I’ve just completed the writing of my latest attempt at a novel. Here’s the first chapter. If people seem to be enjoying it, I’ll post up more …
CHAPTER 1 – The Cheek Of It
Rother did not notice that the first of them had burst through the skin of his right cheek, slightly below the faded scar under his left eye, until a moment or two after he sliced off its head with his twin-bladed shaving razor.
The pain was brief but so intense that it made him drop the razor onto the shelf beneath the mirror where it dislodged his blister pack of microfine syringes and the bottle of insulin beside it. He cursed under his breath but managed to bring his left hand up fast enough to stop them falling off the end.
He leaned forward to stare into the bathroom mirror, and raised the middle finger of his right hand to explore the tiny crater he had inadvertently opened up in his face.
Even though he had been feeling peculiar for some weeks, feeling as if something he could not define was going on inside his body, he did not immediately connect the rupture in his skin with that feeling.
The tip of his finger came into contact with something wet, something slimy. “Pus?” he wondered, surmising that perhaps he had whipped off the top of a whitehead.
“Say what?” shouted Mercy from the bedroom.
“Nothing,” he responded automatically, but her question did set in train a series of thoughts and notions that were just beginning to crystallise around the fringes of his pre-coffee, toast and English marmalade consciousness.
Wiping the pale slime onto the underside of the upturned button-down collar of his two-tone grey shirt, he leaned even closer to the mirror and pressed the skin at the side of the hole in his cheek in an attempt to squeeze out a little more pus.
Without even thinking about it, he shifted his gaze briefly away from his finger tip, glancing down towards the sink, and then immediately back up again, before registering consciously that he had noticed a tiny movement on the enamel rim of the basin.
“You going to make breakfast today?” called Mercy. “Or is it me this morning.”
He did not immediately respond. He had now returned his gaze back down towards the sink and could quite plainly see something wriggling on the avocado-coloured rim.
“What the hell?” he asked under his breath, moving his face down closer to the little squirming entity. He felt as if, in its final moments of existence, a tiny creature was staring up at him, imploringly. “Nah!” he muttered, dismissing the lunatic notion.
To be sure, it was already moving more slowly.
Peering back up at his half-shaven reflection, he realised that a larger droplet of pus had oozed out of the hole than he had imagined, significantly more than might be explained by a sliced whitehead. Instinctively, he pulled a tissue from the box by the bath and wiped it away.
“You or me, Doogle?” shouted Mercy.
“You or me what?” he responded distractedly.
He pulled himself together and shouted back, “You, I think. I did it yesterday, didn’t I?” As he spoke, he stared, first at the damp tissue, then down again at the still wriggling thing on the rim of the sink.
“Shit,” replied Mercy. “And there was me thinking I could lie here on my back completely naked for another five or ten minutes. Or longer.”
Hearing those words on any other morning, Rother would have been splashing his face to remove any remaining shaving cream and heading for the bedroom within nanoseconds. Instead, he heard himself saying, “Yeah. OK. Whatever.”
Mercy laughed out loud.
Against his own better judgement, he positioned the tip of his finger next to the now barely moving thing and scooped it up to get a closer look. It was now plain to see that the tiny entity had a chunky, head-like part attached to its pale, translucent worm-like body. He thought he could make out rudimentary black eyes, two snail-like antennae and a dark, circular mouth part. “What the fuck are you?” he asked it.
That was when everything started to unravel because of a thought which appeared unbidden inside his head.
“I’m you,” it replied.