The Sickness

I wheeze, sniffle, muffle, and cough – the common cold. Only it’s not so common for me. When it comes, it knocks me down like a vengeful wind. Ten feet ahead of me the world is consumed in a dizzy fog; a miasma of infectious symptoms envelope me so that even my dog stays away.

“Uhh,” I groan as the morning light splashes across my face.

Some of my senses dull, while others seem to heighten, which leaves me even more disoriented. In the distance, I think I hear the hiss of a missile, and for just a moment I panic. Then I realize it’s the kettle and a wave of relief and lulled excitement washes over me. Warm liquid is my euphoria.

I stumble towards the kitchen, fighting my way through the spider webs. In my haze of hindered health, I have forgotten how quickly Halloween is approaching, and how energetically I had decorated only days before the germ storm.

“Morning sunshine,” he whispers as he kisses my cheek.

I nod and force a smile as I reach for the steaming mug. Wordless, still, I gesture to him to shut the blinds and he does. The sudden sensitivity makes me feel like a vampire, which is amusing since it will be my costume in a few days. I almost chuckle, but manage to shiver instead, and he drapes my housecoat over my shoulders.

“You should stay home,” he insists, again; this time I choose to oblige.

After he leaves I send a text message to my assistant saying that I will be working from home today. Neither of us believes it.

A hunger I cannot satisfy courses through me so I crawl back into bed, fully giving into my new found monstrosity. I hide from myself all day and by the time I rise the moon has too. Pleasantly numbed, I stretch out and head to the washroom. The flip of the switch disturbs the darkness and sends my ailments into a frenzy. Squinting and yelping I hit the switch again and let the darkness ease me, but not before catching a glimpse of my reflection.

I’m paled, with sunken cheeks and dark circles around my eyes. Absorbing the welcomed darkness I smack my tongue against the roof of my mouth and realize I am parched. I twist the tap and cool water streams from it. Feverishly, I duck my head and take it in straight from the source. As I drink, my tongue works itself around my mouth, and I can’t help but wonder: have my teeth always been so sharp?

As if testing them, I pierce my lower lip and blood swirls with the water to create a warmer, thicker substance. I have to admit, I like it. In the background I can hear my dog whimper – it’s the only sound I can hear clearly, now. The only smell that is precise.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

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