Flesh and Blood (For 'Woke Up This Morning' Comp.)
Woke up this morning with a boil on my toe. It’s an unusual
place to find a boil but that’s what it was. At least, that’s what it looked
like. It was on the second toe of my right foot. It was round, about the size
and shape of a small pea and sat just below the nail. I put on my glasses and
examined it closely.
“Hello.” I said to the boil.
It seemed to be filled with a clear liquid though the head
was whitish and the base, where it attached to my toe, was a dark angry red. I
pressed my finger gently against it and winced, it was sore. I had to get to
work so I put a nice thick sock over it, for cushioning, and slid my foot into
my hushpuppies. Barbara had hated these shoes but she wasn’t here to complain
now. I’d been devastated when she moved out, at first anyway, but I’d soon got
used living alone.
I’d forgotten all about the boil by the time I got to work.
The London underground in rush hour(s) is good for taking your mind off
anything other than being able to breath/stand/move. I forgot all about it
until I got home that night. I always had a shower when I got in, get rid of
the city from under my nails. I chatted to myself as I undressed. This was a
new habit, new since Barbara had left, but seemed natural enough. Lots of
people who live alone talk to themselves, I don’t think it meant anything, I wasn’t
lonely or anything like that.
It was when I was drying myself that I noticed the boil
again. It was no longer on my toe but sat on the side of my ankle on the same
foot. I didn’t know boils moved, it threw me. I pressed it lightly as I had
that morning, it was still sore and it seemed a little larger too. I placed a
sticking plaster over it “Go away!” I told it “Ugly looking thing.” Then I felt
bad for being mean, it wasn’t the boils fault it was unattractive and I wasn’t
exactly handsome so who was I to judge. I said goodnight to the boil and hoped
it would be gone in the morning.
Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather the next
day when I checked the plaster. I pulled it quickly, it’s always better that
way though it took some hairs with it. Underneath was nothing but smooth skin.
At first I was relieved but then I felt a strange tingling sensation on my
upper leg or lower back or what you might call, my bottom. I stood with my naked
backside to the mirror and craned my neck. There it was, right in the centre of
my right buttock. It was difficult to see it clearly “What are you doing
there?” I asked the boil which was now the size of a malteser. The head was a
solid white colour now, distinct from the clear liquid beneath, the base was
almost black. I’d have to go to the doctor if it didn’t clear up soon, it would
be showing through my clothes if it got much bigger.
It was an uncomfortable day, not just because I had to sit
perched on my left buttock for fear of bursting my boil but also because of the
increased tingling sensation that radiated from it. I was glad to get home at
the end of the day and strip off. I ran myself a bath and lay in it on my
front. The fleshy twin hillocks of my behind emerged from the bubbles and atop
the right one sat my boil.
“Well, you’ve caused me a few problems today.” I said to my
boil feeling somewhat fond of my new companion. It was better than talking to
myself I suppose.
I woke up before the sun the next day and immediately ran my
hand across my hindquarters. Nothing. I knew better that to assume it had gone
so I made myself a cup of tea and then went back to the bedroom to remove my
pyjamas, unveiling my body. There it was, on my chest now, slightly to the
left, right over my heart. It had grown again and was now the size of a small
hen’s egg. I marvelled at it as I examined it “Look at you, haven’t you grown!”
I said gently stroking the top of my boil which was now covered in black downy
fur. I rested my hand over it and closed my eyes, I could feel it pulsing in
time with my heart.
I was distracted at work. I kept popping to the bathroom to
check my boil. My boss must have noticed my frequent absences and asked if I
was feeling ill. I said I was and went home early, I didn’t really want to be
there. I felt unusually tired and slept on the sofa for the afternoon. When I
woke up the room was dark and I was disorientated. I groaned and rolled off the
sofa onto the floor, landing heavily on my knees.
I froze. I hadn’t spoken.
“Aren’t you going to get up?” The voice was high pitched and
croaky at the same time, it sounded like a heavy smoking seven year old.
The voice started laughing and I jumped to my feet flicking
on the lights. I saw the shadow first, a shadow in the periphery of my vision.
“Aren’t you going to say hello?”
I couldn’t bring myself to turn my head, already knowing
what I would see, instead I walked slowly to the mirror and stood there with my
mouth open as I looked at my reflection. Our reflection.
“Close your mouth for goodness sake, you look like a dead
I closed my mouth. The boil, which sprouted from my right
shoulder, now resembled a tiny version of my own head. It smiled at me.
“That’s better. Fancy a bath?”
I didn’t know what to say so I went upstairs and ran a bath.
The boil chatted happily to me all the time. I slid into the hot water, feeling
cold with shock.
“Cheer up,” said the boil, “you wanted some company didn’t
you?” I suppose that was true.
The boil and I went to bed late that night. I’d talked about
Barbara, about what it was like when she left, the boil was a good listener. It
might sound strange but I had the best night’s sleep in ages, knowing I wasn’t
I’m not sure how it happened, or when it happened but the
next thing I remember was a loud rhythmic thumping that sounded like a
heartbeat and the feeling of a vest being pulled over me. I couldn’t see
anything but I knew where I was. I was on my chest.
“Don’t worry, everything will be alright” said the boil that
was now alone on the neck that used to be mine.
I’m sure you can guess the rest. Being on my own bottom was
rather unpleasant, I’d never been so close to it before. The ankle wasn’t too
bad and now I’m on the second toe of my right foot. I’m the size of a pea. I
can feel myself getting smaller and I am looking forward to disappearing if I’m
honest. I don’t much like being on a toe.