Bogleech.com's 2016 Horror Write-off:
I had always been a procrastinator. I was born two weeks late, I didn't say my first word until about a year before I should've started preschool, and I finally learned to ride a bike at 15. It was no surprise that this habit persisted into my college years.
Maybe I should've done something about it before the itch started.
It was a persistent and constant itch between the joints of my right ring finger, characterized by a tiny discolored bump about the size of a pinhead. I told myself I would get it checked out after I finished my long-due Economics project. The itch remained. I told myself I would get it checked out after I beat the final boss of a game my friend had gifted me on Steam. The itch remained. I told myself I would get it checked out after the lacrosse game against our rival university. The itch remained.
A date seemed to stand out on my calendar for some reason. It wasn't a special day, it wasn't marked or separated from the others in any way, but my eyes always seemed to gravitate towards September the 22nd. Upon seeing the numbers, I would begin to feel a rising panic in my chest, like I usually would when realizing an assignment was overdue or nearing its due date. I ignored it, telling myself I would focus on it later.
The 10th came and went. The itch remained. The 11th. 12th. 13th. 14th. 15th. 16th. 17th. 18th. 19th. 20th. The itch remained.
The 21st was a Saturday, so most of the students, including my roommate, were out with friends or at parties late into the night. I stayed. I didn't have many friends to hang with, and I needed to catch up on my work. The itch remained. As the clock hit 11:59, something happened. The burst of panic hit me like a lightning bolt and I sat up so quickly that my chair tipped backward, my back hitting the floor hard. I quickly regained my breath and scrambled to my feet, my gaze unconsciously sliding toward the calendar. Why was I so nervous all of a sudden? I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, sweat beading on my forehead, my fingers twitching uncontrollably. My fingers...
I quickly brought my hand up to my face, my stomach lurching into my throat as I saw what it had become.
My ring finger was swollen to the size of a small lemon, pulsating and rippling with thousands of tiny bumps just like the first. As I watched in horror, more of the little bumps began to appear along my hand, consuming the other digits and beginning to sweep down my forearm. I threw on my jacket and made a beeline for the door, but my foot caught on something, driving a scream from my heaving chest as my ankle jerked backward. I fell hard on my stomach, swiveling around to see what had tripped me. My skateboard. I kept telling myself I would move it under my bed. I hadn't.
The fire had reached my shoulder.
I hauled myself up with my good arm, opening the door and hobbling down the hallway. Something was dripping down my arm. A quick glance and I couldn't keep it down, stopping to heave up a wave of bile onto the patterned carpet. A chunky, greenish brown ichor slid slowly down the swollen limb from each of the increasingly large bumps, bubbling and sizzling in the heat radiating from my infected flesh. The scent of burning feces hit my nostrils and my stomach heaved again, though I had nothing left to bring up. The seconds ticking by on the hall clock echoed in my skull as if each were a blow from a hammer, rattling my brain and jumbling my thoughts. I staggered forward. The small light above the door to the clinic seemed miles away. The itch consumed. The bumps began to spread over my tongue and gums, filling my mouth with the horrid concoction. I coughed and heaved, spitting up green, brown, then red. My lungs felt lumpy, each ragged breath bringing more blood and bile up my windpipe. My vision blurred as the bumps covered my eyes, the world in front of me warping and wavering. I could make it. I could make it.
I opened the door.
The room was empty.
Shane sighed as he slung his bag over his shoulder, making his way toward his Chemistry class. It had been two weeks since they'd found Jared's body. The poor nurse who'd found him was just heading back to her office from a bathroom break when she stepped in the trail of vomit and blood he'd left in the hall. The area had been roped off for a week and no one was allowed to see the body, but rumors spread quickly. The most popular suggested that his entire body was bloated like a balloon and covered in vomit, feces, and blood. Medical teams were baffled. When the school finally reopened that particular hallway, it still smelled faintly of puke and no one wanted to walk through it anyway. Some students swore they could see a shadowed silhouette of his body on the carpet in front of the clinic. Shane ignored the rumors and gossip. He had work to do, and despite the strange occurence, life would go on. He scratched lightly at the small bump that had formed on his chin a couple days ago.
He'd get the nurse to check it out later.