Skin Deep. Flash Fiction.

Angela could feel them inside her, wriggling and squirming, oozing their way through her body. She had been to the doctors but they told her they couldn’t find anything. Lies. All of it. She had seen them herself, pulled them from her body for all to see. She scratched at her arm, ignoring the pain and the sticky feeling of blood under her nails. The pain meant little to her, it barely registered against the maddening itching underneath her skin, the itching that she could never scratch. She had tried everything, antiparasitics, washing herself in bleach, even plucking them out one by one, but they always survived and thrived inside her.

Sometimes she wondered if they were one creature, with long thin tendrils that inched along inside her, spreading out, taking everything it needed. Other times she knew they were an unknowing, unseeing mass of creatures with no goal other than to live, reproduce and die.

Angela watched the thin, hair like tendril wave back and forth weakly. She grabbed it with her tweezers and pulled slowly, feeling it being dragged from beneath her skin. When it was finally free she breathed a sigh of relief and added it, still wriggling, to the pile. It was a small pile, maybe six of them in all, but it was still six too many.

Angela lay in her bathtub, she could no longer feel the burn of the chemicals against her skin. The water was an odd brown shade, further proof that something was wrong. Blood was supposed to be red, bright bright red, not this dirty shade of brown. Her breathing was shallow and quick, she knew she should get out of the water but it was the only thing that was soothing the constant, maddening itch. The fumes from the chemicals were making her light headed, or perhaps it was simply the relief that for once the itching had gone. She closed her eyes, just for a moment, she just wanted it to last a little longer, that was all. Then she would get out. She was so tired, she hadn’t slept in what was probably days, she couldn’t fall asleep while feeling them inside her. She had tried so many things to get rid of them, she had even stopped eating a few days before to try and starve the worms from her body. But now the feeling was gone, the bath was cleansing her of them.

Angela woke briefly as her head slid under the water, coughing and choking as the burning chemicals flooded her throat and nose. She thrashed, trying to get up, to get out, but she was too weak to pull herself up and the bath was too slippery. Her body fell still, her struggling finally ending.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 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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