Halloween is here - next week actually - and Chuck has asked us to write a cool little flash fiction about a disease! Okay... no probs, I guess I can have fun with this one - just like the last one!
I had no idea who the guy was at the party. Actually I don’t think he was invited, but he was walking around there in a hospital gown shaking everyone’s hand – anyone’s hand – who arrived at the door. He greeted them as though he knew every single one of us his whole life.
Everyone gave him strange looks, thin smiles and wondered who the hell he was before walking off into the crowd looking for friends, a drink and something to eat.
The music pounded.
The night went on.
My party was the best Halloween Costume Party on the block. And the police didn’t even show up because it was over before midnight… as stipulated on the invites.
I didn’t even see that weird guy leave; so didn’t get a chance to ask who he was. But I did ask my friends and none of them knew him either.
But it was only a week later, when I was listening to my most recent purchased audio-book that the tips of my fingers started to look like they were blistering. Frowning, I picked the skin off thinking it was just the change in season; that my body was shedding like it normally does.
But it didn’t stop at just my fingertips.
My nails started to flake.
I went to the doctor with cotton gloves on – terrified of touching anyone or letting anyone see my hands – and he even put on gloves to look at them.
“Jessie, I don’t know what to tell you.” He said, “Where have you been lately?”
“I held a really cool Halloween Party last week, but since then, I’ve done my normal stuff.”
“Well… I’ve been to work, gone shopping, minded my neighbour’s kids, helped the old lady next door with her gardening… and you know I do volunteer work at the soup kitchen.” I smiled, “I’ve pulled out of that since I’ve developed this.”
“Good, I want you to see a dermatologist.” He pulled out his referral pad and began scribbling on it, “He’s a good one.”
“Okay.” I nodded thinking how much money it was going to cost me to have these peelings looked at.
He smiled, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine, he bulk bills.”
A few days passed and I noticed there were a few little things going wrong…
…like I lost the fingernails on my little fingers.
I don’t remember where I lost them, I looked at my hands one afternoon, and they were just… gone!
I was horrified and felt very naked without those cute little nails… but I still made my appointment with the dermatologist.
But on the morning of the appointment, I looked in the mirror and found skin was flaking at my hairline!
I cancelled the appointment and called an ambulance.
The people in the vans and hazmat suits were really off-putting, but I guess they had to dress that way. I didn’t want to touch them, and they told me not to do or say anything as they escorted me from my home, strung tape all around the doors and windows and posted guards around my property.
Then, they asked me how long ago I noticed my skin blistering.
I told them.
They wrote it down.
They asked me how many people I’d been in contact with. When I told them I had been in public for over a week and a half they stopped writing…
“What do you mean you’ve been in public?”
“Well, it’s itchy and kinda burns a bit… and my skin won’t stop flaking.” I said.
“Miss, we have to take you to the colony where the last one escaped.”
“Escaped?” I asked, “He didn’t happen to get out around Halloween did he?”
“Yes, why?” the man asked.
“He attended my party.”
“How many people were at your party?” he asked.
“Over thirty people.” I replied, “And he shook hands with every single one of us. So, what do I have?”
He groaned, “You have the same thing he died from. He gave you Leprosy.”