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'Itch' by Rachel David, LISP 2022 Flash Fiction Finalist

'Itch' by Rachel David, LISP 2022 Flash Fiction Finalist


Itch

As she put down the phone, she didn’t cry. She didn’t feel her lip tremble, her belly tighten, her limbs twitch. She didn’t feel that unstoppable surge of energy run through her body. She just sat there for a while, thinking about what she had to do next, making mental lists, planning her actions. Eventually she felt a tingle on her left forearm, just under her sleeve; that familiar sensation of nerve cells active, blood rushing. She reached with her right arm and allowed her fingernails to dance on the skin. It felt good. It felt familiar, warm, comforting. Suddenly, she felt a little more awake, a little more alive. A little more. She kept going, as sensation moved from forearm to upper arm, to shoulder to chest. She gradually built a rhythm, etching patterns on her body from left to right arm, feeling the skin cells build up underneath her nails and then float off into the air like dust. And layer by layer, she peeled everything off, scratching away her epidermis, dermis, hypodermis. She looked at her naked body in the mirror, the intricate web of muscles, blood vessels, nerve cells, all exposed to the air for no one to see. Better pack warm clothes, she thought, as she reached into her wardrobe and pulled out her suitcase.


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