Yes, I would appreciate if you would read and comment on this…just like everything else. 😉
The bug awoke from its sickness-induced slumber. Water poured over its head into the dark depths below. Light shined from above, coaxing the bug from its resting place.
Rachel let the shower warm up as she brushed out her hair. Absently opening the shower curtain to step in, she immediately stepped under the refreshing warmth spraying out of the showerhead. After rinsing down, Rachel bent over to grab the shampoo. There was a bug crawling out of the drain. Rachel screamed.
Peter’s head jerked up from his pillow. “Rachel? Hon, are you alright?” He quickly jumped out of bed and ran into the bathroom.
“A bug! A bug,” Rachel frantically called from behind the curtain, “kill it!” Peter pulled back the curtain. Rachel was on the far side of the tub watching a beetle-like bug try to scale the side of the slick tub.
“Hold on, I’ll wash it down the drain,” Peter said as he went to the kitchen for a cup. He returned to the shower with a cup full of water to rinse the bug off the tub and into the drain.
“That was disgusting and NOT supposed to be in my shower.” Rachel’s fear was turning to anger toward the intruding insect. “Are you sure it’s gone?”
“I think so. Here, let’s turn off the shower and run the tub faucet for a few minutes to make sure it gets washed away.”
Rachel was already starting to forget about the incident. “Can you hand me the shampoo? I don’t want to be late for work.”
The bug awoke again to water rushing over its body. It was instantly overwhelmed with hunger upon waking. Once more the bright light overhead drew the bug upward, this time with the promise of food.
Rachel was shampooing her hair when something painful bit into the side of her foot. She reflexively lifted her leg and let out a painful yelp. Rachel looked down to see the bug she had forgotten completely about. It was skittering toward her other foot. Rachel screamed.
Peter jumped out of bed in time to see his wife yank the curtain aside and run out of the shower with shampoo all through her hair.
“It’s back! It bit me! Kill it!” Rachel’s words were frantic as she looked from the bug to her left foot and back again.
“It bit you,” Peter asked incredulously, “the beetle?”
“Yes, it BIT me! Kill it! Don’t wash it down the drain again; that didn’t help at all!” Peter grabbed the first hard item he could get his hands on, a large can of hairspray. “Don’t get my hairspray all messy,” Rachel pleaded, but Peter was already in action.
“Bite my wife, will you, you little pest!? Take that!” Peter smashed the bug into the bottom of the tub with the metal can. “There. It didn’t even any guts on the can.” Peter returned the hairspray to the back of the toilet.
Rachel peered into the tub to confirm the kill. The bug looked crushed, with it’s sticky innards spread out from holes in its shell. Peter came up behind her with some toilet paper. “Here, I’ll scoop it up and bring it out to the trash in the kitchen. I wouldn’t want you to see it in the trash bucket in here and start freaking out again, especially since its still in one piece. Rachel stepped back into the shower to rinse off, checking the drain every so often while Peter started making breakfast.
The bug was in pain. The pain was so intense that the bug couldn’t even move, couldn’t squirm and couldn’t even twitch a leg. The bug could feel its body moving, though the bug was not the one controlling it. Muscles were flexing and relaxing. Slowly, ever so slowly, the bug’s body retracted the innards back into its body. Once all of the internal organs and tissues were again in place, other muscles began working to flex the bug’s shell back to its original shape. As the shell regained its shape, chitin stores were mobilized from various parts of its body and transported into position at the cracked parts of the shell. Eventually, not only were the innards back where they belonged, but the shell had also had regained its original size, shape and strength.
The bug was ravenous.
“I only burned two pieces of toast while making our omelets,” Peter yelled over the smoke alarm. Unplugging the battery, he looked at Rachel who was walking into the kitchen in her bathrobe. “How’s that bug bite doing?”
“I think it’s OK,” Rachel answered, grabbing her plate, “it’s a little red, but it doesn’t really hurt.”
“Good, good. I’ve never heard of biting beetles before. Weird.”
Peter and Rachel finished their breakfast over the newspaper, readied themselves for work and left, having no idea what the end of the day would bring.
“Peter, wake up…Peter…I have to go to the bathroom, but I can’t move my leg.”
Rachel had woken Peter up just before midnight. Forty minutes later he was pacing an exam room at the Emergency Department waiting for the doctor to return. Rachel was propped up on the exam table crying. The doctor entered.
“The lab results are back…I hate to say this, but none of the pathologists have ever seen an infection like this before.” The doctor continued, hoping to answer as many questions as possible before the couple began to panic. “We’ve sent digital pictures to the CDC for immediate analysis. They are sure to recognize what we are dealing with. For now, considering how the symptoms are progressing, I’d like to admit Rachel to the hospital for constant observation. We’ll also start immediate treatment of the symptoms, trying to hold this at bay as much as possible until we get positive identification of the causative agent.”
The couple stared at the doctor in shock. Rachel began to grimace as an apparent spasm shook her left leg up to her hip. Peter’s face began to pale. He looked at his wife and his eyes misted over yet again.
“Peter, the best thing you can do for us right now is go home and find the remains of that bug. That would be a big help in identifying this sickness. I’ve called our infection disease specialist and the University’s head entomologist. They should both be here by the time you get back.” Peter looked blankly at the doctor, and then looked back to his wife.
“I’ll be right back.”
Back at his house, Peter searched frantically through his kitchen trash. “Where are you, you filthy, rotten insect?” He couldn’t find the dead body on his first scan. Digging deeper, Peter found the wad of toilet paper. He knew that what he threw the bug away in would be the only toilet paper in the kitchen trash. He examined the paper, a perplexed look forming on his face. Something had bored a hole through it. Peter looked back into the trash. He then realized that something had also eaten most of the burnt toast he threw away earlier.
“What in the world…” Peter asked aloud. Realizing that the bug must somehow still be alive and in the bag, Peter hauled the entire trashcan into the bathroom. He figured he would have to look through the entire bag. He thought he’d better do it in the tub so the bug couldn’t crawl away before he could catch it. “If it can eat, then it can bite. I’d better get some gloves.”
With gloves on, Peter pulled the bag out of the trashcan. Something cream-colored at the bottom of the trashcan caught his eye. It was the tub. Something had eaten a hole through the back of the trashcan near the bottom.
“No way,” he said out loud. He ran back to the kitchen. There was nothing out of place on the floor where the trash was kept. “What in the world,” he asked into the empty room.
At the hospital, Rachel was fading fast. “Doctor…my stomach…it hurts…my mouth…so dry…”
“Your stomach, huh? Hmmm…” The hospitalist attention was already on that area. “Are you able to drink on your own?” As the doctor asked this he touched her belly. “Wow! That’s hot!” He thought to himself. He looked up to Rachel who was having difficulty with her water.
“Here, let me help you with that, Rachel,” a nurse said. “There, that’s better.” The hospitalist was no longer paying any attention, though. “Her spleen has almost doubled in size since my first examination,” he thought incredulously, “the infectious disease doctor had better get here soon!”
The nurse tapped him eagerly on the arm. Her other hand pressed the emergency buzzer to the nurses’ station. “Doctor, the patient has lost consciousness and…she doesn’t appear to be breathing!”
On his way back to the bathroom, Peter caught a dark shape out of the corner of his eye. It was scurrying toward the front door. In his hurry, Peter hadn’t completely closed the door after his entrance. “That had better not be…” Peter trailed off as he ran down the hall.
Peter arrived at the front door in time to see the bug fall off the threshold and onto the top stair. He couldn’t see it very well in the dark. He flipped the switch beside the doorway, turning on the outside light to get a better look. Peter’s eyes grew large. He positively identified the critter as it walked off the side of the stair and tumbled into the grass below. It was the dead of night and grass covered his entire front yard. Peter realized that, most likely, he had just lost all hope of catching the creature.
The bug heard the creature at the top of the stairs let out a terrifying scream. The bug was already hurrying toward the house next door. It didn’t know where it was going or why, but it knew it didn’t want to be around the nasty creature in the doorway. The bad thing caused dreadful pain.
The bug reached the neighbor’s house a few minutes later. The creature from the doorway was now bent over in the grass beside its stairway. The bug climbed straight up concrete and slipped into darkness through a rotted basement window