Festering beneath my skin like crawling burn marks, the worms slither with poise. I can’t stop the infection. The bulbous skin around the arms pulsates with a steady beat, amber pus lining my hands.
In the alley lies the remnants of another man. He’s already succumbed to the fate that awaits me. He assaulted me in wild desperation, cutting into my tainted flesh with razor nails. I wasn’t scared enough to stop him. Too weak. His scarred face with crevices for eyes now stare into nothingness, but that doesn’t scare me either.
We’ll soon stare together.
It’s too late to wonder what happened; there are no more tears left to carry my sorrow. I can no longer remember my children’s names, where they live, or what they smell like. I recall loathing strawberries, but I’d prefer them to my rotting body.
Two screams ago, my assailant’s torso split and melted into the gutter, intestines scattering like sweets from a Piñata donkey. With a bloodied shard of glass I scratch the blisters on my body, releasing a clew of worms. Hopefully, that will delay the inevitable awhile longer. Through the haze of failing consciousness, I hear ambulance sirens.
The narrow beam of flashlights light up the alley, and blaze my eyes. Two men in silver hazmat suits approach, saying something I can’t understand. I try to reply but only manage a hoarse growl. Now I’m frightened. They’re not here to help me, they want to—
“Pick this up,” shouts one of them and then points at me. “Put the other inside the incinerator.”
I can’t allow them to take me away. I want to die on my own terms.
“That one’s moving,” says the other voice.
I hear radio chatter. Sudden static noise drowned by the helicopter hovering like a hive of angry wasps.
“Can’t we just shoot it in the head and move on?”
“Don’t be stupid! We need live samples.”
The worms have burrowed into my neck now, preparing for the final slink upstairs. I know what happens next—I’ve seen it before. And I prefer that to being prodded by scientists in suits. They will pick me apart anyway.
When the first man holding a flashlight nears, I turn and claw my nails into his leg, punching three holes into which larvae can creep. He drops the light, screams profanities, and falls back. Intense radio chatter. Shouting. I can make out silhouettes carrying my victim away.
Study him, you bastards, and leave me alone.
Author Notes: Thanks for reading!