Thomas took a sip of water, wincing as it went down. His throat had been sore for almost three days with no sign of it getting better. He had booked an appointment with the doctors office, but they wouldn’t be able to see him for another two days. As it was he was taking anything and everything that would provide some relief for the scratchy pain. He had tried to look at his throat himself, using a mirror and a flashlight, but it didn’t look infected, just a little red and swollen. Far less swollen than he would have thought given the difficulty in swallowing. His doctor didn’t seem too concerned about it on the phone, he was able to get liquids down him, so for now that would do.
He found that cold water seemed to aggravate the pain, rather than soothe it, so he was drinking plenty of hot tea with lemon. It didn’t seem to be doing much to help, but it was less painful to drink the tea than just water.
Thomas woke in the night with a pounding headache, a steady, dull rhythm banging in his brain. He got up from bed, wincing as he turned on the light, and took some painkillers. He collapsed backwards onto the bed, half pulling to duvet back across himself. Thomas lay on his bed, waiting for the painkillers to kick in. He couldn’t move his head without the entire thing pounding sickly. Slowly the pain started to recede, the painkillers finally doing their job. When the pain was at a manageable level, Thomas rearranged himself on the bed, so he was more comfortable. With that done he started to doze.
When he woke again he felt tired and worse than before, if that was possible. The headache had mostly gone, but his throat was in agony. He tried to swallow, but found it difficult. He managed to get down some more pills and a few mouthfuls of cool tea. He only had to last one more day, then he’d be at the doctors and no doubt loaded up with antibiotics or something to get him through this.
Pain, sudden and bright at the back of his throat, his stomach clenched, then started heaving, Thomas just made it to the kitchen sink when he started throwing up, his stomach clenching, his throat burning. After a few minutes he stopped heaving and wiped away the tears from his eyes. He looked in the sink, the vomit was streaked with blood, something was moving around in it, a long, white thread. There wasn’t just one, there were dozens, all writhing and wriggling. Thomas let out a yell of horror and stumbled back from the sink. He ran to grab the flashlight and looked at his throat in the mirror, there were dozens of small, red holes at the back of his throat. Feeling like he was going to start heaving again any second, he approached the sink, he would have to kill them, pour bleach on them or something. No. He needed to capture one first, to show the doctor. He looked in the sink, but it was empty of the worms. He could see thin tracks in the vomit, leading towards the drain hole. Thomas shuddered and before he realised what he was doing, he turned on the tap, making sure they the things were gone. After a few seconds he turned the tap off and reached under the sink for the bleach. He should have just done this first. He poured half the bottle down the drain, then after a seconds hesitation, emptied the rest into the sink.
Still shaking, he sat down at the kitchen table. He coughed once, then took a sip of water to clear his throat. As he swallowed he realised most of the pain was gone. He shuddered again and put the glass down.