Fiction: Vomitman

By Ossian Houltzén 


You see yourself from above. A detachment. Passed out? Sleeping? It doesn’t matter. It’s Tuesday afternoon and you’re on the floor, naked. Inexplicably fetal. There’s bile—rapidly drying—in your hair. Your eyelids twitch, your sight stretches—panoramic, then it wraps around you. Compound eyes, a three-sixty view. The tiny little baby-man on the floor grows even smaller.

The apartment—what a mess, squalid. Bottles of some mystery liquid strewn about. Dust bunnies cavorting. Heaps of dirty clothes and dishes. Stacks of unopened letters—dues? The little baby-man shivers. Is he—you—waking up? No … no—fuck. He rolls over a puddle of technicolor vomit, completely homogenizing with it: Vomitman.

Another twitching of the eyelids, and you ascend through the roof. You’re dying, dead. This is death. The sun's blazing hot against the clear aquamarine sky. Summer’s tail end. A light breeze sends you soaring higher. The city sprawls beneath, its noises blaring: humans, birds, machines—all screaming. Eyelids twitch again, and you spiral further skyward. You see a jagged shoreline, concrete teeth gnawing at a familiar lake. The wind blows you toward it—toward another city, smaller. Then a suburb. Closer. A freshly cut lawn with rhododendrons and an apple tree. A house: beige, two stories. You recognize it—used to be yours.

A man sits on the porch, eating red grapes. Is it you, in the past—before Vomitman? No, but he used to be a part of you, months ago. Used to be yours. A calico cat hops onto his lap. He scratches her behind the ears. She purrs. Down the back. Used to be your cat, too. Your baby.

The man’s beautiful. Emerald eyes scintillating. Long, anthracite hair. Clean-shaven. Soft, tan skin smelling of bergamot and viola. You and he used to love each other, smiling and giggling. He liked it classic. Your chest pressed firmly against his shoulder blades. Slow and passionate. Lots of kissing.

With his fingertip, he traces a large scar across his left cheek. You see it vividly—your last night together. Your mercurial mind. Words were hurled, then plates. Then fists, all one-sided. A beatdown. You covered him in wounds, and then petals. It didn’t work that time. It never did, not really.

Your eyelids twitch, and your vision shifts—the scene dissolves into a white flash.

And to everyone's dismay, you awaken. You weren't supposed to. Supine on the floor, in familiar grime; saved, presumably, by puking. An intense pain surges through you—everything hurts. The headache is especially brutal. It’s dark outside. Inside, too. The apartment lights are on strike. You feel ill, start salivating. About to puke—again? You stumble into the bathroom.

And there, Vomitman awaits. He always has. A final confrontation. Bloodshot eyes. Ungroomed beard, sticky hair. Crusty and pale skin, sweating heavily. He reeks. You don’t notice it, though: the apartment smells worse. You press your forehead against his, it’s cold.

You growl at him; he leers at you. You press harder and harder until it hurts. Then, you take a step back and look at each other for a while. Moving back-and-forth, thinking about your next moves. Strategizing.

And then he starts weeping. It's guttural, awful. Embarrassing. Reflexively, you punch him, catching him off-guard. He punches back. Again. And again. The scuffle ends in a draw—the mirror shatters. And now your knuckles are bleeding, profusely. You stupid fucking piece of shit.

With a whimper, you kneel on the floor and glance up at the mirror. Then down at the shards between your thighs. Vomitman lingers—cracked and broken—but certainly still there. He cannot be undone. You cannot make him not you, only less you. Put a distance between you and yourself. And make it vast. It’s all you can do.

You have to.






Ossian Houltzén is a Laz-Swedish emerging poet & writer. He currently lives in Sweden. You can find him @ossianhz on X/Twitter.


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