's 2018 Horror Write-off:

Anomalous Disease Log, Part 7

Submitted by Shieldman (email)

From the desk of Dr. █████████ Date: ██/██/20██ ████ ███████ Hospital

Anomalous Disease Log: ████-E07 ("Interior Frostbite")
It begins with a thin layer of ice. It forms on the patient's exposed mucous membranes, namely the nose, mouth, and tear ducts. Most patients dismiss it as a strange itching sensation brought on by the cold. If the symptoms are taken seriously and caught at this stage, we can treat them with a regimen of sauna therapy and warm fluids. Raising the patient's core temperature over 39 degrees celsius for over an hour seems to halt the progression indefinitely.

The next stage is shivering. Even while asleep or unconscious, the patient's body shakes uncontrollably. Conscious patients will seek out warm places and collect as many warm garments as possible. Once at this stage, however, no patients as of yet have expressed any relief regardless of the actual temperature of the surrounding air. Their bodily temperature falls at about one degree a day. Sauna therapy has proven ineffectual in clinical trials for most patients beyond this point.

After this comes the discoloration. Unlike traditional frostbite patterns that cause the extremities to turn black and blue first, these patients experience discoloration starting with the upper abdomen. Blood samples taken from patients at this stage reveal persistent ice crystals in low concentrations that do not melt even under high heat until removed from the blood via boiling. At this time, patients that have reached this stage are considered terminal, as the final two stages occur within days and are currently untreatable.

The penultimate stage is signified by lethargy. Due to the effects of the final stage, all symptomatic patients are quarantined to hermetically sealed quarters designated for this purpose. A significant symptom of this stage is sharp pain in the tear ducts, abdomen, and bowels. Autopsies on patients that have committed suicide at this stage reveal that these systems freeze over due to their high water content and relative proximity to the source of the temperature-lowering effect. After one to two days, all patients succumb to either pain or distress and assume a fetal position.

The final stage is death. The discoloration spreads from the chest to the head and extremities, though the patient expires before this due to cell death in the lungs and heart. Once the body is entirely blackened, small spires of ice begin to accumulate pointing upwards from the surface of the patient's skin over the course of an hour. Spontaneously, the corpse ruptures along the spine with great force, releasing a powerful gust of freezing wind that carries approximately one quarter of the patient's body weight in the form of powdery snow. This substance persists until it reaches temperatures of above 20 degrees celsius, at which point it melts into a chemical with no properties that distinguish it from water. Any items that come into contact with this substance must be disposed of in an autoclave. Human contact with it results in infection with an 88% transmission rate. It is currently unknown how to distinguish between naturally occuring snow and the snow-like substance produced in the final stage, both in clinical trials or in public spaces.