That day was like any other, the sun shined bright in the sky and the winds of summer blowed with its gentle strength all day and all night.
I was walking through the King's Way Park, a lonely park after it was discovered that its river was contaminated by the city drain system. Its green meadows and tall trees were truly charming without the screaming kids and the swarms of protective parents.
I was on my way to work at the "Paper Window" bookstore, I knew this park like the palm of my hand, I knew the location of the infamous river, all the roads and all the way's in and out of this park.
I was the only soul to be seen in the emptiness of the park. For a loner like me this was nice.
The road to the bookstore has always been calmer than the way home, other people would come to this park after the working hours were over or after school when highschoolers would come into the park to drink and smoke, thinking no one notices them and that they were getting away with it, but in reality few care enough to do something. I didn't enjoy me way from work but at least it was quick to end.
The way the forest looked with only the sounds of the birds and the morning wind was magnificent. The view made me stop and admire the peace of the place. It was at that moment that it stung me.
At first I didn't understand what was happening, I felt a burning sensation in my neck, like the flame of a candle attached to the right side of my neck. I shook my whole body trying to get rid of the pain but it was getting even worse and worse with every move. Then I heard the buzzing coming from the insect, it sounded like a bell ringing right next to my ears, it was definitely a flying insect but the pain was like nothing I had ever felt.
After realizing that shaking it off wasn't an option I grab it by instinct with my bare hand and as I pull it out of my neck I felt the worst pain in my life, it felt like a red-hot iron was stabbing my skin. The pain was unbearable and I could only limit myself to scream out loud.
The moment I pull the insect from my neck it drops dead to the ground, lifeless as if it has never possessed life. I saw it red and green body and its translucent wings, it was slightly bigger than a quarter and it was the source of all the pain I was enduring. I saw it lying in the floor with oozing a yellow-ish liquid form its bottom part as if I was cut in half. The only thing I could think of was to stomp it with my foot repeatedly in anger.
I screamed for help, hoping that someone would come and call an ambulance. But nobody came.
The pain was still there, burning my neck with its painful sensation. I ran towards the park’s restroom to see how bad it looked, as I approach I could feel how each step, every vibration, felt like needles were being stabbed on my neck.
The bathroom was empty, it had grey walls and blue stalls. When I tried to look to the mirror, the pain got worse; I had to turn my whole body so I didn't have to twist my neck at all.
I was expecting to see a gross wound with red and swollen skin, but my neck looked perfectly fine, it all seem like it was normal except for a slightly pinkish-red area with a a thin brown line with a disgusting looking sack un top of it, almost as big as a marble. As I saw the sting I knew I had to pull it out.
I knew bees get their insides rip apart as they sting so the venom sack can pump venom inside its victim, this process kills the bee but it also makes the sting more dangerous.
The longer I waited the worse it would be as more venom would enter my body, and so I did it. I grab the sting and the sack and as soon as I touched it the pain grew enormously, the pain was similar to what I could only imagine is the sensation of needle buried in my skin being stirring in a circular motion by a sadistic doctor.
Nevertheless I was able to ripe the sting from my flesh and I throw it to the other side of the bathroom.
I felt a something new right after I did so, I felt a new pain; different to the one I was experiencing before, similar to the pain one feels after an injury, it was more tolerable than the agonizing sensation that was torturing me just a few seconds ago; yet it was an exhausting pain, one that took the breath out of me, one I could tolerate but I had to do so lying down, so I did, on the floor of the bathroom.
A few minutes passed as I lied there, helpless and alone. The pain slowly but surely diminished until it became a mild irritation, I had to touch my neck in order to feel the even the mildest trace of pain. I could finally stand again.
I was still shaken up by the whole ordeal. Never in my life have I been through such an experience.
I turn my neck from left to right and from right to left. Trying to provoke a reaction, but there is none.
Then I proceed to walk towards the sting, it is lying in the ground. I lift my foot from the ground and proceed to stomp it with all my might, after that I repeat the process again and again until it looks more like a spot of red in the white tiles.
I pulled out my phone and looked at the time, I was late for work and to explain all of this would have been ridiculous; I could have done so if there was evidence, and as I thought on the word "evidence" I realize how dumb of me was to step on the sting, a sudden reaction based purely on an irrational need for symbolic revenge took hold of me ofr a few seconds and because of that I had destroyed my justification and evidence of what happened just a few minutes ago.
I decided that the only good decision I can make is to go and invent an excuse and if anything happens related to my neck, until then I would go to the hospital. The fact that now I am perfectly fine is quite unnerving since there is not even a trace of what happened. I would have to check my neck every now and then for the following week and I can't go to the hospital going broke so I can only go as a last option. Right now money is tight and I can't afford to lose it.
After that I did the only thing I could and went to my work, terrified of the prospect of my commute becoming the target of another bug-related incident.
I left the bathroom with a sense of paranoia like I have never experience before. I surveyed my surroundings with a sheepish look. The first steps were made while my hands were pressed against the wall, as it would help in case of another attack. I detach my hands from the wall and get on the track of the park. I want to run but that might bring attention on me, so I basically speed walked towards the end of the park.
After I left the meadows of the park the walk to work was easier and more calmed. I was wondering how to explain all this to my boss, a nice old man yet capable of being really abrasive when someone mess up in the store or makes a dumb mistake. And being late is something he particularly hates. I prepare for worst.
As I turn the corner I see "The Paper Window"; it's a simple and boring job but it is an honest job for an honest pay. From the front window I look inside the store, trying to discreetly find my boss. The moment I saw he was already looking me straight in the eye, he then gestures me to come in with a grim look in his face.
I open the door and step in.
As I approach my boss I look around observing how many costumers they were. The store was empty.
My boss is a head taller than me and that is more obvious as he stands right in front of me; if the light bulb was on his back and instead of on top of us he would have eclipse me.
I decided to break the silence.
I started by apologizing and then I tried to justify my delay but he cut me off. He told me he understood and that he didn't mind because not a single client had come to the store. He then told me to get going and do whatever it needs to be done. It is unusual for him to be this forgiving. Unnatural of him even. He looked sad, yet I can only feel relieved I didn't get in trouble this time.
My day carried like usual; eventually costumers started to arrive and I dealt with like clerks do: smiles, greetings and after a while; fake smiles.
The day ended on a positive note. Most clients were decent, some honestly pleasant to deal with, of course there was an occasional rude customer but it is to be expected. I also somehow forgot about the morning incident, it was only during my walk home, in front of the park that I was remained of the pain that happened the same day; I could have crossed the park... but I had rather take the long way home.
A few days had passed and the memories of the sting are no more than that, memories, no more than a reminder of precaution when walking to work and back home; not even a scar arise from the incident.
I was a little shaken up to be honest. Every time I had the entrance of park in front of me I couldn't bring myself to enter it. I was afraid, I was paranoid it would happen again; and I was not willing to go through that ever again. I took the long way to work.
The longer commute to work has actually affected my performance at my job. I had to wake up earlier in order to compensate for the extra time it takes me to get to work and I guess that the reduce slumber messed up my sleeping schedule. At work I felt exhausted, I started to feel dizzy and even lightheaded; it was just a small annoyance at first but with the hours increasing it started to get worse, yet, somehow I managed to appear like a productive worker long enough for my shift to end after which, I promised myself I would sleep longer that night.
As soon as my body reached the bed I felt into a deep slumber.
I feel something... I felt something... I feel it again and again it faded away.
I bolted from my bed trying to turn on the light and from the corner of my eye I could see that my clock stated that it was twelve minutes after three of the morning. The lights brought pain to my eyes, yet, it didn't matter to me at the moment all I care for was to find it. I felt something… crawling over my skin, a sensation that resembles a finger moving on my skin and I could only assume it was a bug.
I went then to the bathroom in order to use the mirror. I searched from top to bottom looking for the bug and after the futile hunt. I looked for it in my bed, in my walls, in the ceiling, everywhere I could I searched for it... I was trying to find in the way one looks out for a thief in your house... I am sure it was there but I couldn't find it anywhere. With all this movement I started to feel lethargic even lightheaded; bad sleep combined with suddenly awaking and fast movements is not good for the head.
But in the end I didn't found anything.
I turned off the light.
The bug probably left, so I went back to sleep fearfully... Otherwise I would faint on the job do to exhaustion. I buried myself on the blankets of my bed and went to rest one more time.
The sensation came again, and now it was worse. Worse that I could ever imagine.
This time it didn't cease... This time it was in my wh0le body... I felt thousands of legs moving on me... My arms and legs... My chest and heads.... I could feel them in the back of my neck and inside my mouth.
I screamed like I have never before... I scream for help.... I shrieked in absolute terror as I punched and smacked every part of my body that I could... I brush my hands against my body trying to get them off my in the absolute darkness that engulfed my room.
My panicked mind started to act on its own. The door to the bathroom was flung open with a loud crash with the wall as my body rushed inside. A look in the mirror contradicted everything I felt... In the mirror there was only my panicked face with a small redness from where I slapped myself trying to get the bugs.
The mirror was lying to me... I could feel them all over me... All of them, every single one of them... Crawling.
The best option was to get help. The neighbor, a friend, the police. I couldn't care less as long as somebody was there.
I turn my body as I tried to exit the bathroom only to be meted with a sharp pain in my face, I banged myself with the half-way open door. My hands covered my face while my panic hasn’t settled yet. I took another look at the mirror yet again.
I was horrified.
From my nose emerged a slight trail of blood.
And an insect along with it.
And then another emerged after it.
They were inside of me. All of them.
My mind went insane. The only thought that survived in my mind was "Get them out, get them out, get out, get out, get out, out, OUT, OUT, OUT!!!!!"
I was no longer rational; I was an animal with an instinct of survival in full power, my blood was mixed with adrenaline. I was fighting and flighting at the same time. But there was nowhere to run from this threat.
I wanted no more than to get them out, I didn't want help, I want them out, I didn't want to scream I want them out.
Under my skin ran the bugs like a swarm of ants in their nest. Is that what I was to them?
My body acted on its own, with a lone purpose to take out the bugs from under my skin. That's why I think I ran to the kitchen instead of out.
I scrambled from cupboards to shelves to counters and in the end I found it over the table. A silver knife that shined with the lights above.
I would get them out.
The metal got dig into my right wrist releasing a swarm of them as soon as a hole was created.
They were getting out.
It was working.
The moment my eyes saw the bugs buzzing out of my arm; my hand move by itself and dragged the blade down more and more. There was no pain, but rather and unbreakable desire to get them out at any expense that was needed.
The instrument of my mutilation advance even more through my arm until it was stopped by the bones in my elbow.
More insects emerged every second.
And I fell to the floor.
I now could see something interesting... the blood on the floor was little... It looked more like someone spit crimson water in the white
floor. Not like the pond in which I should be lying on. It was them. They took my blood… I’m sure.
The bugs were flying through the kitchen; they were creating with their wings a violent symphony of behemoth loudness that only now I could hear.
At last they were out.
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