The Only Difference

July 17th, 2008 at 9:40 pm by Lilith
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It started as a slight itch in his nose; a tingle in the beginning.  If you were experiencing it, it would only have been enough of an itch to bring your finger up to scratch and then go on. The hour he spent searching for the illusive object with the tweezers, he didn’t scratch just so he could remove whatever it was. He made up for the torture of not scratching by moving his finger quickly, over and over again…feeling the sensation of relief for one single second before the itching began again. He pulled the tweezer out of his nose and scratched, rubbed and desperately dug with his finger to find the twig-like thing in his nose; knowing he had proof that something was there. The relief affected his entire body, giving him goose bumps and the confusing sensation as though he had just had an orgasm.  He would have checked his pants, but the itching continued.

But then the itching didn’t stop.

Another tingle, another scratch.
Another tingle, another scratch.

He noticed his nose was red from where he was scratching it so much.  He put lotion on his nose and thought perhaps what caused his nose to itch so much was living in the dry air from furnace heat during the winter months.  After all, his skin was scaly from getting so dry.

Two days later his nose was raw and red…but he continued to scratch despite how painful it was because the itching was much worse.

And then non-stop scratching.

The itching continued.

Three days later his nose was bleeding and burned when he scratched.  But he couldn’t help himself.  The incessant itching became maddening for him.  He couldn’t sleep, he wasn’t eating…he wasn’t living.  All he could do was keep scratching.

He looked in the mirror and cried as he scratched and rubbed his inflamed nostril.  Blood stained his index finger and fingernails.

And then it began to itch deeper into his nose, but the sensation changed from tingling to more of a crawling feeling.

He stuck his finger deep inside his nose to relieve the itch and when he looked in the mirror, his finger was in his nose up to the knuckle and still, the itching continued.

He had not left home during these last three days.  He couldn’t get to the door before having to scratch his nose.  He felt embarrassed and incapacitated by the itch.  He just knew at some point the itch would stop and he decided to wait it out.

But it didn’t stop.

Knuckle deep in his nose, wiggling his finger around, rubbing and scratching, he felt a slight prick by what seemed like the tip of a twig.

“What the fuck is that?  What the goddamned fuck is in my nose?” he thought to himself.  He grabbed his tweezers and put them deep inside his nose.

At first, the cold metal felt good against his hot and sore nose.  But then the metal felt uncomfortable and burned in the way that metal objects don’t belong that far into a nasal cavity and his body let him know it through pain.  He kept pinching and searching for the twig-like thing, and an hour later he finally felt it again.  He pinched tightly and pulled slowly to make sure he could pull whatever it was out.  He felt something move with his slight pull.  Just as he felt hopeful, just as he felt confident he would be able to get it out, a piece of whatever it was broke off.

He looked down at the tweezers to determine what he had pulled from his nose.  What he saw looked much like a splinter.

He shoved the tweezer back in and kept searching.  The metal stung, his nose itched, and then…

he felt whatever it was in his nose move on its own.

It crawled up his nasal cavity, increasing the sensation of an itch that could only be matched by a horrible poison ivy exposure.  It itched so much more intensely now that he could barely feel the movement of whatever it was inside his nose.  His nose itched so much that he began to bleed some more and and the rawness burned like fire.

He stopped itching.

It stopped moving.

His head felt hot.

His nose throbbed.

He looked at his finger.

And then he fell to the floor.

He didn’t move.

The silence in the bathroom felt sterile.

Then began a scratching sound followed by the sound that iceburg lettuce makes when someone has ripped it in half.  His head split in half and each of the halves rocked back and forth like a freshly discarded walnut shell.

There was nothing inside his head.   No brains, no blood, no juices.

From the empty shell that used to house memories, a personality, and the blueprint for his life, crawled something that looked like a roach.  Every part of its body was symmetrical – each half of it’s shell was identical to the other.  Each leg had the same bend on one side as it did on the other side.  Each eye carried the same glassy reflection of the bathroom light – a bright, obtuse, white shape in a pool of black glass.

The only difference was one of the bug’s antenna was shorter than the other.


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