A Rash Decision

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cover image: pixabay.com.

A Rash Decision

It was a strange thing. Up until I caught sight of it I had no idea that the rash was there. As soon as I saw the raised red lumps I knew they should not have been there. Did it hurt or itch? To be honest, it took me a while to figure that one out.

Itching won. And once I started to scratch, I could not stop.

The rash had started out quite small, just about a two inch square on the inside of my left wrist. By the following morning it had spread all the way up to my elbow, and as I scratched away it spread over my skin faster and faster.

No matter how much I scratched I could not get any relief. Not even a minute of it. Wrapping up in a coat and hat I made my way to the nearest pharmacy where I looked through rows of bottles of lotions that promised to ease my discomfort if only I knew what the rash was. There was a chart on the wall that showed different skin problems but none of them came near to the rash that now covered my entire body.

Those little red lumps had run into each other, forming bigger lumps that continued to spread until I felt like I was on fire with this constant burning itch.

I knew my self-diagnosis was wrong but I felt to embarrassed to ask the pharmacist for advice. Before I went to the counter to pay, I pulled the scarf up to cover all but my eyes, and even then I could feel that the lids were inflamed. The cashier did not even look at me, which was a relief.

I made my way home and as soon as there was enough hot water to half fill the bath tub, I ran the water, adding half the contents of the bottle of bath additive. I climbed in and submerged myself, even holding my breath so that I could put my entire face beneath the water.

Was it helping? I couldn’t tell, but I used a rough flannel to rub at the rash rather than my finger nails. It was not until I climbed out of the tub that I saw what I had done. Entire patches of my skin were floating on the water’s surface. Maybe that was a good thing; it could be that I had shed the infected skin.

Except that wasn’t the case. My skin was taking on the appearance of raw meat, as the top few layers pulled away beneath my nails. I slathered on the ointment, telling myself it was helping, the itching was easing.

Did I have enough gauze to wrap myself in? No, not nearly enough, and the gauze that I used just became wet with some kind of fluid, making me tear at it. Sedatives! I’d take a handful and make myself sleep, that way my skin would have a chance to recover.

In theory it should have helped but in practice it didn’t. I woke up to find that I had scratched through to bone, to sinew, to muscle. I was falling apart at my fingertips and there was nothing I could do to prevent myself from scratching.

 

(558 words)


Submitted: December 26, 2020

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Mike S.

Scary-good, Hull

Sat, December 26th, 2020 6:57pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mike. I wasn't sure whether to go ahead with this one, to be honest.

Sun, December 27th, 2020 4:40am

JE Falcon aka JEF

Oh my!

Sat, December 26th, 2020 9:22pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for reading, JE. Not very festive, I know.

Sun, December 27th, 2020 4:39am

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