Tag Archives: black

Little Black Pill. Short Story.

Chad poured whiskey into the coffee mug, filling it about half way, he poured a mouthful into his own mug, then he put the lid on the bottle and put it onto the table. He pulled a small baggie from his pocket, a single black pill sat inside it.
“Is that it?”
Chad nodded, “Yeah dude, you ready?”
Frank took a deep breath then exhaled slowly “yeah, lets do it.”
Chad opened the baggie and fished out the pill, then he dropped it into the mug and passed it to Frank. “Should I just drink it here or?”
Chad looked around the small kitchen, pots and pans were stacked in the sink, covered in stagnant water and moulding food, grime coated the linoleum floor which was a dark grey with various stains splattered across it. The table they sat at was rickety and though it looked reasonably clean it felt slightly sticky. The walls and ceiling were stained yellow and a thick stench of old smoke and burnt food hung in the air.
“Maybe the sitting room would be better, the couch would be more comfortable.”

They stood and moved out of the small kitchen and entered the sitting room, it was cleaner than the kitchen though not by much. Empty pizza boxes and Chinese food containers were scattered across the floor, as were mostly empty cans and beer bottles. The sitting room was small, with just enough room for the thread worn and sagging sofa, a squat coffee table sat in front of it, covered in wrappers and glasses, the few bits of the table that could be seen was covered in scorch marks and burns. Frank collapsed back onto the couch and turned on the massive flat screen TV that took up most of the wall in front of the couch. Chad sat down delicately, he sunk into the couch immediately, he tried not to show his disgust, he’d only been here for ten minutes and he felt like he needed a shower, long and hot with plenty of scrubbing to get the grime off his skin. Frank reached out and took the mug from Chad, he raised it in a salute then knocked it back, his Adams apple bobbing as he drained it. When he finished he coughed for a moment, eyes watering. Chad took a sip of his own drink, enjoying the warmth as it burned its way down his throat, he let out a short cough of his own.
“How long should this take?”
“Any second now.”
As Chad watched Frank’s eyes started to close, his pupils were dilating and a faint grin appeared. “Just relax into it.” Frank didn’t move, he couldn’t hear Chad any more. Chad extracted himself from the couch and downed the last of his drink before turning and leaving the sitting room. He let himself out the front door and breathed deeply, the air was thick with heat and the stench of burnt plastic and petrol but it still smelled better than Frank’s place. As he walked away from the house he pulled out his phone and dialled, the call was answered almost immediately. “I’m out, gave the last one away, I’ll need more as soon as possible.”
“More will be at the usual place in an hour.”
Frank hung up and smiled, he’d gotten rid of all the pills in only a week when they’d given him a month. As word was spreading he didn’t even have to look for customers, they just came to him the only problem was it could only be taken once, after that it just wouldn’t do anything. Chad himself hadn’t taken any and he had no plans to, that was the only rule they gave him, never sample the merchandise, everything else was fair game and he should just do what he had to do. He’d a growing suspicion that there was something else happening with the pills but he didn’t care, once he didn’t take them he’d be fine.

Frank started shuddering, his body spasming uncontrollably, he fell still then started vomiting, a thick black sludge that oozed across the filthy carpet. Frank moaned, his breathing was shallow and fast, his skin pale and clammy, it wasn’t like they said it would be, he could feel an intense pain ripping through his stomach. He moaned and writhed for almost an hour before he finally passed out, drenched in sweat and sitting in a pool of the black sludge. When he woke four hours later he felt great, shakily he stood using the table to push himself up, the thick sludge had hardened into a black shell that cracked and flaked from him as he moved. He stretched slowly, getting used to his muscles, he felt strange, off. He stumbled from the sitting room and up the stairs, leaning heavily on the bannister as he went. Upstairs he stripped off his clothes and got into the shower, carefully scrubbing that black stuff from his skin.

After his shower he felt remarkably good, everything seemed different, new, he could see it all with a whole new perspective. He caught sight of himself in the mirror and frowned, something was different, but he could quite pinpoint what. He started for a moment, then grinned at himself, he turned and left the bathroom, towel wrapped around his waist. The tiny wriggling worms in his eye disappeared a moment later, their thin black bodies burrowing deeper, they’d a job to do and nothing would stop them.

Black Rain. Flash Fiction

The black rains were coming, Tommy looked at the dark clouds that were rolling towards the town. He’d be stuck indoors for the next week, everyone would be. Once a year the black rain came and with it were the whisperers. They would scratch at the windows and doors, whispering promises and secrets. Tommy didn’t know what they looked like, no one did, the black rain obscured the windows and anyone who went outside during the rains was never seen again. The first raindrops began to patter against his window. Tommy watched for a few minutes until he could no longer see outside. The lamps provided some light in the rapidly growing darkness but as always they seemed dimmed somehow.

Tommy was pouring himself a drink when the first scratching started. Soft, gentle and persistent, he ignored it, it was followed a minute later by the whispers. It was too low to make out any proper words, he felt the urge to move closer to the window, to press his ear against it and listen. He turned from the window, leaving his drink behind.

It was day three and the whispering was getting worse, it was an almost constant noise in the background, when he ate, as he slept. It was relentless. The scratching and tapping were no better, at night he would scream back at them, beg and plead for them to stop, they never did.

It was the fifth day when they stopped tapping and started banging, heavy thuds against the doors and windows. They whispers were louder than ever but still he could make nothing out. It was maddening the words were there but just out of reach. He stood in front of the door, they promised him eternal life and everything else he could want, he knew it, if only he could understand what they were saying. He reached out and gripped the doorknob, it turned easily in his grip though he knew he had locked it days ago. He pulled the door open, a gust of window blew in carrying the black rain with it, it splattered over Tommy and the floor. He finally saw them. They looked like humans, dead and starving for years, their skin was grey and gaunt, their eyes were bright and feverish. They stumbled in, the whispering growing louder. They grabbed his hands, their skin cold, damp and somehow papery and with surprising strength they pulled him from his house and into the rain. The rain was cold, he felt it washing over him, coating his skin. He stumbled further into the rain, basking in it. He felt himself being pulled towards a house nearby, there was something inside, something he needed, something warm. He started scratching at the window and began to whisper with the others, begging to be let inside, promising everything they could ever want, if only they opened the door.

Black Hole. Short Story.

“What is it?”
“I don’t know.”
Tony walked closer to it, Christy grabbed his hand, “Don’t, it mightn’t be safe.”
Somewhere in the trees a bird squawked, Christy jumped and gripped his hand tighter. A slight breeze blew through the trees, the rustling of the leaves sounded like whispering. When the breeze died there was silence.
“Wait, I can’t hear the stream anymore. This is freaking me out, let’s go back.” Christy turned and took a few steps back the way they came, Tony stood still, she tried to pull him after her for a second then stopped. “Just hang on for a sec ok? We could be the first people to ever see something like this, can you imagine? We’ll be famous, known around the world.”
“How? No one will remember us, we’ll just be a footnote in a dusty book somewhere. Look, we’ve seen it, we’ll just head back and then we’ll figure out who to call to deal with it ok?”
“Just give me a few more minutes.” Tony bent and grabbed a stone, he paused for a second, then threw it at the large black disk. The disk was suspended in the air about four feet off the ground and completely black. The stone hit the black disk and vanished without a sound. “Did you hear it drop on the other side?”
“No, I didn’t, you shouldn’t be throwing stuff at this thing, what if it makes it bigger or something?”
Tony took a step forward, “Don’t be stupid, what could possibly happen?”
“I don’t know because I don’t know what the hell that thing is and neither do you. Stop! Don’t get any closer to it, what if it sucks you in!?”
Tony reached out slowly, “I don’t feel anything, there isn’t a pull, I don’t think it’s going to suck me in.”
Christy looked up at the trees, “I’m really freaking out here, why is it so quiet? There’s no animal noises, nothing. That always means something bad is going to happen in the movies. What ever this thing is it isn’t right, it isn’t natural and it shouldn’t be here.”
Tony waved one hand behind himself, “If you want to go, go ahead, I’m not going to stop you but I’m going to stay here for a bit longer.”
Christy stayed where she was, she wanted to go but she knew if something happened to Tony she wouldn’t forgive herself.
“Ok, I’m going to give you two minutes and then we go agreed?”
“Fine, fine.” Tony took a step closer, then took a step to the left, carefully he moved around it in a circle, “You have to see this, it just disappears from the side and it isn’t there from the back.”
“What? How is that even possible, that makes no sense.”
“I know but seriously, once you get to the side of it it just disappears. Poof. One second it’s there the next it’s just trees again.”
He went behind it and grabbed another stone, he tossed it where he thought the circle was “Anything?”
“Anything what?”
“I threw a stone through it from this side.”
“Jesus Christ, no there was nothing. I swear to God I’m going to leave without you.”
“Maybe that isn’t a bad idea.”
“Well one of us could stay here to make sure we find it again, I mean we weren’t exactly walking along a path or anything, it was just random chance, how big is that thing? Maybe two feet across, two and a half at the most? Would we be able to find it again? We didn’t even notice it until we were almost right on top of it.”
Christy threw her arms into the air, “Right, fine, you stay here and get eaten or killed or sucked into a black hole or what ever other stupid thing is going to happen to you. I’m going back to the others.” Christy turned and started walking back the way they came.

Tony moved to the front of the disk again, what ever it was it was fascinating. It felt so weird looking at it, like his eyes were telling him there was nothing there, that he wasn’t seeing anything. He had only ever seen one other thing like it and that was a bust covered in some special paint, it looked like someone had taken a scissors and simply cut out the outline of it in black paper. He had the strangest feeling that if he reached out and touched it it would feel like cold velvet. He picked up another rock and tossed it at the disk again. Behind him there was the sound of rustling bushes, “I knew you’d come back.”
“What?” Christy looked around, “No, this isn’t right, I didn’t come back, I must have gotten turned around or something.”
“Sure, sure.”
“I’m being serious.” She turned and started walking again, this time she made sure she was going in a roughly straight line, she moved from tree to tree. As she moved through the trees she noticed again how quiet it was and she still couldn’t hear the stream. She took another step then found herself back in the small clearing, Tony still studying the disk.
“Tony, seriously something is wrong, I keep ending up back here, I can’t get back. I swear I went in a straight line this time.”
Tony turned and looked at her, she looked like she was on the verge of tears, “Ok we’ll head back, I didn’t know you’d get this upset over it, it wasn’t like I was going to do anything stupid like try and jump through it.” Christy shook her head but didn’t say anything.

Together they left the clearing, as they went Tony was babbling about landmarks and who they should contact first, he pushed his way through some bushes and stopped. “Wait how did we get turned around.”
“We didn’t.”
“But we walked in a straight line. Lets go this way.”
They left the clearing again and again they ended up back at it a few moments later.

It felt like hours later but the sunlight hadn’t changed, Tony had been walking from the clearing for however long they had been here and every time he ended up back at it. Christy had given up after the first few attempts, she sat on a small outcropping of rocks keeping a wary eye on the disk. What ever was happening to them she knew it was the fault of that thing. Tony emerged from some trees and walked over to her, he was panting and hard large sweat patches on his t-shirt, his face was covered in a slick sheen of sweat. He sat down on the ground beside her. “It’s impossible, completely impossible but I can’t find a way away from here.”
Christy didn’t say anything, she just shook her head.
“It’s not my fault ok? What ever happened probably happened the moment we saw it. I didn’t know that we would get stuck here.”
The silence hung heavily between them, Tony sighed, “look, we’ll figure this out, we will.”

Christy looked up at the sky, “How long do you think we’ve been here?”
“I dunno, maybe three or four hours?”
“The sun hasn’t moved, are you thirsty at all? Or hungry?”
“No, I’m not.”
“Me neither.”
“What do you think it means?”
“I don’t know.” Christy had a sudden, terrible thought, “What if we’re dead and this is like the afterlife? Like maybe we got lost or fell or got bitten by poisonous insects?”
Tony shook his head, “No, I don’t think so. Everyone always talks about bright lights and tunnels, I’ve never heard of a floating black hole before.”
Tony picked up a rock and flung it at the hole again, “Goddamned Frank and his leave your phones in the tent bullshit. If not for him we could have called for help, or at least tried to.”
“I get the feeling phones wont work here either. I mean have you heard any animals? Or the trees rustling? Or anything at all?”
Tony was silent for a moment, “No, not that I can remember…maybe the only way out is through the hole? I mean we know rocks can go through it, maybe we can too?”
“Oh my god what the hell is wrong with you? How is that in anyway a good idea?”
“I don’t know, I can’t think of anything else, but if you can think of something better lets here it, c’mon.”
Christy shrugged, “We could just wait.”
“Wait? For how long? We could be trapped here forever, there’s no one coming for us. They’d have to have noticed we’re gone by now and we’re still here alone.”
Christy wrapped her arms around her knees, “If you want to try it go ahead, I’m not going to stop you from doing something stupid.”
Tony stood and approached the disk, slowly he reached out, his fingertips brushed against the darkness, he could feel something there, it felt like running his fingers across thin strands of fabric, if it was sticky he’d have thought of a spider web, it was slightly warm to the touch. He pushed his fingers through and that slight warmth enveloped them, it felt like his hand was cocooned, he pulled it out and carefully examined his fingers. They seemed fine. “It didn’t hurt or anything, nothing tried to pull me in, it’s kinda warm, feels almost like putting your hand into a pile of hanging threads or something.”
“Oh cos that doesn’t sound creepy and dangerous.”
“I’m going for it. If it works I’ll come back for you.”
“How can you come back? We don’t even know how we got here!”
“I’ll find a way, don’t worry.”
And before she could say anything else he reached further into the disk and a second after that he was gone.
Christy sat in the clearing, now that she was alone the complete silence finally hit her. There was nothing, just the sound of her heart beating in her ears and the sound of her own breathing. She started tapping her foot against the ground, more so to break the silence than anything else. She kept looking at the disk, she was half expecting Tony to pop back out, or a piece of him to anyway.

Christy stood and moved closer to the disk, Tony had been gone for what felt like hours and the silence seemed to be pressing in on her from all sides, pushing against her skin, her head, she didn’t know how much longer she could take the pressure. She reached out and gently skimmed her fingertips across the disk, it was exactly as Tony had described it, warm and like running your fingers through strands of fabric. She pushed her hand forward and felt it sinking into the warmth, the pressure that surrounded her eased off slightly along her arm, she almost felt like she was relaxing into it. It was such a relief, like have a cold glass of water after being outside all day in the hot sun and before she fully realised what she was doing, she was climbing through.

The strands brushed across her skin as she climbed through, she released a breath and it felt like she had been holding it for ages. She gasped, filling her lungs with the warm air. She looked around in the darkness, looking for the disk of light on this side but there was nothing, just endless black in all directions, if she hadn’t seen the darkness of the disk before she would have thought she went blind. “Tony?” Her voice was both oddly loud and oddly quiet in the darkness, she felt the place react to the sound of her voice, a kind of shiver seemed to run through the strands and she had a sudden, strong feeling that she the silence of this place should not be broken. She felt a sharp pain in her side, then another, all over her like thousands of tiny needles pricking her skin, worming their way deeper into her body. Christy opened her mouth to scream and the threads rushed inside, she began to choke and writhe, then with one last mighty convulsion the threads ripped themselves free, scraps of Christy’s skin floated momentarily in the darkness before they were seized by the strands and then there was nothing left of her at all.

The Black Spot. Short Story.

Steven moved closer to the black gunk, he reached out with a gloved hand a scooped a glob of it onto his finger. He squished it between this thumb and forefinger, feeling out the consistency, long thin strands of it stretched between his fingers, it was like a thick, sticky syrup. He sniffed at it, still that same smell of new electronics, that chemical, plasticky smell he always hated. Steven stood and went into the ensuite bathroom, there he turned on the water and tried to wash the gunk from the gloves. After a moment he gave up, the hot water seemed to make it melt a little allowing it to easily spread across the gloves, soap was doing nothing to remove it and the cold water seemed to only harden the gunk. He stripped off the gloves and threw them into the bin. So this wasn’t something that couldn’t be resolved with soap and water, he was hesitant to use cleaning fluids on it until he knew exactly what it was. The cold however did seem to affect it, maybe he could freeze it somehow and chip it off the wall. He shook his head, no that was a stupid idea, what was he supposed to do? Hold ice packs against the damn thing? Whatever it was didn’t seem to be particularly dangerous, it definitely wasn’t mould, so he wasn’t worried about spores, but that still didn’t answer any questions. He went back into his room and stared at the small spot, it had definitely gotten bigger over the last week, it had been the size of a penny when he first noticed it, now it was about half that size again. He sighed, it would need to be sorted sooner rather than later but who do you call for mysterious oozing stuff? He didn’t think it had anything to do with the plumbing as there were, or should have been, no pipes behind that wall. He had tried looking it up online but there seemed to be no one else having the same problem.

Steven sat on his bed, maybe he could just gouge out around it and re-plaster the wall, though if it was seeping through that wouldn’t help. He didn’t want to accidentally break open some kind of reservoir of the stuff. He stood from his bed, he wanted to get rid of the syrup today, if soap wouldn’t work maybe bleach would. He went into the bathroom and grabbed the bottle of bleach, then he headed to the kitchen to get fresh gloves and a rag. In his room he opened the window as wide as it would go, then he donned the gloves and put a bit of bleach on the rag. He scrubbed and scrubbed but it didn’t have any effect, if anything it was just smearing the syrup further around the wall. He dabbed the bleach onto it thickly and left it for ten minutes, but again it had no effect. He cleaned off the bleach with cold water, after cleaning it off he moved onto a multipurpose stain remover, which also had no effect. After his third attempt he gave up, whatever it was cleaning supplies just weren’t going to cut it. Maybe it would be best to try and freeze it off after all?

He held a frozen bag of peas against the wall, pressing it against the stain. A towel protected his hand but it was still cold, after ten minutes he pulled the bag away, the substance seemed shinier than before, at least he was having some effect. He grabbed a thin metal spatula and started scraping at it. After a few minutes his arms were getting tired and he had made absolutely no progress, he dropped the spatula onto the floor and and cursed in frustration. Maybe he could just buy a bedside locker and cover the stain that way? Out of sight out of mind after all. He sighed, if he did that it would only get worse until one day the locker wouldn’t hide it anymore. Better to get it sorted now, while it was still small.

Steven sat, staring at the syrup, he had tried everything he could think of and still it was there, it even seemed like it had gotten a little bigger, impossible as that seemed. A sudden thought occurred to him, what would happen if he touched it? Would it stick to his skin like it had stuck to the gloves? He felt a strange urge to reach out and touch it, to feel the sticky thickness of it between his fingers. He moved back from the stain a little, he whatever it was it wouldn’t be good to get onto his skin, god only knew what it was made of. Maybe he could scrape a bit off and send it somewhere for analysing? Surely there had to be somewhere that would be willing to do it, though he’d have to say something better than it was just gunk on his wall. He grabbed his phone from his pocket, that really did seem like the best option now, if he knew what it was he might have some chance of getting rid of it. A quick internet search brought up a few places and after deciding to give it a shot he went into the kitchen, there he grabbed an empty jar and a toothpick. In his room he carefully used the toothpick to scrape at the substance until there was a reasonable amount on the end of it, he put the toothpick in the jar and sealed it. At least he had a sample now, even if something happened to it, he brought up the list of places on his phone again and started looking through them.

Steven looked at the spot again, it looked like it had changed slightly, but he couldn’t quite tell how. There was just something different about it. He moved closer, hoping he’d spot whatever it was. Was it bigger? Without thinking he reached out and gently pressed his finger against it, it was cold. He pulled his hand back with a gasp, shaking it. It felt like the damn stuff had frozen the tip of his finger. He looked down at his hand, there was a tiny black smudge at the end of his finger, barely noticeable. He quickly stood and went to the bathroom, shaking his head as he went. Stupid, stupid stupid. How could he have forgotten he’d taken off the gloves? Why the hell had he touched it? He turned on the cold tap and started washing his hands.  At first it seemed like nothing was happening but the longer he scrubbed the smaller the smudge seemed to get until finally it was gone. He breathed a sigh of relief, Steven stood up straight, stretching as he did so, his back was sore from hunching over all day. He was done for the day, whatever it was he didn’t care, he could worry about it tomorrow. His stomach grumbled, it was getting dark out and he had skipped lunch. He reached down to turn the tap off, he looked at the sink and froze. Red fluid was flowing from the tap, the metallic smell of blood was thick and heavy in the air. He quickly turned off the tap, he could feel heat radiating form the sink. He turned from the sink, feeling nauseous. It was just rust or something, that was all. He took a few deep breaths then turned and tried the other tap, it was the same, a thick, red liquid spluttered from the faucet. He turned that one off too. Steven stumbled from the bathroom and sat down heavily on his bed. He hated the sight of blood, always had. He breathed slowly until the room stopped spinning. He kept repeating it was just rust, it seemed to help a little.

When he felt under control again he stood, he glanced at the wall then let out a shriek, there was an eye staring at him. Right where the black spot had been, the eye itself was completely black, it bulged slightly from the wall and moved to follow him. He stepped closer and moved his hand towards it, the eye blinked. Steven shrieked again and ran from the room. He reached the kitchen and froze. The eyes where everywhere, on everything, each one staring at him. The walls started to shift and warp, bulging outwards like something was trying to push through. Steven was frozen in place, he couldn’t move. There was a thick, wet ripping sound from behind him followed by a small thud. He could hear something moving. His heart thudded heavily in his chest, he felt light headed, a thin sheen of perspiration coated his face. It was all in his head, that was it, whatever that stuff was it created hallucinations. He was high off fumes or maybe it had been absorbed through his skin. Whatever it was, it couldn’t hurt him, it was all in his head. He slowly turned and saw a human shape lying on the floor, it was coated in that syrup and wriggling against the wood, after a few seconds it stopped and began to stand. The creature took a lurching step forward, then another and with one more it was standing right in front of Steven. The creatures arm shot out and sunk into Stevens chest. Steven moaned in pain as he felt the thing squeeze his heart. Steven fell backwards, the creature falling with him. He was too weak to move, to fight, his breathing came in low, shallow gasps. It was just a hallucination, the thing couldn’t hurt him, it was all in his head. His breathing stopped and he lay still, the creature pulled its arm from inside Stevens chest and with slow, jerky movements it got to its feet. It walked back to the wall it had fallen from and stepped through the ragged tear it had created.  The tear closed itself, the wall becoming smooth. One by one the eyes began to close, as they did they faded from the wall until there were none left. Stevens body lay on the floor, in his room the small, black spot faded away.


Sickness. Flash Fiction.

Jeremy coughed, then cleared his throat, feeling the lump of phlegm work itself free. He spat it into the sink, it was a deep black, stark against the white porcelain of the sink. He took slow, deep breaths, ignoring the bitter, acrid taste of metal in the back of his mouth. When he knew the coughing fit had ended he took a slow, deep breath then turned on the tap. He watched the black phlegm as it was washed down the drain, he took a handful of water and splashed it onto his face. The coughing fits were getting worse, despite the doctors assurance that he would be fine. He wasn’t the only one coughing up this gunk, it was happening to almost everyone he knew and at times it seemed like the entire city were coughing up their lungs. They played reassuring ads on the television, telling people to drink fluids and get plenty of rest but the ads unnerved Jeremy. They seemed too clean, too wholesome, like they were trying to hide something. They explained away the gunk, something about natural toxins, that everyone would be fine in a few weeks, but the doctors had been telling him that for months now. The cough wasn’t getting better, but then it wasn’t getting worse. As far as illnesses went it wasn’t the worst, sure the cough was annoying and so was the almost constant runny nose, but beyond that he felt fine, just a little tired if he pushed himself too hard.

Jeremy took a deep breath of the cold air, the air seemed cleaner these days, more sunny skies and less overcast days too. That was all thanks to them finally shutting down those awful factories, all automated and spewing thick black smoke into the air. He didn’t know what the factory was making, no one knew, some government contractor, all hush hush. Seemed like large trucks were coming and going at all hours too. Then the war ended, and with it that factory. They always called it a war but Jeremy never saw it as that. It didn’t have the same awful impact, mostly just posturing and bombing of the automated factories. The official death count was only twelve people, four of which were from industrial accidents.

Jeremy lay in bed, shivering, he was freezing cold, but sweat was running down his face and his sheets were soaked through. He coughed again, great hacking coughs that tore at his chest, he turned his head to the side and spat onto the floor. He couldn’t swallow the phlegm, it burned any time he tried and he had knocked over the basin long ago. He reached around blindly for the towel and finding it, he dabbed at his runny nose. He had run out of tissues, he wasn’t sure when. He pulled the towel away, dark streaks joining the other stains. He was right, he knew the cough was bad, but that brought him little comfort. He had tried ringing the emergency services but no one was answering, same when he tried to ring the doctor. He had never bothered with those smart phones, seemed a bit pointless, but now he regretted it. He was too tired, too sick, to get to the living room to look at the TV. He felt like he was completely cut off from everyone. He had tried ringing people, friends, but they weren’t answering either. He didn’t know if it was because they were too sick to answer or if they were already dead. He took another breath, it was shallow, wheezing. He knew he was dying, he could feel it, whatever it was, worming its way through his body, draining his strength.

Jeremy could barely breathe, each breath was a struggle. He could hear a gurgling in his chest. He was still coughing up that damned phlegm. He could no longer taste it, that acrid metal taste, he had been spitting out lumps and his tongue was swollen and sore. He suspected the phlegm was eating away at his tongue, and the rest of his body. Somewhere there was a ringing noise, his phone, but he was too weak to reach for it. Soon the ringing would stop, it had the last time the phone rang. He didn’t want to die here, alone, in a soiled bed, but he was too weak to move. He took another breath, listening to that familiar gurgle. It almost felt like he was drowning, his lungs slowly filling with fluid. He let out another cough, this one was weak, painful. He struggled to get his breath back, the edges of his vision swimming with darkness. It was getting closer all the time.

It wasn’t peaceful. He had hoped it would be. He coughed again, but this time he couldn’t breathe, the darkness at the edge of his vision grew, clouding everything until there was nothing left. He lay unconscious, his body struggling to breathe. He took one last rattling gasp then his chest fell still. He lay like that, unmoving, for a long time. Then black liquid started to fill his throat and his mouth, there was a wet ripping sound as it burst free from his skin, coating the bed. Then, there was silence.