The examination room was full of irritations. The bright fluorescent lighting was forcing me to stare down at the hideous, glittering floor-tiles. The doctor’s soft-leather shoes squeaked every time he took a step, causing me to clench my teeth. I sat on the examination bed as he prepared to examine me; the wafer-thin sheets made it feel like I was sitting on a million tiny grains of sand and salt.

The wound on my arm stung suddenly; it made my eyes water, my slouched back straightened up, and my teeth ache as I tensed my grinding. The doctor saw this while searching through some folder, ceased what he was doing, and walked slowly over towards me. Squeaking; clenching. I followed his feet with my eyes. Glittering.

“So you say your rash has gotten worse?” His voice was nasally, the exact opposite of mine.

“Well, yeah, but I wouldn’t call it a rash anymore.”

I rolled up the sleeve of my jacket, the wound stinging through the bandage as the cuff glided over it. I opened the bandage slowly; little strings of adhesive stretched and thinned for a few seconds before snapping back into tiny little balls on and between the sweaty hairs on my arm. The closer the peeling was to the wound, the strings of adhesive started to turn red, then purple, and then black.

I had looked away while I peeled off the full bandage. Clenching. I looked down at my wound; it had festered badly over the last two days, small drops of thick black blood oozing from it. The once little strings of remaining skin, as thick as spaghetti, had become worn and weathered like the roots of a rotting weed.

The latex on the doctor’s medical gloves slapped against the skin of his wrist while he dragged it up his hand. Clenching. He took out a tiny silver torch from his front pocket, examined it for a second, wiped it with a small disinfectant cloth, and flicked it on.

“Have you experienced any other symptoms?” he asked, the second half of his question lightly muffled by the application of his surgical mask.

“None at all. The wound has just been getting worse. I tried Sudocream for the rash, and it did nothing. Then I went to my nurse and she prescribed me antibiotics. They didn’t work so I went back twice more when it began to open up, and she just increased my dose both times. They’re not working.”

“Have you been prescribed Mupirocin?” He examined my wound, his face hovering just above the black ooze.

“No, what’s that?” I could feel the heat of the lit torch radiate against my wound. I wondered if that was normal.

“Prescription-strength cream.” His eyes looked suspicious. His voice sounded baffled.

“Oh. Well, can you do that for me, once the wound heals up?” I heard the leather squeaking. Clenching.

“That’s what I was gonna do, yeah. I just gotta do a few tests first. Sit tight.” His tone-of-voice was more reassuring now. “First though, that nasty wound.”

My wound tingled for a second, before stinging and burning again for a short while. I kept looking at it before looking away from it again. I couldn’t decide what was worse, the cacophony of bright and dark red withered flesh, or not knowing just how deteriorated it had become at that moment in time.

“As for the wound itself, I’m a little puzzled. Tell me again how you got the rash in the first place?”

“Allergy to a new cleaning product.”

“What was it called?”


“And you haven’t had an allergy to any other cleaning product in the past?”

“Not that I’m aware of. Definitely nothing this bad.”

He paused for a second. “I’ve never had any “Cleater” related cases here. I’ve never even heard of it, actually.”

“It’s from a new Herbal Store that’s opened up in town. Me and my wife decided to have a gander. A lot of stuff was quite expensive, including this, but we were told that it could be used to clean ‘’anything’’. So we bought it and gave it a try, and we were thrilled with it. The house had never been cleaner than what it had been then. It could be used as window cleaner and furniture polish. The best part about it was that everything stayed clean for like three weeks afterwards. It has this great maintenance quality about it.

“Anyway, I went to reapply it, and accidentally sprayed a bit onto my arm. That night I got the really nasty rash, and ever since then I’ve tried to get rid of it, only for it to turn into this.”

The doctor kept those same suspicious eyes throughout my whole explanation. A few seconds later, he asked if he could take a blood test.

“If needs be,” I replied.

He took the tiniest sample of blood from the wound into a needle, and brought it over to his desk. The pain was almost unbearable. Clenching. He fished a microscope out of his top drawer, and leaked the blood from the needle onto a panel, the blood thinning and expanding when pressed with the second panel. He placed it under the scope and stared intently down the sight with his left eye, squinting his right eye while twisting and turning the dial between different settings.

He froze for a few seconds, his squinted right eye flashing open unexpectedly. He stood up from his seat, his chair rolling backwards and thumping off the wall. The colour had completely drained from his face.

“I think you should see this,” he said, sounding morbid and incomprehensive.

I flapped the bandage back over my wound, and walked hesitantly over to his desk. He remained standing, the look of worry strong on his face. I squinted my right eye, looking down the sight but only seeing a white blur with red dots. I turned the dial, and my neck stiffened when the sight became clear.

They looked like woodlice, but they were round and milk-white. There were hundreds of them, and they were drinking from and wriggling around in the large red lake of my blood. After about a minute, the blood started to turn purple.

Then black.

Written by CrashingCymbal
Content is available under CC-BY-SA