Harold hissed as he pulled the long, thin wriggling strand from his arm. Each jerk of the strand sent a sharp burning pain up his arm, finally with one last pull it popped from the small cut he had made, sending splatters of blood across the table. The strand was writhing back and forth, Harold quickly submerged it in alcohol and watched its death throes with a small, satisfied smile. That was the fifth one he had pulled out of his arm in the last week and the bastards just kept on coming. He watched the now pink tinged alcohol as the strand dissolved into it, it was the only thing that seemed to kill them but it also destroyed his only evidence. He had tried taking one in a small bottle to the doctor, but the doctor had just dismissed it outright. At that point the strand was dried out and not moving, he’d been given the name of a psychiatrist and told that perhaps he would find more help there. Harold knew better though, he wasn’t crazy, even if that quack of a doctor didn’t believe him, Harold could see it with his own eyes. He felt the familiar itch in his arm again, he grabbed the tweezers and started digging around in the small cut, he hadn’t had two in one day before, but he couldn’t let this one get away.
After he removed the second strand he doused the wound in alcohol, then took a few gulps himself hoping that maybe it would kill any that were still inside him. As he lowered the bottle he felt that same twitching down both his legs. He dropped the bottle in surprise, it landed on the ground with a heavy thunk and glugged sullenly as vodka gushed out. Harold ignored the dropped bottle, he quickly stood and pulled down his trousers, he could see his skin writhing, the thin strands beneath it. It looked like there were hundreds of them, thousands, all moving just beneath his skin. His stomach clenched as he watched them, almost mesmerised. He grabbed the razor again and quickly started cutting at his skin, ignoring the pain and the warm blood as it coated his hands and legs. He reached down blindly and groped for the bottle, he looked at the contents, not much of it left, he gritted his teeth then poured the rest of the alcohol over his flayed legs. The strands below started writhing in earnest, some of them were dropping from his legs onto the floor, landing in the puddle of spilled booze. Harold gasped, sweat was dripping steadily from his face and armpits, he felt sick, lightheaded but he had to continue, he had to get them all. His vision began to swim and then everything went dark. The strands writhed in the warm bloody flesh that had been Harold’s legs, they started to wrap around one another, forming a thin white wall around the wounds. The skin of the worms began to change colour, taking on a pinkish hue then it began to merge with Harold’s flesh and soon there was no evidence that there had been any wounds to begin with.
Harold woke with a start, he groaned, his head was thudding heavily, his tongue felt thick and furry. He opened his eyes and the bright light send a bolt of pain through his head. He moaned again and opened them slowly this time. He was sitting on the couch, an empty bottle of vodka on the table in front of him. Had he drank all that last night? He must have, he’d had some crazy dreams, something about worms or parasites. He dismissed the thought, it wasn’t important right now, what was important was painkillers and a cup of coffee. He stood on shaky legs and stumbled out of the room, he must have slept funny, his legs felt stiff and sore. As he left the sitting room he accidentally kicked a bucket of soapy water, he cursed once then continued hobbling into the kitchen, at least the damn thing hadn’t fallen. He must have spilled something, at least drunk him had the good grace to clean it up. Harold lowered the blinds in the kitchen, plunging it into gloom, that was better. He flicked on the kettle and made his cup of coffee. As he sipped it he began to feel a bit better, the hangover wasn’t as bad as it first seemed and once he had finished the cup he began to feel almost human again. As he went upstairs to shower he scratched absentmindedly at an itch on his forearm, he didn’t notice the way the flesh seemed to ripple beneath his scratching fingers.