Fever Finger | Teen Ink

Fever Finger

January 24, 2016
By Apollemoog SILVER, Yonkers, New York
Apollemoog SILVER, Yonkers, New York
8 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“Without stories, we wouldn't be human beings at all” -Philip Pullman

Isaac felt the break-up coming like an approaching fever: the exhaustion, the listlessness, the absence of passion or effort. It came before the heat that should have been scorching but would translate as freezing, radiating cold.
  Still Isaac did nothing, he let his eyelids blanket his wet orbs with sickly warmth while his phone buzzed desperately, indignantly roaring against the stiff surface of the coffee table like a furious insect. She was screaming and crying into the other side. Isaac knew so because of the words he heard through the phone’s tinny speaker. They echoed through the long dark channel, losing momentum and clarity by the time they reached Isaac’s right ear.
He let the words seep in, the “Why are you acting like this,” the “This could’ve worked,” the “Are you even listening,” and finally the “I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t.” The click of the receiver was like the hard pinch of a needle in his skin, like a shot that left his muscles sore, but hadn’t even been that bad in the end, not really. Isaac sat alone for a long time, feeling the adrenaline in the rhythm his heartbeats, the way his head hurt and his whole body tensed. He reckoned himself truly the victim of some real pain, like a sad scene in a book he’d read at some point.
He relished it masochistically, trying his best to feel and examine his pain in every dimension. Tearing the fingernail with the thumb but cutting too deep, leaving the flesh underneath exposed and raw. Watching the skin darken and swell with infection until it was purple and pulsing, aching with every movement, and when Isaac’s friends sympathized he indulged in recounting his heartbreak to them, presenting them with details he had determined were best and pushing down on the swollen flesh of the finger until the skin turned yellow and bloodless. When he was asked to go out he declined even if he might’ve liked to. He stayed in his room and reveled in the pitied words doubtless being spoken about him that he could not hear, sinking into the absolute isolation. Into a bath freezing cold when it should have scorched. Holding breath until the lungs cried out they could take it no longer. Pressing the nail into the purple, throbbing, surrendered flesh until it yields green and yellow puss that coats the dead flesh with sickly, wet warmth.
And when Isaac began to sob he ran to the bathroom so that he could listen to the increased clarity of his cries against the sound-refracting tile. His face was damp. It was the fever sweat. Sitting on the edge of the bath Isaac snuck a peek at himself, tearful in the mirror. Like a scene from a movie he had seen at some point. Nicotine in the bloodstream. Satiated temporarily.
Isaac would always end up alone. Broken fevers return just like broken flesh. Scabbed over, ready to be opened agonizingly, gorgeously, again. Who doesn’t like to watch wounds bleed?

The author's comments:

I wrote this as an attempt at flash fiction, which is when you try to tell a really condensed story. I thought I was doing it for a class, but it turned out I was just doing the homework incorrectly! So here ya go.

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