Gannet was walking up the road looking at her phone.
It was a Saturday, the sun was shining and she was happy. The latest bubblegum classic was honeying her ears. Gannet was messaging.
"U comin over?"
"Yeah b 5 mins. Gettin candy."
It happened then. She didn't hear the screeching brakes or the burning tyres. It just happened.
The chocolate lorry lost control and mounted the kerb at 50 miles an hour. The front end ploughed into Gannet like a train and smashed her frail body against the candy store wall. It collided with a sickening splat and blood showered the two kids coming out with slushies, the blue ice flecked with crimson.
A shocked and distraught driver shook his head and alighted from the cab, the phone he'd been looking at still in his bruised hand. He staggered to the crushed cab grille and stopped dead.
He screamed in horror at the sight of Gannet mashed like a spud by his negligence. Her chest was pinned to the bricks and appeared to be now nothing, a flat void where the cab front was. Her arms had been hurled violently backwards and now dangled like string, her muscles dribbling down the window over the candyfloss sign, the bones thrashed to powder in bags of skin. The driver was appalled at these injuries but what made him spew his guts up was the girls face and what he'd done to it.
Instead of eyes, nose and a mouth, her phone had been pressed entirely into her skull like an iron, pushing her features into her head and replacing them with the device, now catastrophically lodged in her split cheek bones and burst eye sockets, Blood poured over the screen and keys like raspberry sauce.
The retching driver stood up straight and panting he stared at the atrocity in front of him again. There was no sound coming from the girl but suddenly the mobile's screen lit up. He could see type appear and he felt the bile rise again as he read the words behind the blood.
I'M GOIN TO FUCKIN KILL YOU!
The surgeon's did their best to save what they could. Everything beneath Gannet's waist was relatively intact and her legs were fine. Above the waist was irretrievably damaged. They had to amputate her string arms, scaffold her ribcage, plasticize her lungs, starch her organs and re-plumb all her piping.
But it was the phone jammed into her face that posed the biggest problem. The front of the thing had somehow stayed intact but after inserting a camera beneath her cheeks it was clear that the rear of the phone hadn't survived. Its back plate was shattered into smithereens, the battery was wedged tight between her lobes like a burnt toast and the simcard stood bisecting her nasal cavity. Most catastrophic of all was the circuit board. It had inserted itself deep into the brain tissue but still connected to the phone through its stretching wires. It was clear that to attempt to remove this from the brain would cause the girl irreparable damage and possible quadriplegia.
And so the phone was left on Gannet's head and she laid in a coma for a year. Over time the hospital staff referred to her as phoneface and as the months went she was almost forgotten in the children's ICU annexe, its high windows overlooking the candy store where the accident had happened.
The driver never admitted to being on his mobile and blamed his chocolate truck being overladen with wonky palettes of pralines at the sweet factory. He was ordered to go on a forklift precision course and that was that.
At first friends and family visited Gannet. At first they brought fruit and flowers but realised that there was nothing there. The girl was inside herself and not coming out for gifts. She was fed intravenously and turned every week like a spitroast. The visits petered out and the grapes withered in the bowl.
After about six months the driver's morbid curiosity got the better of him and went to the hospital. he posed as a relative and Gannet's room was pointed out to him at the far end of the most distant corridor. Don't turn the lights on they said. It disturbs the few comas in at the moment.
He entered the ICU's hidden wing and his eyes began to adjust to the gloom. He recognised the girl straight off as she was the only one of the three who had a phone welded to her face. He peered at it and cringed. Despite the lack of light he could see that skin had formed around the edges of the unit and puckered round it like some god awful mouth.
"Fuck me!" he exclaimed under his breath and felt the sharp claws of guilt digging into him. Damn, it had been a bad idea coming here he thought. Phoneface, what a fuckin mess I've made of her.
He turned but as he did so he caught the glint of a light coming on in the corner of his eye. He looked at gannet and to his astonishment the screen of the mobile on her head was lit up. It beeped and he could quite clearly see typing.
U R SO FUCKED MISTER! IT'LL B SWEET!
He gasped and ran from the ward stuttering, his phone ringing in his pocket. He knew who it was and shuddered.
Gannet woke up on a Saturday. It was the anniversary of the accident. Her parents came over, walking down the corridor slowly. They were frightened as to what the future held for their daughter.
"Darling! The doctors said you were awake" the mother cooed stroking her disfigured face and recoiling as her fingers passed over the scarred tissue and the phone case. Her father just stared wondering how it come come to this, a tear bubbling under his eye.
Gannet's face lit up and she typed on her screen.
"Hi Mum, Hi Dad! It's me, your little Gannet!"
The two visitors stepped back in terror. Their daughter was talking to them through a mobile growing in her face! They screamed and nurses eventually arrived to help them out of the hospital.
"Bye Mum, Bye Dad".
Gannet got out of bed, dressed in her blood soaked clothes still hanging in the locker and strolled down the fire escape. She took het time as she had no arms to guide her. She could see through her camera.
As she walked down the street people gasped and got out of her way holding their mouths. A group of youths got their phones out to film her. They laughed shouting 'Phoneface, phoneface' but stopped when they all received a text message:
"I CAN SEE YOU YOU CRUEL BASTARDS!"
Gannet then messaged the driver posing as his girlfriend.
"Meet me at the chocolate factory honey. It'll be sweet!"
She walked with conviction and hid inside the building. The driver came in and shouted his girlfriend's name.
"I'm in the sugar room".
He wandered over excited by the prospect of some 'sugar'. The lights were dimmed when he got there.
"Where are you babe?" he whispered.
"Make me some candy floss love and I'll come out naked!" she messaged.
A frisson of lust ran along his spine and he began to spin some sugar in the big flosser, its blades deep at the bottom of the bowl whirling fast.
Suddenly he was violently pushed forward and felt a body on her back pushing him down deeper, his arms heading straight into the flosser blades. they sliced through his descending arms with ease and his blood, bone and sinews mixed with the sugar forming a thick red candy mist like hair. The driver yelled in excruciating agony as his arms disappeared in a cloud of wet scarlet.
Gannet spun him round with her knees clasped round his waist and kicked him to the floor, where he'd dropped his phone. He landed face down on it and was kicked again. He was dazed. behind he could hear his forklift starting up and gunning forwards, which he simply couldn't fathom.
Remote-controlling the vehicle with her new circuitry Gannet drove the ton thing straight over the man's head. It flattened into the toffee-specked floor.
Gannet lifted the body on the forklift and dropped it in a huge vat of sugar solution. It misted up red with blood. He could lie there as she watched. It was the Easter week so the factory was shut, while the world stuffed their faces with chocolate.
The driver's wounds began to heal a little in the vat, the sugar sustaining him. He twitched and shuddered in the syrup like a seal.
After six days he sat up, sugar drying his hair. His face was gone completely and in its place was his mobile crushed deep into his cheeks. He blinked as the camera came on, saw his missing arms and then he tried to scream. His phone vibrated.
"NOW YOUR'E A FUCKIN PHONEFACE LIKE ME! SWEET!"
A video of a mouth laughing loudly appeared on her screen.