Sub-rosa Sub-derma by Frances Tate

You clean crashed space debris, but who cleans you?  Yesterday your gauntlet was punctured. You blamed shredded metal and continued working. Didn’t sanitise.

Standing paralysed before the mirror this morning, watching undulations cross your collarbone, stretching skin, tearing soft tissue, you rue ignoring protocol. 

The bulge at your neck has the size and constant gnawings of a rat. Grotesque, slow-motion lumps form, breach as wet red flesh.

The eyeball, trailing dripping nerves, emerges and swivels to stare at your identical hazel irises in the glass. 

Not every species has biomass to waste. Word’s spreading humans are warm and careless; accommodating. 

Frances Tate is a compulsive drabbler. Co-writer of two self-published drabble books and appeared in The Drabble and Black Hare Press Dark Moments. She lives in the northwest UK, where she puts all that rain to good use, gardening. She is a technical author for an engineering company by trade.

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