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Vodka And Sneezing (Castle Rock s 2, Annie)


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Apparently I like taking scenes from shows and tweak and twist them into fetishy scenes. Sorrynotsorry, I guess. :whistle: 


It’s not like Annie isn’t aware of how misplaced she is in a bar; she doesn’t need the weird looks she gets from the locals to tell her that. But she has always been misplaced, wherever she’s been, her whole life, so that doesn’t matter.

The sound level isn’t very loud; in fact it’s rather pleasing. Some soft rock is playing, but not so loud you have to raise your voice to make yourself heard. It’s not Carly Simon, exactly, but it’s nice not to only hear her own restless mind. Some guys are playing pool, but most just sit around with their beer, talking or just watching the games on the TV in silence. The lighting is dim, but not too dim. The air smells of cigarette smoke and beer, but not overwhelmingly so. The atmosphere isn’t threatening, it’s actually a little bit soothing. So Annie (rather awkwardly) climbs onto one of the chairs by the bar and pretends not to notice the eyeroll from the bartender. Annie knows that eyeroll, has seen it wherever she’s been since she was about five, and it means ‘you don’t belong here, don’t you see it yourself?’. But the bartender sounds nice enough when she asks Annie what she’ll have. Annie has no idea. She has never had alcohol before. She wasn’t of drinking age when she found herself raising a child all alone, and it hardly seemed smart to try it once she did reach drinking age. Especially since she already struggled with mental issues including hallucinations and poor impulse control. Adding alcohol to the messed-up mix that is her brain has never seemed like a good idea, but tonight she no longer cares. She’s not about to reveal to this cynical-looking small-town bartender that at age 34 she doesn’t know a single thing about alcohol - except that it kills germs - so she says the first thing that comes to mind;


The bartender looks sceptical and Annie feels like she must explain herself.

“It was Mama’s drink.”

Now amusement has mixed with the scepticism, but the bartender takes out a glass and the bottle.

“On the rocks?” she asks. Annie doesn’t know exactly what that means, but she has heard it in movies and in audiobooks and it sounds good. It sounds like something people order if they’re confident and know what they’re doing. Annie would love to be like that, so she says yes. On the rocks turns out to mean with ice. So why don’t they just say so?

Annie takes several sips of the clear liquid and tries not to let her face reveal how vile it tastes. She assumes that bartender girl can tell anyway, because she rolls her eyes again, but Annie pushes her awkwardness aside and focuses on the drink.

It may taste vile, but the effect is quite pleasant. It numbs her frantic mind and even makes her tense body relax. The small cuts on her face hurt less, too. She empties the drink in minutes and gestures to her empty glass.

“One more, please.” She even manages a smile. It’s easier to smile now. And the vodka doesn’t taste as bad as before, so she gulps it down in just a few gulps before she orders a third.

“Better slow down a bit there, girl,” the bartender says as she pours Annie a third drink and adds more ice despite the first batch not having melted yet. Annie isn’t savvy enough to realise this is to water down the booze, but she takes the advice, because she can feel the effects hit her harder now. She feels dizzy and flushed. She’s also starting to feel congested and itchy.

She rubs her nose and sniffles, but the itch is persistent, and she gets her arm up to sneeze into it.


Normally she would try to stifle when she’s around people, but it’s just too strong, and it tickles all the way.

It still tickles.


She rubs her nose again, much harder, really scrubbing at it with her knuckles. She sniffles, and while she feels quite stuffed up, the sniffles are wet. And they set off the need to sneeze again.

“Heh-ISSCH! Ah-ISSCHew!”

It feels a lot like allergies, but there’s nothing in bloom that she’s allergic to, and while this place seems a bit rundown, it doesn’t seem to be dusty. So she concludes that she might be coming down with a cold. She was out in the pouring rain looking for Joy for hours yesterday, and while being out in the rain itself doesn’t make you ill – she’s a nurse, so naturally she knows a thing or two about illnesses – if she had an infection brewing in her system already, that body temperature decrease on top of her mental and physical stress could have been the final nudge to failure for an overworked immune system. But she doesn’t feel sick. No sore throat, no cough, no headache. Just that annoying, relentless itch in her nose, the congestion, the sniffling. It isn’t that uncommon for her to get colds with mainly nasal symptoms, but not only. Her colds always start with a sore throat, no exceptions. It seems odd that it would change all of a sudden.

She sniffles again, then turns her focus back to her drink. The ice cubes - rocks, she thinks, why on Earth would you call them rocks? – clink against the sides of the glass when she moves it. It’s a cheery sound, but Annie isn’t feeling cheery. She’s in pain, emotionally and physically.

And she still needs to sneeze.


The bartender – at this point Annie knows her name is Heather, someone else called her that – takes pity on her after a particularly intense sneezing fit and hands her several napkins.

“This happen often?” she asks. Annie gives her an unfocused, bleary look. She’s getting quite inebriated at this point.

“Only when I’m allergic.” She blows her nose. “But I don’t know what I’m allergic to here. Hih-EESSHHuh! ESSHHew! Heh-iSSCHew!” She gets enough time to take two hitching breaths before she bends over and sneezes again. “ISSCHEW! Hih-ESSSHEW!”

Heather points to Annie’s glass.

“There’s your culprit. Some people are literally allergic to alcohol.”

Annie isn’t sure if that’s true or if she’s just joking, but she has no plans to quit yet. The problem is that neither has the need to sneeze.

She rubs her nose furiously. The edges of her nostrils are a deep, glowing red, and the wings of her nose crinkle as the itch once more transforms into that prickling need to sneeze. She considers finding the bathroom, but she feels too unsteady to dare the endeavour. She feels too unsteady to even think about getting down from this cookadoodie chair!

So instead of getting away, she just leans forward into her crossed arms, as if she plans on taking a nap against the bar (and it’s not completely out of the question either; she’s drunk enough that it’s very possible she’ll pass out soon), and surrenders to the teasing allergic fit, just letting the sneezes spill into her sleeves uninhibited. Her slender body shudders with each violent, messy explosion. In between the fits, she sits up straight (but less and less straight with each time, frankly) and drinks some more, then she curls back into herself and sneezes again.

“Bless you,” says a masculine voice next to her, sometime later. She looks up, not caring that her red, irritated nose is streaming, sees Ace on the chair next to hers, and snorts with laughter. He laughs with her as he orders a glass of wine.

“I’m not sorry for what I did to you, you know,” she says and sneezes again, still laughing through the sneeze. She takes the napkins and wipes at her nose, more as a symbolic attempt than actually cleaning herself up.

“Why in the world would you be sorry?” Ace says with a little smile, sipping his red wine. “It was just a dream you had, wasn’t it?”

Annie has discarded the napkins and wipes her nose on the sleeve of her blouse instead. She has spent about half an hour or so sneezing into it, so it’s not much drier than the napkins. She empties her glass again – she has lost count how many drinks she’s had, but it’s a lot – and shakes her head as the sneezy sensation returns again, her half-closed eyes closing completely, nostrils flaring wildly as she gives in to the urge. This sneeze is very harsh and messy, and she doesn’t cover, only aims the sneeze down the front of her blouse.


“Bless you,” Ace says again. “You’ve had quite a lot to drink, how about I walk you home?”

Annie looks at the empty glass, considers yet another drink, but decides to stop there. She’s tired. Mostly from sneezing so much. She nods, slides down from the chair and stumbles backwards when she tries to put on her jacket. Eventually she succeeds in putting the jacket on, but it’s askew and she doesn’t care.

She pays what she owes, gives the wrong bills twice because she’s so drunk her vision has doubled, but eventually she’s ready to leave.

“The thing about that dream is that the ending didn’t make any sense,” Annie says as they walk towards the Stargazer lodge. She is all over the street, and almost half-asleep as well as completely wasted, and still sneezing every ten seconds.

Ace reaches out and grasps her jacket and steers her back onto Main Street when she makes the wrong turn, without commenting on it.

“How so?”

“Well, for starters,” she slurs, “I don’t even remember waking up! HehISSSHew!”

When they get back to her cabin, Annie has stopped sneezing, but the cool air hasn’t sobered her up at all, and when Ace helps her to get to the couch, she passes out altogether. He drapes a blanket over her and gently caresses her cheek.

You will be the perfect vessel, Annie. Soon.

When he leaves her, Annie begins to snore, unaware of the fate that awaits her.




Edited by Chanel_no5
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