The Sickness. Flash Fiction.

So as I said last Wednesday there was a family situation and that was welcoming a new member to the family! My sister gave birth to an absolutely beautiful baby girl on Wednesday, which came as a surprise to everyone, including her! (the giving birth last Wednesday part, not the having a baby part!) We’ve all been running around since making sure that the Mum and Dad have everything they need in the hospital and house and of course, visiting the hospital as much as we can. Little Ailbhe (pronounced Alva) is incredibly charming and adorable, and I’m saying this as a completely unbiased third party and not as her uncle. I’m also thrilled to say that both mother and baby are doing incredibly well!

Also apologies this is up so late, the days have all blurred together and sped past, I forgot this was Friday too!

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The Sickness.

Samantha looked at the lumps on her skin, at first they had worried her but now she didn’t have the energy to be concerned. They were itchy when they first appeared, and slightly reddish, now they were the same pale colour of her skin and when she wasn’t looking at them she almost could forget they were there. She ran her hand along her arm, feeling them beneath her fingers, the lumps were warm, surprisingly so. She could see people passing outside the room through the small, barred window in the door. They had brought her in here shortly after she arrived and refused to tell her anything. So far the doctor had been in once to give her a quick examination, he didn’t seem to do much other than prod at one of the lumps with gloved hands and take her temperature. She scratched at one absentmindedly. Beyond that she hadn’t seen any doctors in the two days she’d been there. The only other person that came into her room was a small, frail looking woman who dropped off her tray of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner and took her temperature. They hadn’t even sent in someone to mop the floors of the room or to look at the bathroom. She definitely wouldn’t be coming to this hospital in the future, even the woman who came in wasn’t much help and had no answers to any of her questions. She scratched at one of the lumps again, they were starting to get itchy again. They had given her some pills in the morning, but the woman shrugged when Samantha had asked what they were, perhaps they were causing the itch as a side effect. As she scratched the bump burst open, thick, foul smelling yellow pus oozed from the wound, she tried not to gag, she looked around for the call button the frail woman had pointed out previously, she found it and pressed it.

The woman arrived a moment later, Samantha held out her arm and before she could speak the woman turned and left the room, closing the door behind her, Samantha could have sworn she heard the woman lock it too. She looked down at her arm, a thin stream of blood was flowing down her fingers and was steadily dripping onto the floor in a steady beat. As she watched something thin and black wriggled free from the wound, Samantha felt her stomach do a slow flip, she couldn’t look away as it curled around itself for a few seconds before it finally fell to the floor. It continued to squirm on the white tiles. She felt a sudden heat and wetness on her arm, she looked up and saw more of the lumps had burst, each one oozing that thick, yellow pus. The stench of it was filling the room, becoming overwhelming. The sight of so much pus and blood shocked her from her stupor, she stood and went to the door, the nurse should have been back by now, she tried the handle, but it didn’t work, the nurse had locked her in. Samantha pounded on the door and started shouting, with each thud more and more of the lumps broke open.

Half an hour later the door was unlocked with a gentle click, the door swung open slowly. The frail woman stood in the doorframe, looking at Samantha’s body. The black worms were writhing and crawling over her skin, already there were large wounds across her body where the worms had feasted. The woman started spraying Samantha’s corpse with a spray bottle, watching as the worms sizzled softly as the spray coated them. Once she had thoroughly doused the body she closed the door again. She wasn’t on clean up duty, thankfully, the stink of chemicals overwhelmed the earlier stench. Soon Samantha’s body would be incinerated, the worms burning with her. The woman locked the door, it was the only way to keep everyone safe. She felt an itch on her wrist, frantically she pulled down her glove and then breathed out a sigh when she saw flat, unblemished skin. She scratched the itch then turned from the door, there were other patients to see and the day was far from over.

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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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