They Live. Short Story.

It began slowly, innocuously. Although the first appearance was quite sudden. There was no warning, no dent, it was just there. As if the small little hole had always belonged on my calf. As though it had always been there and always would.
I first noticed it, and, after a quick moment’s inspection, I thought that I should visit the doctor soon, then, I went about my day and it promptly left my mind.

The next time I noticed, I chided myself for not making an appointment and once more thought to do so. However, this time, it seemed fascinating. Sickeningly so. On the outside of my left calf was this small, although rather too large, hole. It was perfectly circular and completely black. It was as if no light could penetrate it. I studied it for hours, twisting this way and that, trying to see if there were more. I even used a torch to try and find what the cause was. The hole was too deep to see completely into, what I could see was regular looking skin and the rest faded into shadow. There was no redness, no swelling and no pain. Once I had satisfied my morbid curiosity, I went to the phone to call the doctor, but, on my way, it slipped my mind. One moment I was striding confidently, if a little panicky, towards the phone, the next, I stopped, paused, then wondered who I was going to ring.

It seemed every time I saw it, I immediately remembered, but, once it was out of my sight, it left my mind. This went on for a few days, then, another began to appear. I could see a small dent, perfectly circular, and watched as, over a few hours, it deepened. It happened imperceptibly. I was only aware of it if I looked away and back again. But, curiously, each time I looked away, I momentarily forgot what I was looking at. they were completely erased from my mind. I can think of numerous times I glanced at my calf and saw nothing but smooth, slightly hairy, skin.

It was a week before I noticed them again. This time there were seven. They had taken on a slightly honeycombed shape, thin walls of skin separated each one. I used a magnifying glass, but could not discern their cause. They only thing I was sure of, was that they were there and they were not pores. When I next saw them, I was shocked and horrified. I counted fifteen and what appeared to be three more. Their overall honeycomb shape became more apparent. I stared at them for hours. Moving this way and that, seeing how they would react. They seemed to compress slightly if I stood, as though, weakened, they could no longer support my weight. I went to bed, troubled, but unsure of what. I had written down, “Call a doctor about your calf, NOW”, on a piece of paper, but, when I looked at it again, the writing was scribbled out, obscured by thick, black marks.

When I awoke the next morning, I felt a strange sensation in my calf. Swinging out of bed, I glanced at the sheet and saw a strange, yellowish liquid that had soaked into the sheet where my calf had rested. The residue seemed sticky, almost mucousy. The area around the holes had a sheen and the skin was also coated. Counting, I found thirty four. I tried not to gag at the sight. The sensation returned, more uncomfortable than before. Quickly, I grabbed the flashlight and tried to see what it was, but I still could not penetrate the depths of those damn holes. Quickly, I looked for something, anything, that was thin and long.

I noticed that as I walked, my left leg seemed to sink slightly as my weight was put on it, like a spring under pressure. Finding a thin needle, I carefully pushed it into one of the holes, slowly so as not to accidentally stab myself. As it went deeper, the golden yellow liquid oozed around it. Becoming thicker and faster flowing the deeper the needle went. Finally it stopped, however I could not feel the tip. I could feel the sides of the needle, but nothing else. I pushed it further and felt something writhing.

Slowly, ever so slowly, I pulled the needle from my flesh, dragging more of that disgusting goo with it, a slight smell of rotting fruit filled the air, vile but with a sweetness to it. As the needle head left my flesh, I wretched, then vomited. On the end of the needle was a small, black worm, wriggling as it died. As I watched the creature that had lived in my leg squirm, I realised what the sensation was. It was coming from each and every one of those holes. Something was inside each one, something was squirming in each one. Something was burrowing deeper in each one. Shudders pulsated through my body as I tried not to vomit again. I stared at that tiny dying creature, unable to look away. There was no time. No time to think, only to act. I made my way to the kitchen and, grabbing a sharp knife, I sat down and set to work..

First I cut through the tiny pockets of skin, allowing the holes to become one. Then I dug out each and every one of the vile creatures. The deeper I dug, the more I found. blood had begun to flow freely and fill the hole I had created, I limped to the bathroom, barely able to walk. As I sat on the side of the tub and grabbed the hose, I could feel them inside me, hundreds, perhaps thousands. All gorging. Turning the water on, I rinsed the wound clean, clearing my field of vision. As the blood cleared, I saw them. A writhing mass, living inside me. Occasionally, one would fall from the group and, squirming, would be washed down the drain. At first I used the knife to try and remove them, then, my fingers.

I felt something sharp bite into my hand. One of them had attached themselves to the tip of my index finger. With a shout of horror, I cut it away from my flesh. I carefully cut until I found tissue, then I began to saw. Hacking away, trying to remove as much as I could. Clumps of those insidious things fell from my leg, my vision grew cloudy, shooting stars of red and black flashed across my eyes. I knew I was going to pass out soon and still I tried to work, faster and faster, trying to finish the horrific job. I remember breathing deeply, then darkness.

I awoke in the hospital, an untold amount of time had passed. A delivery man had looked inside my window to see if I was home and had seen a trail of blood, he had called the police. I tried to explain my actions to the doctors. They didn’t understand. There was no trace of those creatures. But I can still feel them, I can feel them advancing, burrowing deeper and deeper, gorging on my flesh. Thriving in my warm body. Soon, they will burst forth. I will have to stop them. Some how, I will.

About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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7 Responses to They Live. Short Story.

  1. Fantastic stories, totally gripped the imagination, in fact I am still thinking about the worms!! Love to see a whole book by you. Keep at it. Rachel Boydell

  2. Hey Rachel,

    Thanks for the comment, it’s much appreciated. It’s always encouraging to hear someone’s enjoying the stories!

    -Alan.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great story! The pace was great and I was grossed out.

  4. Hey, Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    -Alan.

  5. Oh my god… It’s really gross. ._.
    LOL You were right, it’s really “eurgh”.

  6. Anne says:

    Okay, followed this from your link around Halloween – it is my worst nightmare – having worms living inside me.

  7. It freaks me out too, it isn’t a pleasant thought at all. I had the idea for a while so I figured writing about it would get rid of it, luckily it did!

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