Flash fic – The Thing

CW: body horror

As you may well know, I’ve had some health issues, and I had this kind of gross idea for a story partially based on those woes. So here it is.

The Thing

The first doctor thought it was a cyst.

It was a bulbous mass that grew on Evie’s right hip. It was almost perfectly circular at first, and kind of hard. But then it started to take on a worm like appearance, and became a bit more spongy. It didn’t hurt, although sometimes it felt kind of funny. She couldn’t say exactly what it felt like though, and really she only went to the doctor because her pants wouldn’t fit.

There were tests taken, and they added up to nothing. The only thing in the cyst appeared to be blood. It wasn’t cancerous, wasn’t pus, wasn’t some rare parasite, wasn’t anything really. And yet, it still seemed to be growing. Surgical removal was possible, but Evie wondered if it was worth it. Drugs and various other treatments had been tried and had failed just as quickly.

Then she started having the dream.

It was the same one, over and over. The tumor had become a sizable sausage roll under her skin. She dug her fingers into her own flesh, which tore like wet clay, and pulled out the thing under her skin, a formless lump of tissue and fat. That’s where the dream stopped, with the bloody lump in her hand. After a whole week of it, she decided it was a message.

Evie wasn’t stupid. She knew this was madness. But she also knew you could get everything on the internet, which is how she came to have a scalpel, and topical numbing agent.

She decided to do it in the bathroom , with a whole bunch of towels around. She waited until her hip was good and numb – and felt weirdly cold – before she got to work.

She gave herself several chances not to do it, but in the end she cut into her own flesh. The numbing agent held, and while her blood was dribbling out all over the floor, it still felt like this was happening to someone else. She managed to cut it out, and much like the dreams had told her, it was little more than a bloody lump of skin and fat. Really gross.

She tossed it in a garbage bag, and moved fast. She had antiseptic spray, which she sprayed liberally over the wound before slapping a maxi-pad and duct tape over the wound. It was going to absorb more blood and stick better than the flimsy gauze pads and paper tape she found in a first aid kit. That shit wouldn’t help a paper cut.

Evie also had some painkillers left over from her last dental visit, and took one with bottled water before she even stripped off her gloves. She knew when the pain came back, this was going to be a bitch. Hell, between that and the bleeding, she knew she might not live through the night. If she didn’t, at least she knew who to blame.

Evie went to bed, wondering if she’d wake up again. Would it be so bad?

But somehow she did wake up in the morning. With herself standing beside the bed, looking down at her. “Did you have to put me in a garbage bag?” Evie asked. She pinched herself, but she didn’t wake up, only hurt herself. “Yeah, I tried that too. We can’t both be dreaming, so this must be real, as crazy as it is.”

That sounded like something that would be said in a dream. But how was that possible?

Time made nothing better. Evie ended up sitting at her kitchen table with herself, and talking about what happened. It seems that lump of flesh she’d cut off herself had somehow grown into a new her. No, that made zero fucking sense, but that was all they had left. She had the same memories, the same everything, except she woke up on the floor of the bathroom with a torn garbage bag around her. Oh, and the clone (?) didn’t have an injury in her side either, which piqued Evie’s curiousity. Her wound wasn’t hurting at all, and the numbing agent and the pain pills had undoubtedly worn off by now. So a quick check was the second shock of the day – he wound was all closed up. She’d clearly bled a bit, at least at first, but then healed up, like she was fucking Wolverine or something. Which made no sense, but hey, everything so far had been unbelievable, why not this too? At least they were both having a hard time with this.

They did a couple of hasty experiments, but it turned out, if one felt pain, the other didn’t. They were purely autonomous copies, although Evie 2 was not fond of the word copy. But she didn’t like clone or doppleganger either, and Evie didn’t know what that left them. Twin? Except a twin born thirty four years too late. And out of her side, like she was Zeus or something.

When night fell, and they’d both had a couple of drinks so it felt less crazy – which it never really did – Evie 2 brought up the idea that now their life was open to crime. Because no one could be in two places at once, except them, now. Someone could be in a very public, open space, with many witnesses, while the other robbed a bank or something. Really, it would be the perfect crime. As long as no one told their secret, it should work a treat. At first, this was a joke. But after a while, she began to think about it seriously.

Because she was up to her eyeballs in debt. Bills she couldn’t pay, medical expenses she’d never finish paying off. Except robbing a bank was extreme, wasn’t it? You had to worry about dye packs and tracable money, cops and witnesses. It could go wrong in a thousand different ways, many of them violent, and no one wanted that. Really, if she was going to commit a crime, why not just use stolen credit card numbers on the dark web? But Evie 2 seemed to think there might be a more tangible way for this to work for them. They just hadn’t cracked it yet.

They’d honestly had too many drinks, and fell asleep at some ridiculous hour of the night, Evie on the couch. She was aware, vaguely, that Evie 2 told her she was going to take a bath at some ungodly hour of the morning. When Evie woke up a bit later on, she was instantly struck at how quiet it was. Her first nervous thought was maybe Evie 2 had headed out to do something, but really, why would she? Unless she ran to the store, which would honestly be a help.

But she got her answer when she went into the bathroom. The tub was full, and floating amonst the bubbles was strips of flesh, as if torn from something, and a general reddish color. It took a bit of staring at it for a bit for her to really grok that Evie 2 had dissolved in the bath.

Was it the water? Or was it the time? Evie had to wait for another lump to grow to find out, but luckily – ? – it didn’t take long. Within forty eight hours, she had a sizable lump on her hip, which she cut off once more, but this time, she placed the bloody glop on the bathroom rug, sans garbage bag.

It happened again.

This time, she discussed the situation with Evie 2, who was just as curious to know what caused her end the first time (although she had no memory of it – autonomous being and all that). She didn’t touch water, but after twenty four hours, she melted into a pile of goo. It wasn’t agonizing. One moment, Evie was helping herself to more caffeine, in a futile attempt to stay awake, and when she turned around, Evie 2 was no longer sitting in a chair, but there was torn skin and bloody red liquid all over the floor. A spontaneous dissolution? Certainly seemed that way. And why not? It was as inexplicable as all the rest of this.

At least she had usable intel now. One of her cyst clones only had twenty four hours to exist. A little depressing for them, perhaps, but it gave them a base to work with.

When the next Evie 2 came along, they started planning their heist.

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