Palathophobia

From The Abyss, Samhain 1999 edition, vol. 1.8

The sweat gathering on his forehead reached critical mass and surged downward, pausing briefly in his eyebrows before penetrating through them into his eyes. The package was still staring at him, twin packing labels boring unblinkingly into his brain. With the hall closet already full from the accumulation of previous years, the thought of having to find a place for yet another of those things held his mind captive, magnifying the usual dread to a paralyzing size. The closet had been perfect. Each year he’d been able to open the door once, toss the new tin of gelatinous horror inside, close the door, and forget about it for 364 days. Now this new abomination would have to go somewhere more exposed – under the bed? on the top shelf above the refrigerator? – where his denial-soaked mind might accidentally let him look one day. Ever since he’d left home for college his grandmother had done this to him, always the same lavender card, decorated with hand drawn apples, pears, pineapples, and various indistinguishable citrus objects, and the words “Straight from my kitchen to your mouth. Merry Christmas!” It was definitely not intended as punishment; it was done out of love, and she couldn’t know that her expression of that love threw a deep creeping pall over his holidays. She couldn’t know that he had Palathophobia, the fear of fruitcake.

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