The absent minded scratching at one area. “You keep scratching that arm, what is it?”. A bite? A hive? Some allergic reaction perhaps. I’ve had such reactions. This seemed more like a bite.
I searched for days for evidence of insect infestation finding nothing. I accepted that it could be some kind of allergic reaction. I’ve become a virtual vegan over the past few months. Existing largely on bags of fresh mixed leaves and lentils. Soya and tofu. It’s possible that one of them any new foods I’m eating my body is somehow intolerant to.
But I couldn’t escape the idea that these were bites of some kind. I spent two days cleaning my home. I covered all carpets in anti-flea powder and vaccuumed extensively. I cleaned all surfaces I could see and many I couldn’t. I washed all coverings and furnishings. The itch increased. I developed more of the rashes. Behind both elbows, my knees, behind my ears. On my lower arms. Even on my chest.
Over the next few weeks. I became paranoid. Feeling itches everywhere. I kept cleaning. Washing my clothes at high temperatures. I lifted all carpets and burned them out back. Hoping this drastic measure would eliminate the invisible infestation which I could still find no evidence of. The elusive insects that were attacking my person.
On one occasion I though I found something small and black crawling on my skin. So small it appeared almost invisible. It could have been no more than a speck of dirt, coal… or even a very small piece of fibre from my clothes. I couldn’t be sure. I sat under the best light I could find in my house and peered at it, still unable to determine what it was. Still all the while feeling the crawling, itching on my skin beneath my clothes.
I took to walking around naked. So nothing could hide under my clothes. I’d stop and check my body when I felt an itch, as I always seemed to, but could see nothing no matter how closely I examined my skin. One day i went into the bathroom and cut off all my body hair. I also decided i should shave off my hair . Thusly giving the infestation nowhere it can hide. Still, despite the continuation of the itches and the obvious bites which now seemed to exist on every limb and part of my torso, I could find nothing. No sign of what was causing it.
The next day… which was very early on Thursday morning the rash on my inner left arm had become sore and swollen. the urge to scratch it, despite the pain, was almost overwhelming. I took myself to the kitchen and splashed cold water on it. The center of the sore was the first bite I had discovered. Or the first one I had noticed. It was now over an inch wide and at the very center was hard like a rock and dark, like inside lay a stone. I tore a length from the bottom of a clean sheet and used it to bandage the sore. As much as to stop me scratching as to prevent further infection.
It was hard that day. To not think, to try to ignore the crawling on my skin, the desire to scratch. that night I had to check the wound. My arm was now so sore and the wound so swollen that i could hardly move it. I peeled away the rudimentary bandage, the sore had almost doubled inside and the black thing beneath the skin now seemed to pulsate and throb inside. It disgusted me so much I had to vomit. It smelt rotten, like my very insides where infected too.
I had to remove it. whatever it was. I took a knife from the drawer and slowly slid it into the side of the lump. Clear liquid squirted out and ran down the blade. I vomited again, this time largely repulsive smelling bile. There was little pain beyond the throbbing that had existed there for the past day. In a way the focus on this particular wound was a good thing since it distracted me from the others, from the itching, and the persistent crawling upon every surface of my body. The sensation of the blade in my arm was cold, pain like freezing cold in my joints. I slide the knife around to open the sore. The blackness in the center moved and I stopped.
Something was alive inside my arm.
I looked at it. The sore, with the clear liquid leaking from the slit i had made with the knife. And this dark thing moving under the skin. I slowly withdrew the blade of the knife. The movement stopped. The liquid stopped seeping out. then the thing thrashed below my translucent skin and started moving towards the hole. Now pain. I was screaming. It tore at the hole and pulled itself out… long and sleek and black, it had been curled into a ball in my arm. I screamed and looked at it horrified as it sat on my arm amidst blood and pus. The head turned around to look back at me and a huge mandible chewed some of the skin it had torn on the way out. Beyond my will the horror and pain caused me to pass out.
I woke to find I could hardly move my arm. It had stopped bleeding. I slowly looked around the kitchen and dragged myself to my knees. The creature was nowhere to be seen. I vomited again then. Some foul smelling bile but mostly just painful unsatisfied retching. I felt i should drink something. I rose and staggered to the sink and there it was. Sitting on the windowsill. It’s blackness was wings. Many wings that now seemed to be slightly arched from it’s body, no doubt from it’s first flight. Wings black, the body yellow. The head large and ending in those horrific mandibles. It stood on six legs. And it looked at me.
“Do you desire my death?”
It had never occurred to me. To kill such a thing. Would it be any less horrific if it was dead? Possibly more so.
“Do you desire my death?”
Why does it talk so? Not with it’s many jaws but with a voice that crawled into my mind through my ears. I wish it would stop.
It hopped/flew onto my chest then. I screamed and swatted it off with my usable arm. It flopped onto the ground then cam at me again. I ran from the room then and into the hall where i fell. I felt it land on my back. I screamed “Leave me!!!” My voice sounded weak and sickly.
“You are sick.”
I got up and backed into the wall. It fell on the ground. I lifted the telephone from it’s stand and hit the thing. I pushed the weight of the phone along with that of my own body on the creature. I heard crunching. I was afraid to remove the phone, for fear that it might not be dead, and for fear that it might be more horrific in death than it was in life. I tried to push the phone more onto the body, to move it, as to crouch the thing into paste that when removed would be so heavily pureed to be invisible and save me from more horror at the sight of it’s mangled form. I let go of the phone. It seemed to stay on the ground. Obscuring the insect or whatever it was, or whatever it now is. I backed away into the kitchen again and closed the door. I wished I had not burned the kitchen table cloth as I would have liked to place it along the bottom of the kitchen door for added security.
I sat on the kitchen chair and stared at the bottom of the door. There was no sound emanating from the hall. No sign of a crushed and dying homunculus crawling under the cracks. I still felt thirsty. I took myself to the sink again, half expecting to see it again, sitting there on the windowsill. I took a glass from the side and filled it with water. My hand shook and spilt much of the water in the glass before i could drink it. I had to set the glass down again before i dropped it. I tried again, lifting the glass and walking back to the table. No noise from outside, no trail of yellowing pus coming from under the door. Realistically the crack beneath the door wasn’t big enough for it to crawl through. While sitting again I was able to drink the water. Now, looking down at my naked body I realised I no longer felt the crawling on my body. Though the burning itching remained.
After a time I realised I badly needed to pee. I could pee here. In the sink, but I preferred to go to the bathroom which meant going back into the hall. Eventually I picked up the courage to open the door, to look into the hall. The phone still sat where i left it. Presumably on the crushed corpse of the insect my arm had given birth to the previous night.
I tip-toed past it as far away from it as I could. Perhaps in the morning I could get someone to come. Some specialist could come and lift the phone and clean up and put everything back how it was before this nightmare took place.
I took the stairs to the top landing where it sat in the middle of the floor looking at me, it’s head cocked to one side regarding me curiously.
“why would you wish my death?”
I screamed at it and lashed out instinctively. Smashing it with my fist. It flopped and flew down the corridor to the bathroom. I lifted a small hall table that contained once a plant that I had disposed of earlier in the week. I hit the thing with the flap top of the table, again and again. It’s wings spread over the carpet, it’s legs askew. But the body remained intact and after each heavy blow it righted itself.
“Die!” I screamed. I threw the table on top of it and stood on it. Then left and entered the bathroom where I locked the door and looked around to see if it had somehow got in here with me. the small white pristine bathroom seemed clear of large insects. I’d hit my bad arm on the door frame when entering and it had begun to weep again. by now i had almost no feeling left in it and it dangled from my shoulder almost lifelessly, almost, as with effort I could still move my fingers.
I was shaking, but I was in a good room. I felt safe here. The door was locked and the crack beneath the door was almost imperceptible. I had water I could drink and most importantly access to the medicine cabinet where I could treat my arm with anti-septic and paracetamol I can take for the pain. I also had some mild anxiolytics.
I stayed there for two days. On Sunday morning I woke in the bath. I lay upon and beneath towels. Drinking nothing but tap water for days I felt weak and sore but my left arm felt stronger, it was still weak and i could put no weight on it but i could move it and move my fingers.
I wanted to leave… I had heard the creature during my imprisonment. Heard it flapping against the door. Heard it scratching. And heard it’s awful voice, which was like that of a hollow child. “Why do you wish to hurt me?”
But it had been silent for the past day. Perhaps it was waiting out there, perhaps it had gone, perhaps i had imagined the whole ordeal?
I open the door. The table lay on it’s side. The creature nowhere to be seen. I walked out into the hall to look down the stairs when it leapt from on top of the bathroom door frame and landed on my shoulder. I screamed and grabbed it, holding it in my grip, it’s wings and legs held down. It’s head moving around, struggling, trying to free itself. Jaws opening and closing threateningly. Trying to bite me. It had grown and was now the size of a small rodent. With those jaws that looked made for tearing skin. It’s yellow segmented abdomen squirmed and thrashed protruding between my fingers and thumb. I could almost not contain it. But I ran down the stairs with the twitching thing in my hand, trying to escape, trying to bite me, all the while it screamed. Screamed like a hollow child in pain. “Why do you wish to harm me?” I knew what I must do.
In the kitchen I grabbed a Tupperware container from the shelf. One large enough, and plunged the creature into the box. Removing my hand and pushing the lid on with all my might before the thing could right itself and escape. It was thrashing and flapping against the sides of the transparent container. Trying to get its bulbous terrible head through the space between the box and the lid I was still struggling to close, being forced to use my right hand almost exclusively as my left was still too weak to exert the force and delicacy required to reseal the airtight container. When I finally had managed to I pulled the roll of duct tape from the drawer and wrapped it around the container many times before I was satisfied that it was fully secure.
Eventually it stopped struggling inside the case and sat there. Still and watchful. “Why do you imprison me?” I ignored it and took the box to the freezer and stuffed it inside. I piled many bags of frozen peas and other vegetables in front of it and closed the door.
I sat there for hours. I could hear it. The voice was almost indecipherable. At one point it sounded like it was sobbing. Then it eventually went quiet.
I treat all the other sores with anti-septic and do my best not to scratch. None seem to be even close to as infected as the one on my arm, but I really don’t want to take the risk.
I doubt the cold will kill the thing, but it may make it sleep, it will keep it imprisoned. Keep it silent.
I need a bath now.