I saw something in the back of my throat.

I don’t have a lot of time, so I’m going to have to make this quick.

This all started around two weeks ago. I was brushing my teeth normally one night when I started to feel a strange ache in the back of my throat. Sort of like the feeling you get at the start of a bad cold, except it came on more suddenly. Slightly concerned, I spat my toothpaste out and tried my best to get a look back there to see if there was any irritation. I had a bit of trouble getting a good look until I used my tooth brush as a makeshift tongue-depressor. I tilted my head back at just the right angle so that the bathroom light fixture would shine its weak light down there.

There was…something sticking out of my throat, just behind my uvula. It was thin and stringy, only about a millimeter or two wide. I thought maybe a bit of spaghetti or something had just gotten stuck back there, until I remembered that I hadn’t had any pasta in over a week.

Then I saw it wriggle.

I felt a sickening chill run down my spine. I snatched up a pair of tweezers off of the edge of the sink, nearly gagging in my haste to shove it down my throat. It took a few tries, as the thing was squirming like crazy at this point, but I finally managed to get a hold of it. As I started to pull it out, I felt an odd tugging feeling at the flesh of my throat. There was no pain, strangely enough, just an odd feeling of pleasant release.

That feeling quickly left me as the last bit of it came loose and brushed against my lips on its way out. I nearly vomited at that, tossing the tweezers and whatever it was that I had just pulled out of my throat into the sink. Not really wanting to look at it, but compelled by a sick curiosity, I examined the thing I had just tossed into the sink.

It was some sort of strange worm. It was about 4-5 inches in length, and had a oddly pale body that was segmented like an earthworm. On one end it tapered off to a point like one would expect, but on the other it had a pair of razor sharp pincers, almost like a centipede. It struggled aimlessly, thrashing weakly back and forth in the sink in an attempt to gain purchase on the slippery ceramic. Trying it’s best to escape.

On an impulse I looked back into my throat, where I had pulled the thing loose from. Where it had once hung there was nothing but an odd hole. There was no bleeding or pain or anything like that. It was just there, quivering slightly around the edges.

Obviously, I went straight to the hospital.

I hadn’t been to see any sort of doctor in years. Less because of any sort of distrust of traditional medicine or anything like that, and more out of necessity. I didn’t have any sort of health insurance, and couldn’t afford regular check-ups out-of-pocket. I had nothing in the way of medical history with the hospital or a primary care physician for them to check with. I expected to wait for quite a while, but when they heard the apparent cause of my issue they quickly rushed me in to see a doctor.

They took a few x-rays and then ran me through an MRI first. No one would say anything to me about what they were finding; they just told me they “needed to run a few more tests”. Eventually, they just left me in an empty examination room and told me to wait there while they sorted out my results. The whole thing had me incredibly on edge, especially since they wouldn’t say anything to me about what was going on. This only got worse as time went on, and I ended up waiting in that room for a couple of hours. The whole wing I was in was dead silent, as if I was the only one there. I was about to get up and go find someone to ask what was taking so long, before I heard the footsteps of several people headed down the hall. Assuming that they were here for me, and hoping that it was good news, I waited patiently.

I certainly wasn’t expecting several men in full hazmat gear to bust in through the door.

I struggled, of course. I mean, who wouldn’t? However they must have got me with a sedative or something because, next thing I knew, I woke up in a plain white, sterile hospital room. This is where I’ve been ever since.

They haven’t told me where I am yet for security reasons, but I assume that I’m probably in a containment room as a CDC facility, or something like that. It hasn’t been so bad, being confined here and all. They’ve generally been pleasant with me, and haven’t been overly rough, provided I cooperate. They even let me have this computer that I’m using now, though my internet use is monitored and I’m not allowed to communicate with anyone.

They’ve been running a bunch of tests, takings samples, and trying different treatments on me. They wouldn’t tell me any exact details, just that I had a new type of parasite and they were trying to figure out the best way to deal with it. I didn’t question it too much, and just hoped they had my best interests at heart. It wasn’t like I had much choice in the matter, either way.

And that leads us to today.

Today was different. There were no tests, no scans, and no strange medicines. They just gave me my breakfast and left me to my own devices. I didn’t mind, of course. I’ve been feeling especially fatigued lately, and I appreciated the time to just relax. Eventually, a man came to talk with me, just before noon. He wasn’t wearing the usual hazmat gear, just some jeans, a t-shirt, and a lab coat. He sat with me, and gave me the basic rundown of what’s been going on.

Turns out, nothing they’ve done so far has been able to help. The worms have spread through nearly my entire body, and there are no signs of them ever stopping. Frankly the doctors are surprised I’m not dead, or screaming in pain at the very least, as little buggers have managed to burrow their way through and into just about everything below my neck. They seem to be maintaining my basic body functions for whatever reason.

Apparently I’m not an isolated case, and I’m just the first of many. The doctors think that some of the eggs must have gotten out, through me, and into the water supply. They seem to be resistant to traditional water treatment methods. Obviously isn’t a good sign, especially for a big city like mine. Cases started popping up here and there the day after I was admitted here.

As for why I’m being allowed to write this? Well, the reason is a bit grim.

According to the doctors, the worms are about to reach my brain. None of them know exactly what’s going to happen when they do, but they figure it can’t be good. Even as I type this, I feel a strange, itchy sensation moving its way up the back of my neck. The same sensation I’ve been occasionally feeling all over my body for the past few days. They’re hoping that last “letter” of mine, or whatever you want to call it, will help spread awareness of what’s to come. They can’t contain it anymore. They can only hope to minimize how far it spreads and control the panic that’s sure to ensue in the coming months. I probably won’t be alive to see what happens now, but I wish you all the best. Please get yourself checked out as soon as you can.

My name is Kate Michelson. Soon, you’ll all come to know me as Patient Zero.

I’m so sorry.

(source) story by (/u/Devil_Juice)

Marked

This morning, I started smelling a foul odor.

It started when I woke up on the couch in my apartment, where I had passed out after a long night of drinking. I thought, at first, that maybe I had left some food out again in my drunken stupor, but I couldn’t manage to find anything sitting out that could be the source of it. I thought that it could be that a small animal had maybe died in the walls or something like that. However, when I called down to my apartment manager to say something about it he seemed confused, as he hadn’t gotten any other complaints of a stench. I decided not to press the issue, though, on the off chance that my own personal hygiene habits were somehow to blame. I certainly didn’t want him to see how poorly I kept house.

It took me a moment to realize that, no matter where I went in my apartment, the smell was just as strong as it was previously. It had to be coming from me. However, when I hopped in the shower in the hopes of doing away with the stench, I found no amount of scrubbing could seem to rid me off it. It was if the smell was etched into my very skin.

I found myself wondering if one of the people I had over the night before had played some sort of awful prank on me. If so, they were in for some serious revenge, as this had to be one of the most foul smells I had ever experienced, like the rotting flesh of countless dead things strewn about on a field of their own shit. I wouldn’t have wished this on one of my worst enemies, let alone one of my so-called “friends”.

Eventually, I just had to come to terms with it. I was going to have to go to work like this. With a sigh, I hastily pulled on my somewhat ill-fitting suit and rushed out of my building just in time to catch the last bus to work. I felt so awkward stepping on to that bus, knowing the amount of discomfort I was going to be putting all those people through, but I couldn’t afford to miss work again. I avoided making eye contact with anyone on the bus that day, not wanted to see their disgusted stares.

I rushed in to my office building and past the front desk, ducking into the first empty elevator I saw. I didn’t want to make eye contact with the cute receptionist I had been thinking about asking out, not wanting her to associate me with this foul smell, and I certainly didn’t want to do anyone the displeasure of being stuck in an enclosed space with me. It seemed to have gotten worse, somehow concentrating itself slightly in the confined elevator. It now carried the subtle hints of rusty metal and rancid blood, a fact that I was absolutely ecstatic to discover. I could only hope that one whiff of me would be enough for my boss to decide to send me home for the day.

Imagine my surprise when I was “lucky” enough to have her hop on the elevator just two floors beneath mine. I felt bad about her being trapped in the elevator with me, but at least I wouldn’t have to expose the whole office to my stench. I stood there for a while, expecting a complaint or outburst of some kind. However, nothing happened.

I chanced a glance over at her to see what was going on, and was surprised to find my boss just browsing about on her phone, as if I wasn’t even there. I was baffled by this, as I had figured that I must have been noticeable from a mile away at this point. As if noticing my gaze she looked up from her phone, giving me a once-over before she turned her eyes back to her little, palm-sized screen.

“Good job being on time for once.” She eventually said.

The elevator dinged as we finally reached the right floor. My boss stepped out of the elevator and I sheepishly followed her, not sure what else to do. I glanced about the office, waiting for some sort of response from someone as imagined my stench wafting out and permeating the entire room. After some time though, I just had to accept the fact that nobody else could seem to smell the odor.

It wasn’t till the elevator slid shut behind me that I realized something else, though. It wasn’t that the smell had built up inside of the elevator. It had just gotten worse in general.

My day went on as normal. I worked on some projects, went to some meetings, interacted with coworkers, and just generally went about the day-to-day work that I despised so much. I could only just barely focus on hating my life though, as the smell continued to grow worse as the day went on, almost to the point of blinding me. I could barely function by the end of the day since it was so bad, yet my coworkers had yet to react to it in the slightest. That simple fact made it all more awful. Was I just imagining it? Was I going insane?

Quitting time couldn’t come early enough. As soon as 5 o’clock rolled around I was out the door before anyone could have the chance to ask me to stay late. I knew that it would probably bite me in the ass later on, but I could deal with that. What I couldn’t deal with anymore was this goddamn stench. I had to find some way to get rid of it. I somehow thought it wouldn’t do me much good, but I figured I’d swing by the store on the way home and try out some other ways of maybe getting rid of it.

I saw a dog-walker through the front windows of the building as I exited the ground floor and I instantly felt a lot better. I had always loved animals ever since I was young, and just seeing one was enough to improve my mood by ten-fold. I rushed out the front doors to get a closer look, especially excited to see one of my favorite dog breeds, a corgi.

I immediately realized, though, that something wasn’t right. The dogs, each and every one of them on the multitude of leashes the dog walker was holding, immediately recoiled at the sight of me. It was like a switch had been flipped as they took off running in the other direction, pulling the poor lady walking them off of her feet and dragging her behind them in their mad dash. My god… their expressions. I didn’t even think dogs could make faces like that. So full of disgust and fear.

It was the same with every animal I saw on my way to the store and back home. Dogs would freak out. Stray cats would hiss at me and run off. I even saw an entire swarm of rats and other vermin vacate an entire alleyway as I passed by. It was unsettling, the way all of them were repulsed by my very presence. At least I knew now that the smell was real though.

By the time I got home, the smell had somehow managed to get even worse. Every time I so much as sniffed, it would send waves of pain through my entire body, like a jackhammer beating a rhythm on my brain stem. I can barely stand to breathe at all anymore. I’ve tried everything I could think of to try and get rid of it: various expensive soaps and scrubs, countless types of deodorants and colognes, tomato juice. I even tried pouring bleach directly onto my skin. Nothing works. The smell just keeps getting worse and worse. It’s practically driving me insane. So now I’ve turned here, looking for help. Does anyone know what’s going on here? Can anyone help me?

I’ve had a terrible thought though, as I sit here alone in my apartment, where birds won’t even chirp outside my windows anymore. What if the reason that I can’t get rid of the smell, is because I was never really the source of it? What if it isn’t getting stronger?

What if it’s just getting closer?

(source) story by (/u/Devil_Juice)

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