As far as teleporter accidents went, it could’ve been worse.
That didn’t stop Bigelow from cursing his carelessness. Why did he accept the crate of vegetables from his co-worker’s garden? Why didn’t put them on a table instead of place where he could accidentally bump the box with his foot and send a stray onion rolling across the tiles? Why, God, why did skip that last check of the transmission pad?
Hindsight was useless. This is who he was now. While he would’ve preferred a hardy winter squash for his unplanned molecular hybridization, at least his genetic structure hadn’t been mixed with a beefsteak tomato. His bulbous shivered at the idea of his head turning gray and rancid after a few days.
An onion, at least, would keep — as long as he confined himself to cool, dry places.
Gloria did not handle the news well. There were tears in her eyes when first beheld his new form. Bigelow wanted to believe it was because he accidentally peeled himself shaving, but he knew the truth. He grabbed a few things from the house and took up residence in a rented root cellar by the warehouse district.
It had only been a few days, but he had already given up on finding a cure for his condition. The frantic calculations and single-minded hope had given way to apathy, which in turn gave way to placid acceptance.
And then there were the dreams. Unearthly visions of strange blossoms floating on the surface of a white viscous sea. Of being separated by gleaming silver planes and joining a greater whole. Of swimming in a pool of hot grease in preparation for communion with some red-dripping slice of dead flesh.
Each night the dreams grew more vivid, as if Bigelow was slowly but surely reaching some form of apotheosis. The idea terrified him, and yet he trembled in anticipation at its arrival.