By Jess Charle
I stay inside, locking myself in my home to protect the world from the horror that is me. I sometimes allow myself the simple pleasure of experiencing the company of others virtually, the internet a place where I can be anonymous and unnoticed.
My face is deformed from years of a genetic disease that creates blisters all over my body. I cannot blend into a crowd for my angry red skin attracts the stares and jeers of my fellow man.
A few months ago this “doctor” started sending me messages. Anne Madorsky told me she had a “miracle cure” as if I had never heard that before. One quick look online showed that she was, in fact, NOT a doctor. She had never been a doctor. No, she was a crazy woman who claimed to be something she very much was not. Quite the opposite of me when you think of it. I hide in the shadows, wishing not to been seen but never under the delusion that I am anything I am not while she runs wild through the streets making wild claims and ignoring her true self.
The woman had been arrested twice for stalking and once, last year, for attacking a woman and trying to slice her fucking arm open with a scalpel.
Thanks to a judge’s misguided sympathy, Anne, who very obviously should’ve been locked up tight in jail, was released into the care of her brother. Unlike his sister, I guess he actually WAS a doctor, and one with enough prestige and influence to claim he could… handle his older sister.
Soon after blocking her on all social media, Anne started appearing at my front door, screaming about her “magic cure” for my physical condition. I didn’t think too much of it but instead tried to ignore her. As someone who lacks a normal social life, it didn’t particularly disrupt my existence. Though, I did end up getting a restraining order. More for her protection than for my own. As I’ve said, there’s a reason I live in solitude.
To give her credit, Anne does not give up easily.
A few nights ago I awoke from a deep stinging sensation in my neck. Flooded with panic, I opened my eyes to see a shadowy figure hovering over me. I tried to scream but my body was frozen in place. Another figure appeared and I could hear it gag at the sight of me. The two picked me up, jostling me as if I were a fucking rug rolled up for goodwill. The clumsy kidnappers banged my head against my bedframe and dropped me on the floor.
Thank god I have carpet.
One of the figures threw my sheet on top of me and I could see nothing as I was tossed into the trunk of a car. Only able to feel and hear the world around me, I tried to quell my thumping heart using the meditation practices I have been studying to keep my emotional pain and desires at bay.
When the sheet was finally whipped from my face I was in a dirty cement basement. The walls were cracked and dust rained from the ceiling. My body was still paralyzed but with the movement permitted by my eyes I was able to see that the floor was simple packed dirt. Along one wall was a small mirror above a bucket and beside me lay a rectangular metal tray covered in medical tools. To the side rested a giant aquarium that appeared to be empty.
Again I tried to scream but to no avail. Terror welled inside of me as my heart banged against my ribs. I concentrated and tried to shake myself into movement. My shoulders began to quake but another pain dug into my neck and they stilled. My vision swirled and blurred as shadows moved in front of me. I could feel electricity as I was prodded, then a heavy wet substance was rubbed vigorously into my tender skin. Tears drained from my eyes as I felt my skin break, blisters popping, exploding with hot liquid that sizzled on raw exposed flesh. It felt as if I were being burned alive.
My arm was lifted above my head, followed by a sharp pain entering my armpit. Unlike the stabbing pain in my neck, this one was slow and dragged across my skin. The pain shot through my body, entering deeper and deeper as the wound grew. My insides were pushed aside, the pain I constantly feel from my disease paled in comparison to this hell. My body was dead to me as I tried to scream and writhe.
And then something entered my body. It burrowed into me and began to move. An alien, a creature of some sort pulsating beneath my skin. I exhaled through the pain, using all my mental effort to focus my breath and my mind, to reconnect to my body now a stranger. I breathed in and felt my fingers twitch slightly. I breathed out and felt strength and will rush to my limbs. I inhaled and I screamed.
Swinging the arm that was being attacked, I threw the figure from my body as I sat up. My slowly focusing vision targeted the bloody scalpel beside me and I grabbed it just in time to sink it deep into the other figure’s neck.
I inhaled and exhaled, regaining strength and consciousness as I focused on a face.
“You! What did you do?” I screamed at her as she knelt by the man I had just stabbed. She was crying over him, desperately trying to apply pressure to the wound.
I stood shakely and walked to the mirror I had noticed earlier to examine what she had done to my arm. Looking closely at my skin, I could still feel something. It writhed and crawled beneath my skin like a snake.
I turned to her, hot anger rising in me, replacing my fear and shock.
“What did you put inside of me?” I demanded, but she only sobbed and shook her head. I turned back to the mirror and saw a small set of stitches. The movement inside me grew and I pressed my fingertips against the wound like a pregnant mother, feeling the living being stealing nutrients from my body. Eating me from the inside out.
Breathing in and out, I dug through the stitches with the scalpel. Once the stitches were broken, I dropped the scalpel and, focusing my energy, reached into the wound. I screamed at the pain as I felt my body break beneath the force. Fluids flowed freely down my torso as I dug deeper and deeper. The crazy bitch had put a living creature inside of me and I had to get it out. Finally I felt something foreign inside my arm. I gasped as I tugged at it. The sensation of pulling a string through my body made me shake and I looked down to see a thin white line being pulled from the wound.
The creature fell and I gagged as I watched it twist on its own. I stopped short as I noticed my face in the mirror before me. My skin, always red and inflamed, was now broken. Open wounds covered me, morphing me even more into the monster I am on the inside.
I turned to Anne who was still kneeling in the pool of blood, sobbing, begging me to stop. I picked up the silver medical tray and brought it down on her head with a sickening crack.
She was dead by the time the police arrived.
They rushed me to the hospital and my wounds were treated, but the large angry scars still mark what she did to me. Diane, one of the nurses, told me in confidence that normally they’d recommend plastic surgery, but my disease makes it almost impossible to perform any cosmetic changes.
Diane doesn’t like it when I refer to myself as a monster. Diane says I have a good soul. She smiles at me as if I were someone worth her attention, as if I were a human. She tells me beauty is only skin deep.
She doesn’t realize that my skin is not what makes me a monster. It is what lurks in the dark. I locked myself inside my home to protect the world – an angry monster in a cage. But I have taken lives now, I have tasted terror and pain. I have ripped the living from this realm and the power of it has flowed through me like a knife.
Diane has offered to help me settle back at home, get myself back on my feet. I’ve accepted her offer with gusto.