Thursday, September 18, 2014

WOK A-Z Challenge: B is for Bugs

Bugs and Bygones

                "I'm dying!" Becca declared, pushing past Meggy to press up against the mirror in the girls' restroom.  She stared at her reflection in horror.  It was worse than she'd thought.  She could hear the tone of her own voice climbing the scales.  "I've got boils!  I'm infested!"  

                The moist red lumps on her face had ballooned overnight from pinprick red dots to grotesque milk-white bubbles.  The worst one crouched over her left eyebrow like a miniature frog at the edge of a muddy river, or a third eye.  She touched it with a finger, grimacing at the oil-slick surface, the subtle give at its apex.  "I'm dead."

                Meggy did not roll her eyes.  Instead, she let her nose twitch, just once, just a little.  It was actually more of a nostril flare.  But it signified the same level of contempt.  "They're called zits, Bec, and if you'd actually listened to me-!"

                Becca groaned.  "Enough about the Mad Meggy Make-over!  I tried it!"

                "You didn't-!"

                "I did!  I put the lotion on my face and I put the cucumber on my nose and I smushed a friggin' banana in my hair and..."

                "Once," Meggy interrupted, coolly shifting her body forward and in front of Becca's to resume her own grooming, using her fingers to smudge her eyeliner, an artful display of casual disregard.  "You tried it once and you said, I quote, 'If Jackson doesn't like me as is...'"

                Becca glared at her friend.  She reached up to squeeze at the frog-like lump of zit over her eye.  "It's true.  I don't need anyone that shallow!"

                "He's not though," Meggy mused, still smearing at her eyeliner.  "He's actually a nice guy." 

                "How would you know?"  Becca grunted at the sudden release of pressure, the spurt of white into the sink in front of her.

                Meggy flicked at an errant lash, its end turned up instead of down at the end.  "I talked to the guy...?"

                Becca didn't answer.  She stared down into the sink in front of her, the tiny white bug that wriggled its way from back to belly before slinking toward the drain, an oily trail of white pus marking its passage.  She felt sick.  "Meggy?"

                Meggy glanced down at the sink and grimaced, flicking her hand briefly over the faucet's motion-detector and sending a stream of water to wash the skittering bug down the drain.  "You should just ask him out, Becca.  I mean what's the worst?  Right?"

                Becca reached up to touch the deflated lump over her eye, swallowing hard at the dull pain, the small hollow in her own skin.  She felt her breath quicken, moved her fingers over to the next lump, a smaller one tucked into the divot above her left nostril.  She could feel something moving.  "Meggy?"

                Meggy heaved a sigh and dug into her purse, pulling out a small tube of flesh-colored make-up.  "Yeah, the zit thing isn't going to win you points but a little bit of cover-up and..."  Her voice trailed away as she looked up, squinting into Becca's face.  "Becca, what...?

                That's when Becca felt it, the small tickle of something moving near her ear.  Slowly she reached up with one hand, fingers patting desperately at her skin until they brushed up against something small, wet and clearly alive.  She shrieked and flung it away from her with a harsh swipe of her hand over her cheek.

                Meggy squealed, staring in horror at the small white grub that had landed on her sweater.  She gulped and backed away from Becca slowly, trading stares between the insect on her sweater and Becca's face.  "Get.  It.  Off of me!" she grit out at last.

                Becca felt her eyes steam, her cheeks flush.  She blinked back tears and took a step forward.

                Meggy squealed again, eying Becca's face.  "No!  Stay back!"   

                Becca could feel a pulsing in her chin, an itch to the left side of her nostril.  She hiccupped as the tears spilled down her cheeks.  She could feel the warm drops slipping around the lumps on her face.  She stared back at Meggy with her artfully smudged eyeliner, her delicately pinked lips.  "Meggy!  Help me!"

                Meggy stilled for a moment, then her nostrils flared and her lower lip lifted.  She brushed the tiny white bug off of her sweater with a flinching twitch of her fingers.  She backed away slowly, shaking her head whenever Becca made a motion to follow.  When Meggy reached the bathroom door, she ran.

                The guidance counselor came for Becca eventually, touching her face with gloved hands and muttering about budget cuts and school nurses.  She gave Becca a copy of the school paper to hold beneath her chin while she waited for her mom to pick her up.  Becca shuddered at each wriggling plop on the paper. 

                After, when the last bell had rung and the janitor had shut off the lights, two shadows shifted in the corner, splitting to a pair of mismatched silhouettes.  The shorter one crouched on the floor, nosing at a bit of smashed maggot on the floor.  "Was that necessary?"

                The taller shadow drifted toward the mirror where two girls had pressed their faces just that morning.  It pressed itself close as if imagining its own reflection in the dark.  "Hardly."

                The shorter shadow lipped at the mashed bug, then wrinkled its nose in distaste.  "Then why?"

                "Recompense."  A short answer. 

                "Revenge?"  The smaller shadow perked up, suddenly interested.  It shuffled toward its companion.  "I like revenge!"

                There was silence, then a soft slow chuckle.  "Not even that.  Not yet.  There are others more, this was...a bit of fun."

Author's Note:  B is for Bugs, Beccas...and a Belated Blog.  I have my excuses...among which are Birthdays, Baking and Busy Bee Syndrome.  Okay, I made the last one up...but life has been rather full of late.

So, this was...a bit of fun.  Not entirely sure what I was thinking or where I was going...or whether this does anything other than call into question my sanity.  I will say it is my second effort at a B blog.  The first one rapidly turned into a short story that had very little (read nothing) to do with the letter B.  This one...went to crazyville.  Maybe should have saved it for C?

So...on this night of fairs, failings and frustrations...a blog post...about none of that.  Be glad!  


  1. Anna, you are GOOD. Your words make me see what you're describing -- and cringe. I like this line, "The worst one crouched over her left eyebrow like a miniature frog at the edge of a muddy river, or a third eye." Thank you. xoA

    1. Oh thank you for your lovely comment...and being willing to read through a bit of a gross piece! :-)

  2. I just started eating lunch when I decided to catch up on my blog reading. Of course yours was first. Needless to say, your descriptions were so vivid I had to postpone reading until I finished my sandwich. Great story - a little freaky, but really great dialogue and characters.

    Remind me next time to catch up on yours between meals. :)

    1. Haha! I would say I'm sorry but your comment made my day so it's really hard to be sorry! Lol! Thank you for reading in spite of the ick factor!

  3. I really enjoyed this. Well, at first I was like "uck, that's some nasty pimples and bugs and such" and then I was like "oh, what is this? very interesting." And from there, I just got pulled further in and along.

    Nice work, writer!

    1. Thank you! Thank you so much...especially for reading through. It turned a little gross I know!