So microfictions are fun, and a nice reading snack, but I prefer something a bit more…hearty.
So, with that in mind, I’m bringing back the Flash Fictions! It has been a full month since I last wrote one, and I’m glad to be back at it!
So let’s celebrate with a flash fiction about fear and disease. A tale of an elderly woman, titled:
Children are…a sickness.
Standing there, covered in sores, and leaking pus on the ground. Their filth hisses and sputters; like an egg boiling on the blacktop. I watch them spin and jump, and tackle each other. A ball gets kicked, and it’s covered in that red mucus that pours out of every orifice they have.
I keep stepping back away from it. Can’t stand the smell, can’t stand when they look at me with those eyes. Those crusted over, blood-pooled orbs that sit in their tiny heads. My boss will notice. The law requires me to keep an eye on them. Their parents would be livid if I dared to walk away from them, their precious little bags of illness. Never once knowing that with every hug, they are infected. From the moment they dropped out of the uterus, they are a parasite, a leech on the blood of their progenitors.
I’m glad I can’t have them anymore. I really am.
My hand goes to my pocket, and removes another sanitary wipe. I run it across my face, enjoying the acrid smell. The stink of chloride and alcohol calming my nerves as I watch the children play. A game of kickball starts up, and I can already smell the sweat leaking out of hundreds of thousands of pores. Another wipe comes out.
Why had I chosen this job? Why did I subject myself to this? Because no one else would hire? Because people my age don’t get good jobs? Because no one questions it when a little old lady wants to be a teacher?
All of these things were true, but perhaps not correct. Maybe you could call it self-medication? I can’t remember whose words, or the exact phrasing: “Do what you fear most” perhaps? That was the idea, find an option that would force me to deal with…them. The money was nice too, something to help me along. Something for my grandkids. My adult grandkids.
The seat I’ve chosen is painful on my bones, but I sit all the same, keeping my hands from touching the filthy metal of it. I sit there for some unknowable time, thinking, until something breaks me from my introspection.
“Miss Helga? Miss Helga! Jimmy fell!” says the creature in front of me. How it can form hard consonants with teeth so rotten is beyond me, yet still it spoke. Its voice high-pitched and bordering on a stuttering mess.
I just keep looking at it, wondering if its skin would fall off with a good tug. It was only after a moment that I realized what it had said.
“…Where?” I ask.
“On the playground! Come on, come on! What are you waiting for?” It demands. Its arm snaking forward towards mine. I jerk back. Its hands are grey, and covered in holes. A maggot crawls out of one of its numerous sores.
He looks at me in stunned silence. Like I was the hideous sin.
Finally, I ask, “What do you want me to do about it?”
His look just continues till he takes a step back, then starts flat-out running towards the entrance to the school. My heart skips a beat as I realize he’s going to talk to another teacher, and just for a moment he looks to me like a normal child. Or at least, what pictures of children look like.
“Wait!” I choke out. He stops in his tracks and spins around. My heart starts hammering in my chest. If he talked to them, I would be fired. And then they would shut off my water…and then I would have to live with my children. Live in a house with their….
It was too horrible to think more of that sentence.
“What’s going on Miss Helga?” he asks. I don’t answer.
I gesture to him and he starts walking towards me. I raise my hand to stop him and point at a nearby bench. He sits, the grass around him already dying.
“I’ll…handle it….” I say, watching as the wave of decay moved underneath my feet. If it weren’t for my shoes, it would rise up through my bones, and coat my blood with grime. Grease would clog my heart, and I would die screaming.
Just like my husband.
After another placating hand motion, I walk towards the playground, covering my mouth as the smell grows stronger. I can already feel the blood lap at my pant-legs, making them stick to every hair of my skin. I keep walking forward, a headache forming, ripping my synapses apart with its force.
One of the creatures is crying on the ground, surrounded by a ring of the others. His nose is caved in, and a black rotten tar that once was blood pools across his face.
As soon as they see me, they part a space, like a cult welcoming a sacrifice. My feet don’t seem to be listening to reason, because I take a confident step towards the center and kneel down to look at the injured…beast.
Its breathing is shallow, and haunting. I can see its heart poking out of its rib cage, beating irregularly. It looks at me with wide, unblinking eyes.
It reaches up and grabs my hand; my heart shudders. I fall backwards, my legs kicking out and smashing into the creature’s skull. It gives out a garbled cry, but I can barely hear it underneath the pounding across my temple and through my chest.
I can’t look away from my arm. I can’t stop watching the encroaching sickness creep through my cells, rotting them, twisting them. I can’t stop looking even when the blood pool rises around me, engulfing my hair, filling up my throat, and turning my vision black.
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