7 min readSep 23, 2021

Copyright 2016 Brad Foster

Week 1

~ The first night ~

Have you ever had your fingers smashed by a car trunk? Or maybe they got caught in a slammed door when you were a kid. Regardless, none of that compares to the intense pain to which you snapped awake this morning. You couldn’t help but shout — or swear, if that’s your thing — from the feeling of a pipe wrench squeezing down on the fingers of your hand.

During your dark and dreamless sleep, your hand had slipped over the edge of your bed. You yank it back and grip it tightly with your other hand.

Lurching to your bathroom, you flip on the lights. As they warm up, they cast your face and torso in a pale red sheen of sweat.

Your hand throbs with pain. Slowly, you uncover it, expecting blood. There is nothing besides the color rushing back from where you’d gripped it. Turning your hand over, you don’t see anything that is causing the pain. Nothing is jutting out from any of your fingers. You check your other hand too — no obvious bug bites.

You grab a bottle of pain medicine and stick it under your arm, working it open with your pain-free hand. The bottle slips as the cap pops off. Pills cascade onto the floor, bouncing and scattering across the bathroom. DAMMIT! you can’t help but yell.

Exercising more caution, you shake out four pills into your palm. You pop the four pills in your mouth, shake out two more, then wash them all down with water cupped in your hand.

You cap the bottle and put it back, glancing at yourself once more in the mirror. In horror movies, the monster always seems to appear right behind someone when they look in the mirror again.

As you’ll find out later — the monsters don’t always show up in mirrors.

~ Next day ~

Before going back to sleep, you had moved the bed which revealed an absence of spiders, bugs, or even rodents that could have bitten you. Nonetheless, you opted to sleep on the sofa for the rest of the night.

A solid iron weight sits in your stomach and the world spins when you try to roll off the couch. You call sick into work and go back to sleep. It’s a fitful sleep and several times, you wake up to feel as if you hadn’t slept at all.

The pain that was in your hand has now burrowed just south of your wrist. It burns like a lit match held to your skin. You take more…


This is what I do: I drink and I write things.