Nest: Letter Seven
I know you don’t have a reason to come back after everything I did. But right now, I desperately need your help.
You’re probably wondering how I can be sending you this letter if I don’t know where you are. In truth, I had a tip-off from the MI5, and they found out you’re in Penzance. I’m sorry I had to get the information this way, but I needed to write to you. Letters always get your attention.
You must know that I kept my secrets to protect you and Sara. You’d tell me that’s the oldest excuse in the book, but the life I’ve led is full of dangers, and I have to keep my other identity hidden from everyone, including my family. I can answer your questions when the time is right, but now, I’m afraid of what’s happening here.
The doctors gave me all kinds of treatment, but nothing seems to be working. I still lash out at others, I feel angry when I have no reason to be, and I have to endure this hot pit in my stomach, which rises up and leads to my outbursts. I know how it seems, Olya – my hands are shaking as I write this, I’m sorry for the mess – but this enraged person isn’t me.
As well as the personality change, I’m having to tolerate pain. Right where the deformity grows, my skin is now cracking. It resembles dry rock, or molten lava when the heat chips away the stone. I touched it once, and it stings like nothing I’ve ever felt. It’s as if someone takes a knife and jabs my nose with it.
Last night I took a shower, I noticed I had two more grey patches: one on my arm, the other on my abdomen. Again, they’re like rock, completely firm to the touch, rough against my hands. And when I got up this morning, I could barely walk. The patch in my abdomen has stiffened, and grown bigger, reaching my waist. My hips feels tight, like an elastic band is strapped around them.
I’m sitting at the kitchen table as I write this letter. I’m afraid to get up when I’m like this. Do you remember our neighbour, Florence? The nice lady, always knocking on the door to offer us cake? Well, I saw her this afternoon. I wasn’t going to open the door at first – I’m scared to be around people – but she hammered and hammered and hammered. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I opened the door and…
God, I shouldn’t have opened the door.
I lost it. I screamed at her. I told her to leave. When she just stood there, tray of cupcakes in hand, looking shocked, I pushed her. She fell to the ground, the tray crashed and cupcakes rolled everywhere. It was only then that I realised what I’d done.
People were walking by, staring at me. Florence was sobbing, and I felt like I could do nothing but hide, running back into the house and closing the door. I haven’t left the house since.
It’s now 8 o’clock in the evening, and there’s been knocking on the door and the windows for hours now. I tend to hide and pretend I’m not in, hoping they’ll leave me alone, but it never stops. And the one time I snuck a glance through the window, I saw Florence herself.
Her face is turning grey.
It’s not just me anymore, Olya. It can spread. Even from a glance I can tell Florence isn’t herself. She looked angry, her eyes narrow and teeth bared.
I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve tried calling the hospital but I can’t get through to anyone helpful. I can’t fix this on my own. I know I’m the one who caused this mess, and you’re allowed to hate me for it, and I wouldn’t blame you for never trusting me again. But you and Sara are the best witnesses I have, and I need you here with me.
Otherwise I don’t know what’ll happen next. Maybe it’ll affect the whole neighbourhood. If all it takes is one touch, then it’s only going to keep growing.
I’m useless like this. If there’s anything you can do to stop this, I’m pleading with you to come back.
I can still hear knocking on the door. It’s more rhythmic now, like a pattern. I don’t think I’ll be getting any sleep tonight.
by Abigail Martin