“Would you stop scratching it!” I had to yell at my husband, if I didn’t he would never listen.
“But it itches and the stuff from the apothecary is not helping.”
I could hear the frustration in his voice. “That bite has to heal and you always scratch it open. It will never heal like that.” It was of course my turn to get frustrated. I gave him the stare.
“Yes Marta.” She was staring at me now I had to listen. Her eyes looked like they could see right through me and her voice didn’t change. One tone only and those eyes … I stopped scratching.
This whole thing began just over two weeks ago. When he found that something had broken the tops of his plants. He thought it was a large flying creature because there was little damage near the bottom of the crops in that field.
I wondered about his explanation. I mean what could be so large as to bend such a large path across an entire field? Half the crop was damaged.
His claim that the neighbor had the same damage was a help to convince me. Besides Chandri confirmed it when I was over for quilting. Neither man wanted to report it to the guard, even though we had urged them to. They were afraid of being thought of as soft in the head.
Kalis had not been bitten as Alex had. His wife, Chandri, had some suggestions to help with the scratching though. They didn’t work, nothing seemed to.
Now there were small stiff hairs growing around the area. We were getting ready for bed our son, Sacroto, was in the loft already in bed. That is when it happened.
Alex grabbed his arm at the bite area and started shaking. “Are you all right?” I got to him just as he fell. He began to flop about like a fish on dry land. The arms and legs were flailing every which way. He screamed.
Our son came to the room, standing in the curtained doorway. He watched his father. I yelled at him. “Sacroto, go get a healer quick. Run!” He listened.
Moments later my husband became still. Just laying there staring at the ceiling, his eyes were wide and did not seem focused on anything. I was scared, what would become of our son what was happening?
Both legs curled up suddenly and some sort of bulb began to grow from beneath them. The arms followed suit and contracted. I looked back and out the door that Sacroto had left open hoping to see him coming with the healer. Suddenly another screeching scream escaped my Alex.
When I looked back his arms and legs had split open and some sort of chitinous thing was coming out of them. Alex’s entire body began to swell into a bulbous shape and more of the boney appendages were sprouting from him. My husband was being eaten from inside!
That was when his head popped and left a ball like thing with two pincers growing from it. His eyes were … well multiplying is the only way I know how to say it. Each eye became a score of eyes with a hexagonal shape and they bulged from his … well from where his face was. It was my turn to scream.
When I stopped screaming I reopened my eyes. He had gone still again, or at least what he had become was still. I was between the idea of running or crying when he began to move. The long boney things wiggled. He rolled over and then I recognized what my Alex had become. He rose up on eight legs.
I could swear I saw him smile right before he bit me.