February 19, 2014
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The morning sun pierced your eyes with a despairing glare, like an unwelcome knife worming its way between your eyelids. You shuddered underneath the covers as the breeze flew over your chest. Pulling the sheets up you greeted its warmth like an old friend with a sincere and comfortable hug. You lay waiting for the day to pass you by, hoping to sleep soundly through it all. Alas, the evening could only come by pushing through the day.
You swivel around on your bed, sitting up and adjusting your eyes back into reality from the dreams of the night before. You stood up slowly with a backward lean as you stretched your body outward in every direction. The usual routine shortly followed; always eating, dressing and cleaning, in whatever unique order you could think of that day.
You sat at the wooden table in the kitchen as you finished your breakfast, your throat lightly starting to swell as you force the final mouthful down. You could feel it coming, the light tingle and tang in the back of your throat, every time you swallowed it felt firmer as it slid down. By the end of the day it would consume you, burying itself deep inside, and never letting go until the suffering truly ended.

You stumbled inside your house and flung your tiresome body onto the sofa, finally arriving from a long day at work. Your breathing had begun to pick up, becoming more of a chore throughout the day, giving a cough of desperation as your lungs cried for air. You laid for minutes, which felt like hours as you almost drifted to sleep; your body slowly shutting itself down to recuperate, to heal. You shook yourself out of it, feeling the need to at least make it to bed. You raised your heavy arm up into the cupboard above the worktop in the kitchen. Your little energy managed to pop out the reluctant tablets from their plastic pockets with their flimsy foil tops. You placed the first on your tongue, the tasteless plastic casing of the capsule adding little encouragement as you swigged some water and gulped the pill. The second became easier as you could no longer bear to be away from your slumber; it longed for you, and you longed for it like drugs to an addict.
You willingly flung yourself into bed as night drew in, happily letting the darkness of your eyelids consume you. Relaxation penetrated your mind, calming your heartbeat. Your psyche was set free into your imagination, wondering round, but held down by your tiring body, the weakened state of man as your condition worsened. Your mind reflected your body’s restlessness, unable to maintain a pleasant state of peace and tranquillity. Your coughing interrupted and the snivels ruptured the dream state. Slowly corrupting you through the night, it rendered you helpless as it took you by your core, and strangled your health.

You woke slowly, unable to break the aching silence that rang throughout your head like the vibrations of a rattling train. Your unquenchable desire to cocoon in sheets succumbs to you; it grips your every limb, pulling itself closer to you. A mask of illness clouds your nasal passages with a mucus mess that clutters your nostrils to the brim. The covering overheated your face, making the oxygen hard to breath in the dense air that it created, contaminating the fresh air that strayed too close. The fire scorched deep inside your skull, like a burning apocalypse in the centre of your mind, eternally burying itself deeper and deeper as the heat escaped out to every nerve ending in your brain, and surfacing to your eyes. The heat sizzled behind your eyes, desperately trying to escape around the surface, leaking out from around them as they flowed out in gaseous tears of pure heat.
Your eyelids finally peel open, daring to brave the morning sun as you heave your carcass up from your soft coffin. As you stagger into the bathroom, you gaze with your drifting and unfocused eyes into the mirror on the cupboard. The blur slowly revealed how bad you truly looked as it reflected how you felt. You felt like death, like deaths cold skeletal touch had come for you; it was almost as if you could see him behind you, reaching for you.

Your body was weak and heavy, as if your weight had doubled over night, or that gravity had attached its anchors to your limbs. You crawled along like something gruesome from a zombie flick, dragging your anchors behind you as they slowed you to the speed of your agonising decay.
Having eventually reached the kitchen you open the window, gasping for fresh air to open your throat and lungs, and let your skin breath from the dirt and fungus that grew out and hardened around your face, forming a layer of tense, tight and irritating flaky skin.
Two more tablets were taken from the box that was left open on the work top; you swallowed them, wishing they were bullets that were fired through water to end your suffering. As you hit the glass down on the surface you notice the time on your wall mounted clock. Your head suddenly buzzes as sparks of adrenaline fires round your body. You attempt to rush off, but the adrenaline had passed. Your muscles failed. You saw the floor slowly rising towards you as you tilted down to meet it. The worktop saved you as you caught it, holding your entire weight against your arms. Fate had decided for you. Today was not a day to go to work.

The doorbell rang. It was a tone of sheer joy to anybody else, but for you it was the screams of a demon, a foul ghost or supernatural parasite that came to feed on his soul. You were already feeling so drained and distraught; reluctantly you strained your aching joints to achieve a hobble. Your dressing gown hung loose from you as you fluctuated from boiling in a sauna to living in a cave of ice. You snivelled, clearing your passages to breathe before pressing yourself against the door and peering through the peephole. Your mother stood on the steps waiting patiently with a bowl in hand, covered in cling film, the steam pressing against. Your mood changed immediately; you could not wait to fill your inflamed throat as you entered your shivering stage. The thought of pouring a warm thick liquid down your oesophagus was enough to give you a bounce of energy; more than you had had all day. You reached up for the key you kept on the shelf above the shoe rack. You reached up as high as you could, tensing all muscles in your legs and arms to reach. You followed your hand all the way across, but only dust was found.
The post-box opened with your mothers eyes staring through, asking whether or not you were going to let her in. You sighed, and paid the price of aggravating yourself as you coughed instantly, your entire lungs spurting out as you stamped the floor with your foot. The cough was so rough and deep in your chest as if the vibrations were tearing through your entire respiratory system. As soon as you recovered you disappeared, moving into the kitchen, then the living room, staggering from one place to the next. The key could not be found, nor could your normal set.
With an immense sense of disappointment you returned to your mother who was still crouched down looking through the post-box. Your glum and saddened look was obvious to her, but she too gave in and vanished after ordering you to bed. The hot soup she had made would never touch your lips, the intense flavour of one vegetable or another would never caress your taste buds. The shimmering heat of it flowing down you and into your stomach excited your senses, but it tormented you more.
You longed for relaxation, you longed for a release. You begged for forgiveness for whatever sins you had committed to deserve such torture. Endlessly on the edge of sleep, you laid on your side unable to fall into your trance. The pain was too much, your brain was too haunted with thoughts, and no position was truly comforting. It was almost as if falling asleep was to fall into the afterlife itself, consumed by death and swallowed to the digestive fluids that were hells rivers as you flowed through the stomach of the devil himself. The enzymes would have been a quicker death than the weakening anguish that hindered you from even helping yourself. Drowning in the acid would have been a blessing, yet you continue to float; float and burn. The steam that rose from the river clouded your face as it drifted above you. Unable to sink below, the heat suffocated you slowly. Every gas pocket that burst felt like the screams of your consciousness sizzling inside you, as if you were deteriorating from the inside, working its way out slowly through your veins as you were carried away through to the bowels of hell. You were to become the excrement of man, the weak and useless bile that the world had spat out. Among the chaos you could still hear a voice; it was calling out to you. You struggle to make out what it was they were saying. They continued to call out to you, willing you to continue towards wherever they were. You feel your conscious fade, your eyes drooping low as you flowed towards the voice. “Come to me” it called softly. “Come to me” it pleaded. “Come to me” it implored, willing you to continue on. “Come to me.”
“I want your soul!” it beamed as it cried out into the darkness.
Your eyes burst open with your body leant up, your head pounding, your heart racing as you suffocate from attempting to breathe through your nose. You fling your covers off of you wiping your sweat off of your dripping skin; it stuck to you like the shedding of skin that the snake could not quite shake off.

It was morning once more and the sun sent its excruciating rays down to your eyes, burning straight through them to your brain like a magnifying glass to ants. It felt like a cell dropped for every second your eyes took the unstoppable pain.
Again more tablets were taken; each sinking slowly, ricocheting off of every side of your throat, sliding down as if it was a sinking leaf in a thick and viscid swamp. You tilt your head down mourning your health like a dearly departed friend, as if you had only just realised how lucky you were to have them by your side the entire time. You were still weak with your condition only feeling to get worse, but now it must have surely reached its peak. The road to recovery was in sight surely.
You dash your head to the side, regretting it immediately with a scrunched up face filled with suffering. As you open your eyes you focus on what had previously caught your attention. There was a small sparkle, a slight shimmer of light reflecting from the sun through the window. It appeared to deflect from the floor underneath the fridge. With nothing better to do than inspect you slowly crouched down onto your knees, aching as if your age had skyrocketed. You reached forward to the light, gripping the chunk of metal that was laid underneath in the dusty and dirty abyss. As you stood back up you wiped the metal clean revealing your spare house key.

The evening was beginning to look up; you sipped the warm soup as your partner sat opposite with a smile, finally happy to see some comfort in your eyes.
You had told them about your illness, how weak you felt and how you struggled to remember too much of it. You simply told them it was as if you were blacking out for a couple of hours each day, drifting to sleep every time, before waking up somewhere new. They were naturally concerned, but at last they could see some progress, after all you were just over exaggerating.
You woke up in the armchair; slumber had consumed you once more. You stare across as you notice how peaceful they look, laid out on the sofa calm and asleep. You get up slowly, leaving your lover to rest. You still felt horrible, the worst you have ever felt. You began to doubt the effect your tablets were having. They were an own brand by your local supermarket, but they surely could not be that bad. Your doubt was the only clear thought you had had in days; you pursued it like a dog to a hare. You became curious and intent on knowing how effective they were. They seemed fine by your experience from reading the packaging. You took them out and proceeded to take them as ritual required. As you held them in your hand, your mind wandered, it felt free from your illness at last, breaking its barriers and jumping the hurdles to freedom. You pondered, and with that sudden thought, you raised a single tablet up to the light on your ceiling. There was no shadow; no darkness in the centre, the capsule was translucent with what appeared to be thin air inside it. You immediately became intrigued, you had to know. Your gripped the tablet and pulled the red end one way and the yellow the other; nothing came out. There was no white powder of paracetamol and caffeine, or whatever concoction that should have been inside it. You check the next one; it was the same.
That was the last time you ever bought those cold and flu capsules ever again. You stormed silently upstairs to bed, disappointed with the tablets, but relieved that you found some closure. At least something good came of this. You closed your door silently, and disappeared into the darkness.

You woke early in the morning, poking your head between your curtains without being blinded by light. The moon was still high in the night sky. Half-awake you still manage to snivel and grunt as you clear your throat and nose, trying to breath. Your aura of sweat and illness followed you like a band of loyal plagued rats, reaching every nook and cranny, infecting everything in sight. Your eyelids were heavy, and your steps were small, you were not sure whether you were truly awake or dreaming. Your consciousness seemed to fluctuate between your mind and the outer body experience of nightmares and fantasies; your reality was twisted between what looked like reality but felt like a dream. You followed your ears, with your glass in hand, stumbling towards the dripping tap as the slow droplets fell into patters. You walked through the open door, moving straight to the tap. It was a little stiff at first but once it gave in you filled your glass, the droplets of water still echoing in your head. As you turned the tap off you quickly realised that the dripping was still there.
You felt a chill in the air. It could not have been cold in the house, but a shivering breeze waved over you, and encased you in prison of ice. You reached for the cord to tie it around you, hoping for warmth from your dressing gown. You twisted around both ways, trying to find the cord, but it was missing. You could not feel it around you, nor see it on the floor in the dark bathroom. The dripping was slowly becoming sinister, taunting you with fear. You quickly turned both taps as tight as you could, yet the dripping still remained.
"Come to me" whispered a soft voice in your ear. You turn around instantly. There was nothing there; no person, no voice, no nothing.
You grip your hair, your head pounding from your excessive heart rate. You sit on the edge of the bath sighing realising how much of a toll this illness was starting to take on you. Darkness was the fuel for your fear, the fear of the unknown; you sat in the middle of it with only pitch black around you, it was suffocating. You knew why you were scared, but you felt too weak to face it. You rubbed your eyes as they were still adjusting to the lack of light. Your hands move over your face as they began to rub your irritable skin with your palms. You quickly noticed that there was something strange on your hands, wet, but a little adhesive. You took a tissue from your pocket, wiping away what you presumed was the unintentional running of your nose. As you wiped it seemed to wipe off smoothly, but then it stuck. The tissue paper began to tear as it caught onto the thicker layer underneath. You flicked the light switch, finally plucking up the courage to face the light. You opened your eyes dazed as if it was a stun grenade that had gone off in front of you. You raise your hands to your face, inspecting the mess. As your vision focuses you almost jump back. You become startled and nervous, you begin to shake and panic. Blood had dried on your palms and formed a sticky layer over your entire hands. You went to look in the mirror on the cupboard to inspect your face, but your gaze never made it. It had stopped halfway, noticing the reflection of what was behind you. You swivel round in horror, your heart in tatters, shredded in an instant of self-hatred. Your lover, your partner, your everything hung limp and bloodied above the bath. Their neck was tied to showers railings with the textured cord of your dressing gown. Their throat was open in a red massacre of slashes and cuts. Scissors protruded from their chest, right in the heart. Gashes ran all over their body, breaking through their clothing straight through to the bone. Their wrists were running dry with blood as the droplets on their fingertips filled slowly before dripping into the bath.
Your head ran with thoughts, your head pounded and whirled, unable to accept your loss. Your grieving was too unbearable to even start, the shock paralysing your heart. You wash your hands thoroughly, aggressively scrubbing every spec of blood on your skin. The blood would not come off. You throw yourself to the ground, begging to wake up, pleading to any god that would listen to let it all be a horrific nightmare.

Shushes came towards you slowly and softly from the landing in front of you. They were soothing and comforting, calling to you in your time of need. "Go to sleep now" she said softly. "Go to sleep and wake up from this nightmare". You felt your tears stop and your body relax. Your condition still weakening you, but you could not help but give into it. You felt so tired. Your body was worn and lifeless; no medicine could help your suffering, only sleep.
The voice slowly crept closer from the other side of the door. You felt the need to wake up. You needed to escape the trap. It was too late. You laid weak and helpless, like a orphaned newborn. As you laid still you noticed the small pile of white powder hidden in the corner of the bathroom, right behind the toilet. You were nearing unconsciousness, unable to make sense of it, but you knew anyway. You felt the life you had drifting, swaying in and out of your body. It was becoming harder for you to breath, let alone stay awake.
"Come to me" she pleaded. "Come to me" she begged. "Come to me!" she demanded, patient no more. You turn your head looking up at the small blurred figure in white, her untidy black hair dangling down over her unearthly face. Your eyes were slowly closing on reality. Slumber awaited you, the abyss of eternal darkness on the back of your eyelids masqueraded as a blessing.
"That's it, come to me." she whispered. "Sleep now, sleep forever" she muttered before screaming "Die!" You struggle against it, but it was too late. You could not wake up. Consumed by illness, penetrated by weakness, and manipulated by your possessor; you could hear her echo of victory as she called out "Finally, your body is mine."

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This article has 16 comments. Post your own now!

Icithra This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 3, 2014 at 9:21 pm
That was really good, I like the ending a lot. It's quite the interesting premise - a demon using sickness to help it possess. Two quibbles - small things in the face of such excellent writing - The story progressed a little slowly for my tastes, and at the begining, there was a tense change from past to present for a second. Very well done, thank you for writing this. (I began to notice my sore throat halfway through.)
Icithra This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 3, 2014 at 9:22 pm
Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention, I actually do like the title "Just a Cold" better. It's more creative in my opinion.
BlackbeltJames replied...
Oct. 8, 2014 at 7:47 am
Haha, I am glad you got so into the story. It is especially good at giving people colds haha, I myself wrote this having just had a cold at the time, so when my friends got it and read this they had never felt so horrible with a cold (much to my amusement). I have also edited this since I posted it and I too agree that "Just a Cold" is a much better name. It was the original title, but as always I doubt it because getting it right first time seems way too good to be true. Since editing... (more »)
Longlegs said...
Aug. 19, 2014 at 9:23 am
This is very good! You describe everything your character does in such a unique, creative way. And you wrote it in second person, something I cannot do. Way to go!              It is slow-going, though. I was tempted to just stop reading and forget about it half-way through the first paragraph. You're beginning is not at its best. "The morning sun pierced your eyes with a despairing glare....  " . That did not ... (more »)
BlackbeltJames replied...
Aug. 19, 2014 at 6:18 pm
Thanks for the review, when I edited it a month or so ago I tried to vary the sentences more as I realised this myself. I also knew it was not particularly exciting during the first half, but I've never been able to come up with an alternative, colds aren't particularly exciting haha. Ill give it some thought though and see what I come up with, thanks :)
Liv.HarrisThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm
I loved this! You are so descriptive and vivid in explaining how your character felt! I absolutely adore this story! Great job, and please continue! CX
BlackbeltJames replied...
Jul. 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm
Thanks for reading it all, some people are unsure about reading someone who has a "cold", which is why I went over the top with the descriptions to make it interesting and more dramatic. And I found that if I put it in second person, it would make it more personal to the reader, especially since everyone has been ill.
Hey, since you liked both this and We're Not Out Of The Woods Yet, you'd like my other story "Thieving Innocence". Those are my top three stories,... (more »)
Liv.HarrisThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm
Of course I'll read it! I can't wait to cry! lol
MegaSock said...
Feb. 24, 2014 at 5:03 pm
Wow! I like this! Your descriptions were so detailed and on-point, making it seem like I, myself, was sick. Heaven only knows this is what I feel like every morning before school (just kidding :). I never suspected that the sickness would go to be even further than "Just a Cold" (like you suggest, I like that title) all the way into something along the lines of posession. I believe that if you expand the idea, it would be really cool- an extreme sickness that posessess during unconscio... (more »)
BlackbeltJames replied...
Feb. 25, 2014 at 2:29 pm
Thanks for the feedback, and as much as it all seems so uninteresting compared to the final bit, it is meant to portray how long and drawn out, yet so intense the illness is. I'm glad you caught on and understood the story completely, as it is meant to be a mystery, like you said, puzzling the reader until the end when it all makes sense, the girl and the disappearing objects etc. Glad you enjoyed it :D
Bay_Renee said...
Feb. 23, 2014 at 7:05 pm
        Alright, this was wonderfully written! I like your use of wording and your writing style really creats an image in my mind- especially when the character is discribing the feeling of being sick, but there were some parts I didn't understand (I'm not clever enough, I guess, haha).         What I wanted to know is who the girl speaking towards the middle and end was? The white dressed, black haired fi... (more »)
BlackbeltJames replied...
Feb. 24, 2014 at 10:55 am
I never actually thought of comparing it to Sherlock actually haha, but yes I am very very familiar with the show (one of my favourites).
Hmmm, interesting take on it. 
*SPOILERS* Well it was kind of a subconcious being, it was definitley inside their head, but also outside their head. The white dress and black hair was meant to be the stereotypical description for a paranormal figure, some sort of ghost or demon, looking to possess the body of a... (more »)
Bay_Renee replied...
Feb. 25, 2014 at 9:37 am
Oh, okay- I can totally see that! I guess I was relating the character to having internal problems, rather than actually being posessed, but, nevertheless, this was a really well written story and I enjoyed reading it (even though my assumptions were a bit off, haha!)! Thanks for clearing that up and sorry for the spoilers I've caused, haha.
BlackbeltJames replied...
Feb. 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm
Don't worry, I just put spoilers in case anyone was reading it before the story, or vice versa if they didn't get it. But seriously, don't criticise yourself for coming to the wrong conclusions, the story is designed to be what the reader makes of it; that was just my interpretation and original idea for it. But it can be taken as they have psychological problems and another side of them is released during their half concious state while they are ill, or something like that. Its as y... (more »)
BlackbeltJames said...
Feb. 23, 2014 at 8:03 am
Hey guys, this was originally called Just a Cold, do you prefer this or Shivers?
BlackbeltJames said...
Feb. 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm
Please rate and comment, all feedback is appreciated :D
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