covered by a dark shadow, but Steph clearly recognized her own eyes, nose and mouth. The figure had even assumed Steph's short, unkempt hairstyle.

This is the creepiest thing. xD I really want to know more about how these things ended up taking up residence in a human's body so I hope you write more about this and expound on it, because it's such a neat concept.

Also, I want one of those orb things as a pet.

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What an awesome story! For some reason I'm imagining the orbs to be something like the little things in Totoro and Spirited Away, but smoother, more like the blobs in World of Goo. Adorable!

I love your imagination and the twist as Steph takes control of the situation, with a little help from the Orbs!

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Look at me leaving a comment, Blah :P

Your stories are the things dreams are made of. The feather torture.... I can't even.... asdfghjkl;

You are lethal and should be contained for the good of mankind- we shall chanel your genius into something productive like world peace. Alternatively, you can just continue writing these awesome stories, that works too.

Look, you went and made me ramble, good job. You story is amazing and I love it. One of the reeaallllyyyyy good ones.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Golly. what a fantastic idea. You really must let your imagination off the lead again very soon. In fact, having seen Mark Gatiss's programme about MR James the other day, I wonder if the strange dark emanations in the mansion may have a touch of the MRJ about them......

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