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  Table of contents Issue Twenty-seven PHOBIC BENEATH THE SKIN

by
DONNA J. W. MUNRO
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I

t started with a prehistoric, mutant frog that pops babies out of its leathery back like googly-eyed zits. We watched a film of it in my Sexual Biology class.



"A miracle of evolution," Doc called it with cheeks flushed.



A palpable wave of excitement swept the classroom, an orgasmic tide if you believed the gasps that peppered the hall. Up to that point, I'd been one of those co-eds adoring the way Doc Blair's blond hair swept back from her tanned face, the way her breasts peaked out of the low blouses she wore under her lab coat, and the blunt words she used to talk about randy sexual processes in nature. Getting into the Sexual Biology class had been a miracle. A miracle precipitated by me dropping a "hun-do" into the intern registrar's palm when he told me about the waiting list ninety people deep. So usually when the rock star of the biology department, the feminist so fem she looked like a cross between Barbie and Wonder Woman and the Playmate of the Year, says something is awesome, you sit up and stare. Lots of you sits up and stares because she bounces when she gets excited and that, my friends, is the stuff of dreams.



But this... in a clear fish tank, a flat-bodied, mottled toad with a triangular head and wispy webbed feet sat prone among the detritus of its own snacking and pooping.



"Awful offal," she called it and the whole room tittered.



I didn't.



Under the camera's unflinching glare, the toad's back, a honeycomb of whitish balls with black centers like the hundred eyes of Argos stared at me, swirling inside the toad's back. Eggs. Eggs implanted there to grow in their mommy's toad back.



Doc Blair's breathy voice described the process this way. "Unlike other amphibians, the Surinam Toad carries its eggs through the tadpole stage, guarding them against predation and guaranteeing a larger brood. Oh look," her voice climbed an octave as her excitement palpitated, "they're hatching."



The creature's back squirmed as the eyes on its back erupted, tiny toads popping from the cavities they'd grown in-- perfect miniatures of their mama toad.



"The toads' act of breeding is quite... vigorous. They mate in water, performing somersaults and undulations for twelve hours at a time, only pausing to pack eggs into the mother's breeding pouch, that thick pad on her back."



My stomach turned itself sideways as she talked. Not just because it was gross. Nope, because of the holes.



Holes in skin are my kryptonite. Trypophobia they call it.



Goes all the way back to when my Uncle came back from a mission trip to Belize. Weeks went by, and it was time for my birthday party, and he showed up, smiling and pale with a thick bandage on his cheek. I asked what happened, and he whispered in my ear about a thing called a bot fly. After the cake and presents, he'd curled up on our couch and fell asleep. Mom tutted over him like she was his mom too. The aunts whispered about the bug that he'd found living in his skin, eating his cheek. I heard them, though I pretended to be listening to my headphones. The three women, so big in my memory but small next to his stretched out body, peeled back the gauze. From the barest glance out the corner of my eye, I saw his cheek, smooth and young, almost feminine in the way the light flirted with his cheekbones. The aunts and my mother gasped, dry and haggard like bones rubbing. The hole, a crater big enough to fit my pinky, dry and crusted with a black circle of depth, winked there in the middle of his perfect cheek.



The bot fly had eaten its way out of him.



Even now, so many years later, I wake up with vibrating nightmares dancing in my eyelids. That eruption on his cheek, him sleeping like nothing was wrong, the black depths of the cone of the creature's burrow, then the waving white tail of the larva tasting the air. As I think about it, my mouth fills with sour stomach venom.



Watching the toad film in Sex-bio, the same things happened. As those beasts burst from their mother's hole-riddled back, I swallowed quick breaths because a deeper breath might turn into a retch. My stomach muscles clench around the dread settled deep in my guts. Under my skin, the muscles clenched, and the hairs rose, skimming the breeze. My body revolted against it, and I know my face said ever little thing I was feeling.



"Are you okay?" The cute redhead girl with the pink, fluffy-topped pen asked, pulling her pile of belongings further away from me. "Your face is pale."



My vision narrowed, and her cute face slid off somewhere to the right. My eyes were full of that toad. Full of the stretching, bursting holes. If I didn't get out of there, I'd pass out. Even as I lurched up, scooping my books up, the floor rocked like a tilt-o-whirl.



"Eric?" Beautiful Doc Blair called as I struggled through the rows stretched out like some endless row of living tombstones. "Eric, what's wrong?"



Up to that point, we'd had a nice banter. Sexy words and open-mouthed laughs together in study labs. I'd been suave. Competent. Exactly what I imagined she'd want in a young protege. Only now I'd ruined it with phobic bullshit.



Maybe later I'd write her an email to explain. If I tried to explain now, I'd never make it without spraying other students with the acid my fears churned up in my gut. Nope. Just run.



endmark





"Dude, you okay? Some of the guys told me you lit out of Sex Bio like your ass had jet fuel." Law, my dorm mate, tossed his books on his bed without a glance in my direction. He had football and some range of leadership clubs he had to make it to every day. A scholar-athlete, unlike me. I was prime academics. Not that I wasn't good looking or a stud in my own way. Just not like him.



I'd spent the few hours in my bed, rolled up in my blanket with my music pressed into my ears so hard that the sound might vibrate the images of the damned holes right out of my gray matter. Even thinking the toad's holes made me tremble like a baby.



Trypophobia, the fear of holes, is a relatively new thing, they say. It's not a "recognized" phobia in the DSM. But online, Trypophobia tests illicit page after page of reaction--honeycombs, lotus blossoms, and close-ups of tripe send people into panics. Sure, I don't like those either. I have to look away. But for me, it's clustered deep holes in the skin that make me lose it. Blackhead scars or ringworm marks on the skin make me shut the computer and shuffle into the bathroom to leaning against the basin of the sink to stare into the mirror and check my own cheeks. Trypophobia is real, alright.



"I'm fine, Law. Just didn't feel right during class. Like I was going to hurl."



"If you get sick, do it on your side, would ya? Look, I'm out with Stella tonight. Can you get lost for a while?"



Law was a planner. He'd get Stella back to the room for some Sex Bio of his own if I stayed out. I usually didn't mind. The libraries on campus are twenty-four hours, and we're close enough to downtown, that I can be scarce until dawn. Lately, he'd been abusing the privilege two and three times a week.



"Come on, man. I 'm sick," I complained, sitting up and shoving the blanket back, putting my feet down on my flip-flops, lined up right beside the bed. No bare feet for this guy.



"You said you were fine, besides have you seen Stella? I can't make a girl like that make out with me in a car. Seriously!"



Stella was beautiful with shining black hair and velvety eyes, though she wore her make-up thick and I often wondered if under it hid acne scars. "Be out by ten, and I'll take her home by two a.m. Deal? I'll owe you."



"Yep, fine. Owe me." I mumbled, pushing up from the bed and crossing to my desk. I owed Doc an apology for ditching, and since Law was kicking me to the curb, I'd best get typing.



Law bustled around, cleaning up his side. No need to do anything with my side of the room. I kept it immaculate. I had to or I wouldn't sleep.



My laptop flashed to life and I clicked into Google. Already in my head, the word soup stirred, trying to form the perfect apology. The right words and then Doc Blair look at me with those soft blue eyes, lovingly. Or at least she wouldn't be pissed that I'd walked. How do you explain a completely irrational phobia reaction? Especially to a woman as fearless as Doc Blair. How many hours have I worked to put on the cool, mature exterior lab assistant that she'd someday love to... hire? Give internships to? Fuck? All of the above. All ruined because of my kryptonite. Clustered fucking holes in skin.



My inbox flashed with the promise of a solution. Doc Blair had written to me. Me? I mean, sure, I did well in her class. I'm a science geek at heart, but there were others closer to her. Grad assistants working on her projects and students she tutored for all hours, for the love of all that is science. I let my cursor dangle over the closed email, wanting to prolong the moment, fantasize about what could be in there since the fantasy would likely be way better than reality.



Imagining her wanting me was so much more satisfying that rutting with girls like Stella who fell so easily for Law and his bullshit.



My cursor hung there, pointing at the flap of the closed envelope icon--a fitting analogy of our potential love connection. Who was I kidding? Twenty-two and terrified. That's who I'd been for her today in class.



I clicked it, figuring that might be all the action I might ever be able to claim from Doc Blair.



Eric,



I worried about you after you ran out looking so pale. I've not known you to be weak-stomached during our dissections. I'll assume you were just under the weather. If you are feeling better, I'd like to invite you to the lab to make up what you missed.



I will be there after 8.



Dr. Elsie Blair.



"You going to leave?" Law asked, sweeping the last of his dirty laundry into a basket he shoved under his bed.



I glanced at the clock. 7pm. I had time.



"Yeah man, I'll get dressed and be out in thirty. Okay?"



endmark





I pushed open the doors to Wainwright Hall, home to the labs and the offices of the science department, a glass-walled box with silver frames and yellowed banks of long overhead lights like every other 1960s era modern construction. Sterile and sagging all at the same time, like that coat of white on every wall, or the understated benches, formed from simple curved metal, would hide the obvious wall patches or the runs in the window film that silvered the light. No matter how hard the custodians wiped bleach water across the baseboards, they'd always be made of the thick black plastic. How had this ever looked modern?



The only beautiful thing in the whole building was the floor. Gray and flecked with black, white, and silver chips. The shine was not garish, but soft and buttery. Even as it shone in the yellow light, the black flecks clustered and deepened into craters of black under my feet. I kept my eyes up so as not to see the patterns I walked across. Tried not to let my stomach knot up again. It wasn't like there were bugs in those holes. Or disease or dirt. My rational mind understood chips of stone embedded in the white concrete made the "holes." But if I stared, I might convince myself that it was something else. The pustules of a raging, contagious disease. Something building up, ready to burst out on me, ready to sink into my own skin.



One foot in front of another, that's what I did every day walking past people with angry acne or yards with moles. Clustered holes.



At the end of the hall, one lab door stood open, light bright, and pooled washing out the colors of the floor. I just had to make it to that door. I ignored my stomach and my thready breath, focusing instead on Doc Blair's smile, her breath, her legs. Pretty much what I focused on every day.



I turned into the lab, long black tables and silver footed chairs scattered in the room haphazardly--nothing like the regimented lines of tables with tucked in chairs of daytime during lab days. And Doc... Oh my God! She was out of her lab coat, leaning over the desktop computer, bent at the waist with the perfect heart-shaped butt facing me. Electric blue dress skimming the edges of her hips, rounding the curves of her ass. I tore my gaze away from her to see what she had the computer projecting on the white wall. A montage of mating. Film of all the oddities she'd shared with us about the animal mating rituals of the world. The odd bugs and reptiles and corkscrew penises flashed on the screen, a strobe light that skirted along my consciousness.



She didn't turn, but she bent her long right leg at the knee--a flirty gesture but on her curvy ass, it was a rolling wave, and I was lost at sea. She peeked over her shoulder at me, a bright smile painted on her gorgeous face.



"Come on over and watch this film. I'll get the notes you missed."



She had the toad cued up on the screen, frozen in a grotesque close-up, the toad's lumpy back waited in that moment before the eruption, that moment that caught my imagination and turned it inside out that afternoon.



"Doc Blair, I..." My tongue froze in my mouth. What would I say to her? If I exposed my weakness, would she wrap that body back up in the protective lab coat, a reverse present unable to be opened?



"What Eric? Does the toad bother you?" She asked, turned, and fully facing me, leaning against the edge of the long black lab table, her long legs crossed at the ankles over the red pumps she wore on her elegant feet. She tilted her head, looking down the planes of her high cheeks appraising me like a specimen in her lab.



Or a deer in the headlights. My feet froze, her blue eyes pinioning me in the spot. I didn't want to say that I was afraid, only she'd know-- see right through my lies to my creaking voice and my knocking knees. Options for saving face in front of my fantasy woman were few. Deny it all and claim a stomach bug. A long laugh and an "aw shucks ma'am" side-glance might convince her that I'd been joking. But none of the options, other than coming clean immediately, felt like the right thing. Her eyes fixed on me with curiosity. I didn't want to admit my fear, but somewhere deeper, maybe in her body language or wishful thinking in my pelvis, I felt knew honesty was the only way to the promised land.



"The toad disgusts me. I can't look at it. There aren't words to make you understand how bad that film you showed made me feel." Saying the words felt like falling down a hole with no bottom. Showing weakness. How many times had Doc Blair talked about mating rituals where the male had to prove his competence through a bloody fight, a colorful show or puzzled out gifts. Females of no species prefer a defeated male. I shrugged my shoulders and searched for the words that might fix things. "I just... never liked..."



"Shut up, Eric," Doc Blair said, eyes shining. She pushed herself off of the table, fluid as oil in water. Her gaze locked and didn't waver. It held me in the grip of longing and heat. Held me with something so primal that what twitched in my pants didn't feel attached-- it sang through my bones and out pores like the notes of a flute.



I'm no virgin. I've had girlfriends and lovers. I've even had sex worth scribbling poems about once or twice. But this... She was everywhere at once. All hands and lips and soft skin. And the smell of her was something of dreams-- thick, earthy fog, clinging to my hair and fingers so that when she pulled away from me, I still tasted her in my nose.



We rolled and flipped and stretched into each other, part becoming other things. I couldn't trust anything I felt but gave until my breath ripped through the branches of my lungs like razors. Pain. Loving her was pain wrapped in the brightest pleasure ever known. Never once did her gaze leave mine. We were locked together at the eyes like dogs locked in rut or like a cobra fixes on a fledgling on the jungle floor.



A dream within a dream. A nightmare. Loving her blotted out the sun. Made it so the sun burned out.



I was her puppet lover for hours.



But eventually, we collapsed, streaked with sweat and blood and mucus, onto the lab floor. Her naked body pressed against me. Even then, her eyes held me still, and without the hot pressure of lust driving my thoughts below the surface, the alarm of my paralyzed limbs and the croaking voice caught in my rictus of a throat swam up. I gargled around my gritted teeth and boiled egg eyes straining to escape their sockets.



"That was wonderous, Eric. Just perfect," she cooed. She stretched her body out and then snapped up into a cross-legged yoga pose, exposing the fleshy lips of her sex, puffy and red from the abuse of our love. Swelling. Swelling until I could see the darkness of her insides. The deep crevice my body had been in, now pushing forth, opening and closing like a mouth.



If only I could scream. Or claw out my eyes. But she held me there.



"Doc," I whispered, using all the spare breath she'd left me. "What..."



"What am I? Oh dear, that's such a hard question. Not one I need to burden you with. I'm your lover. Your mate. You came to me with your delicious fear. I smelled it on you the first day. Trypophobia. Fear of me. Of my kind. Biologists and psychologists don't understand it yet, but you do my love."



And I did. This fear, like all phobias, came from nowhere modern science understood. Baseless fears they were called. But shouldn't we learn to trust these fears so disturbing that they eat away our sanity?



Her hole swelled open, and out popped a fist-sized glob of white jelly. She picked it up, lovingly cradling it with her palms, and held it between us.



"This is your daughter Eric. We only make daughters. And we can only make them when we meet perfect biological males that randomly crop up in the human population. We watch carefully. Those who are attracted and repulsed. Those with the fear of skin holes. Those are our mates. Only you, my Eric." She held the jellied sphere in front of my shackled eyes to see the squirming dark pod within. She smiled once more, then leaned up and pressing the gooey egg against the skin of my chiseled upper abs.



Lightning ripped through me, chewing on me until tears ran from my straining eyes. The thing latched on, and I felt it pressing hard little fingers into the bite, pulling the crater open and pushing itself in. Like a squirming eel made of metal, it sliced deep into my muscle. Even frozen there, my body heaved up what little remained in my stomach, an acid pool.



"There we go," she cooed to the thing making its way in. She smeared goo from her hands across the wound, soothing the burn of its bite. But then, "Oh, here's another," as an egg popped from her birth canal and she held it close to me, right next to its sister.



After six of them, I passed out.



endmark





I woke at dawn, naked and sore on the floor of the lab. I dressed, but as I did, I ran my hands along my skin, feeling for anything different. Raised lumps or holes-- though if I'd have found any I think I'd have passed out again. As it was, I walked out of the hall on feet so weak I wanted to get down and crawl, except the floor had holes in the pattern and the ceiling with the white tiles pierced by holes. I closed my eyes and walked, hand trailing on the wall for support.



Breath held, I walked the last few steps and burst out into the quad, then broke into a run. What had happened? The memories swirled in my head like the water that circles a drain. The greatest night of my life? A nightmare? Both? Had I imagined the horrors in my exhausted, sexually satisfied head? The sex was real. I felt that in my every pore and the depths of my empty, loose dangling balls.



Back in my dorm room, Law snored softly in his bed, happily dreaming of whatever date he'd next bring here. But as I pulled my blankets up over my body, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to move on from this. Something had broken in me. As I lay there thinking about it, my skin shifted slightly like there was a rising boil under skin seared into dullness. My eyes clutched closed and I willed myself to sleep again so I wouldn't reach down there to feel what it was.



endmark





I slept for days.



endmark





After a while, I started to feel like a normal person again even if normal felt like looking out of the depths of a well. And Doc. Blair? It was like nothing had happened. She joked and flirted, just like she always had. Like she did with everyone. No more eye contact than she gave everyone else. Same flashes of spectacularly rounded cleavage. Same, same, same. Only, I knew something had happened. The dreams wrapped around my sleep every night, squeezing me in the same erotic nightmare. During class, I waited to see if her gaze would find me, and some spark of lust or sheepish guilt would play across them, but as the days went on, nothing. Nothing.



Some days I wondered as I sat in the back of her class taking notes and watching her swirl through the collective consciousness of the Sexual Biology class, a hummingbird coaxing nectar from deep in students' flowering minds, maybe it hadn't happened at all. Maybe I'd imagined it--every luscious, disturbing second.



But there was the swelling.



I'm naturally a wiry guy with wide shoulders and a thin waist. But since the night with Doc Blair, my midsection wasn't right. The skin bunched and bulged over my belt in a hard, golfball shaped knots. Then, as weeks went by, they receded as my entire middle swelled out until it looked like I'd swallowed a basketball. A mountain out of a molehill?



And there were the dots. Nothing more than moles at first, innocuous and pale against the white of my skin, but they darkened each day. I spent hours in the mirror, puzzling over them, even as my stomach fought not to turn. They peaked up like pert pink nipples as the days went by. Dots or lumps, it felt like a betrayal of my body. Clustered fucking dots. At least they weren't holes.



But then they were.



I stopped looking at myself in the mirror as the weeks went on. I knew I had to be disgusting because Law grew more and more distant, friendly banter turning cold. Finally, he mumbling some kind of weak apology about pledging a frat and moved. When I asked how I'd get a hold of him, he shrugged, slamming the door shut as he left. Fucking Law. I'd been lonely, and he'd been the rope I'd use to climb out of the dark. Without him...



I took a deep breath and went into the bathroom, all mine now, and stripped down to nothing leaving the lights off. I didn't want to see myself, though I knew something was wrong. None of my clothes fit right anymore, and when I ran my hands across the lumps on my swollen stomach, I felt them shifting.



It was when the lumps started to leak through my shirt, smelling like shit and death with every dribble and soaking through the fabric in circles that I decided to stop playing coy with Doc Blair. She'd have to help me. She was a doctor and who else could I go to?



I went to class and sat through the first lecture I had attended in a month. The students around me shrunk back, struggling with gag reflexes and disgust, but Doc Blair saw me and smiled like she had that night, directly at me. Those beautiful eyes on me and her gaze all for me, and I thought I'd bust right out of my own skin. But I wasn't the only one happy. Those lumps, the leaking holes squirmed at the touch of her gaze.



"Class dismissed," she said, thirty minutes early. We stood, watching each other across the rows between us as the others stumbled away, muttering about my smell, about the shape of me--top wide and rounded with thin legs poking out like sticks from the huge stretchy shorts and the tent shirt I wore.



Once they were gone, I asked, "What's happening to me?"



"That is a good question, isn't it?" She asked right back.



"Why did you do this to me?"



She smiled and said, "Come with me, Eric."



I nodded and followed her as she walked out of the lab and into the faculty parking, because what else was I going to do? I knew in my bones that no doctor would be able to cure this.



She opened the passenger door to a sweet little Mustang, and I was touched by the gesture. Sure, masculine me would have struggled with it, but I wasn't any form of me I recognized anymore. In her car, I curled around my belly, hunching forward to fit in the small bucket seat.



She shifted into gear and made her way out onto the open highway. We drove in silence for a few miles, but as we approached the coast, she started to sing.



It wasn't a song I knew, but it made me tired. Calm.



Well, not all of me. There was the me that sat in the car next to her, lulled into a happy doze. Then there was the me struggling deep in the hole of my consciousness, trying to surface through the layers of her muffled song. And finally, there were the lumps. They swelled against each note, each lilt of her voice. Weeping slimy hot tears down my skin. Oh God, the thought of what I must've looked like under the tent of a shirt. The clusters of itchy, red holes I saw in my mind hurt me down deep. Hurt me where I rested under the song of her voice.



The car stopped, and I wanted to throw open the door and run away from her. Why hadn't I gone to a doctor to get this looked at? What kind of witchy bullshit was this? I tried to move my hand. Tried to move anything, but I'd been locked from the outside.



The door opened, and Doc Blair's smooth hands found mine. She handled me gently, and though I know I didn't give her much help, she managed to pull my six-foot-tall swollen ass right out of the car. Her arm wrapped around me, and she kept that song up as we moved toward her house next to the coast. The waves in the distance hissed and crashed in time with her voice, and I found my feet had the same beat. She opened the door and led me in, past her living room full of ocean themed tchotchkes and pastel prints, into a kitchen so clean that it was like a showroom.



"I hated to do this to you, Eric," she said as she pulled open a door in the kitchen that yawned like a cave. Even not singing, her voice made me want to make her happy. Each word soothed something, a pang that lived in my chest and struggled against me when she wasn't near. Down each step, her hands steadied me. "You came into my class and woke up the urges in me. I mean, it's been years since I've bred someone."



At the bottom of the step, she turned to me and kissed me gently on the mouth, then she tugged my shirt up over my head. I looked down. I couldn't help it. I looked because I was scared of what I looked like for her.



Holes. I knew it. Fucking holes with black tendrils hanging from each of the eruptions. Even next to her, with the cottony comfort of her song lingering in my mind, my stomach turned, and the heat of my fear rose again. Clustered holes. Holes with things in them in my skin. My mind melted then. It lost any understanding I might have had. The basement became the universe, and my body floated in the dark, little volcanoes peppering my skin, threatening to explode.



Then I was on the floor.



"They are coming, Eric."



That's all she said before the first one ripped. The tendril was a breathing tube attached to a big-headed slug thing with beautiful blue eyes, a turned-up nose, and my cheekbones. The human-like face was embedded in a fleshy black cocoon of a body that wriggled against my skin, pulling itself free.



"Good, good! So good," Doc Blair said and swept the worm up into her arms and carried it back to a honeycombed wall behind her, a waxy geometric construction with empty black holes rimmed by silvery light. She planted the baby there and spewed soft, glowing wax across the open end, sealing the baby in. Then she hurried back as another one ripped out.



endmark





I am the father of twenty-five bouncing baby monster slugs, all girls, perfect in every way. Or so their monster mother said. Six died inside my skin, and Doc Blair tore their corpses from me with her teeth. She offered me pieces of the dead babies as she chewed, and I answered by throwing up on the floor stained with the brackish birthing juices that leaked from me. After she finished eating the dead, she cleaned me up.



"You are my most successful mate! Most men aren't strong enough to bring so many." She sponged my body with warm salt water, washing the brine of birth away. My skin hung like a moth-eaten jacket around my fatless midsection. "You lost about fifty pounds. You'll need to do some serious eating to come back from this."



"Come back?" I whispered through the rage, clawing at my voice. "I look like swiss cheese."



She shook her head. "That's just a brood patch. It will shrink. You'll barely notice it in a few months."



I stared at her and glanced back at the honeycombed wall, now pulsing with the light of life thrumming in each cell.



"They will emerge in ten or twelve years. By then, if I were you, I'd be far away from here. The daughters sometimes go looking for Daddy, and sometimes, they eat him. Just so you know."



She helped me dress, though the clothes were absurd on me after the sudden loss of all of that bulk. I kept thinking, how do I get the cops out here? What do I tell them? What if they don't believe me? I kept thinking, maybe I should come back and kill the little monsters myself.



But when I thought that, something inside me ached. Something that wasn't me, but I'd never be rid of.



She handed me a small leather suitcase and said, "I've put together some things for you. I'm going to ask you to go now and never come back. If you follow the advice I outlined in the case, you'll prosper away from me and away from our babies. You'll never see us again. If you don't..."



She let it hang there and I nodded.



I couldn't get away fast enough.



endmark





Her gifts took me a continent away to a wonderful bio-med program in England. I met my wife and used the money from the case to set up house. My brood patch shrank back until all I'm left with are a series of clustered scars that divot my chest skin and my back every few inches. My Trypophobia is cured. I'm not afraid of holes anymore.



But my son is.



I wonder if, someday, one of my daughters will find him.



   
   

 

endmark



Donna J. W. Munro has spent the last seventeen years teaching high school social studies. Her students inspire her every day. An alumni of the Seton Hill Writing Popular Fiction program, she published pieces in Every Day Fiction, Syntax and Salt, Dark Matter Journal, the Seton Hill Kindle anthology Hazard Yet Forward (2012), the new anthology Enter the Apocalypse (2017), Killing It Softly 2 (2017), and several upcoming 13 Press. Contact her at https://www.donnajwmunro.com



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