The Boil: flash fiction by Theresa Jacobs
Continuing the guest blog series, here’s a short piece by author Theresa Jacobs. I bumped into Theresa back when I roamed the musty halls of Google Plus, and we became fast friends. I want to thank her for all her support and for contributing her work here. She’s a very nice person and, despite what you’re about to read, I assure you, quite sane. Enjoy.
Terri hit the mute button. “Did you call me?”
Dean pushed the bathroom door open so his voice would carry farther. “Yeah, can you come here?”
Oh God, what’s wrong with the plumbing? She thought in response to the stressed tone of her husband’s voice. Terri set aside the remote, leaving the TV on silent, and headed to see what else was going to cost them money. As she entered the bathroom Dean’s head was cocked down to the left, almost resting on his shoulder, his face all contorted as he stared into the mirror. “Uh, what’s up?” Terri moved in behind him.
Dean spun towards her quickly, bent at the knees to get closer to Terri’s five-foot height and pulled his earlobe forward. “What the hell is this?”
Terri wrinkled her nose at the shiny puss filled sack growing behind Dean’s ear. “I don’t know. A boil? Does it hurt?”
“Of course, it hurts. Look at it, it’s huge.” He poked at it and winced.
“Well quit touching it,” she berated him. “Here,” Terri ran the water hot, “put a warm cloth on it. That’ll draw the puss out and help it shrink.” She couldn’t help but tease. “Maybe you’re growing a second head.”
“That’s why I called you,” he grimaced as he pressed the hot rag against his skin, “you’re the smart one.”
“Suck up.” She smiled at his backhanded compliment, knowing he just wanted her to baby him. “Come on, let’s go pop in a movie, it’ll take your mind off it.”
Terri propped herself up in the corner of the couch with an old towel across her lap and a bowl of hot water on the end table. Dean stretched out snuggling up so she could keep the warm compress on his ear for him. “This is nice.” He said as he wrapped his arms around the pillow.
“U-huh, for you maybe.” She frowned. “This boil is gross. It must be coming to a head soon ‘cause I swear it has a pulse.”
“That’s what the towel is for, shhh, good part…” Dean focused on the show.
Terri shifted to get a kink out of her leg and tried not to feel the movement under her fingers. As the cloth cooled, she gently drew it away from his skin. The boil had now risen to the size of a grape. The skin pulled so taut that it was nearly translucent and she could see the dark yellow puss rolling inside. Terri’s stomach clenched, and she quickly dipped the cloth into the water. The faster she could cover the sight the better.
“Ewww.” She shuddered in disgust. It looked as though some mucus was beginning to leak out the bottom of it. She was about to tell Dean to go to the bathroom when he started snoring. She leaned her head back. “I wish I could fall asleep so fast,” she muttered, figuring she should just cozy in and let the towel do its job.
As she watched the movie, Dean’s deep breathing became a soothing backdrop, and it wasn’t long before her eyes were closing.
Something tickled at Terri’s face. She brushed the errant hair off her cheek and mumbled. Her eyes felt heavy and her neck was hurting, but she was too dozy to move. The tickling came again farther down her neck. “Mmm, don’t, I’m tired.” She brushed her hand at her face, now thinking Dean was getting frisky.
Her heart jolted in her chest as her fingers touched a smooth hot surface. Terri’s eyes flew open, something felt wrong.
As she looked down, she let loose a blood-curdling scream.
Dean was still in her lap, but her husband was gone. His face was covered in a thin red pulsating film, with engorged yellow tentacles streaming out the sides. Her scream sent them into a frenzied cadence.
Terri aimed to push Dean away, and the tendrils shot straight up in unison, grabbed her around the head and sucked her into Dean. The membrane opened quickly, locking her inside the Dean cocoon.
The alien toxin paralyzed her instantly, and she could only stare into Dean’s milky eyes until the tendrils finally made their way to her brain.