All Stories, Fantasy, Short Fiction, Writing

From Afar by Hugh Cron

As a kid, Tom was what you would say normal. He’d a happy childhood with loving parents who were supportive of him and he enjoyed his life.

Tom had no issues, he had plenty of friends and people who loved him.

He wasn’t very successful with women though. He had the odd hook-up but nothing serious. This didn’t bother him as he felt that it was only a matter of time before he met his soul mate.

After school and an accountancy course at college, Tom found a job in a bank and within three years, he’d been promoted twice.

He moved out of his parent’s house on his twenty second birthday and was delighted with the mortgage that the bank arranged for him.

Tom was happy with his lot although he realised that he now yearned for someone to share his life with.

He invited a few workmates over to celebrate him being in his house for a year. He’d wanted an excuse to sound out Michelle, he wondered if there was a chance with her. They’d known each other for a while but she’d always been a bit distant. She was an old neighbour who’d lived with her parents and sister.

He hadn’t seen her for years and it was a pleasant surprise to him when she started working at the bank.

He was happy at how it went, everyone enjoyed themselves. He wasn’t sure but he felt that there might have been something between him and Michelle. Tom decided to give her space and just keep it casual.

Once everyone had left and he’d cleared up, he had a nightcap and went to bed. That was when it happened.

From that night on Tom began screaming.

He insisted that he was being bitten.

He saw no-one, he saw nothing but he felt the teeth.

Every morning he checked his body for bite marks but there were none. This was a shock to him and he sought out as much help as his bank’s medical insurance would pay for.

Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists found him to be sane apart from this one delusion. As they do, they put it down to anxiety and stress at work. He was offered an open sick line but declined.

Tom’s overall health was good but he was suffering from sleep deprivation so he was prescribed a sedative.

This caused him not to wake when he screamed but the next morning he still felt the bleeding from his torn flesh.

Tom could smell his wounds rotting but there were no signs. He knew that it was strange but he decided that all he could do was accept what was happening to him.

He held down his job, was promoted again, made a lot more money and could function. No-one knew. His insistence was only to himself and his doctors.

For every bite, he felt his flesh open and he could smell the decay.

Tom touched his invisible wounds and felt the stickiness of the blood. He felt clots then scabs if he didn’t take his medication and stayed awake. But this never lasted, when he did sleep, the bites were on the same places and they were opened once again.

It escalated but he began to embrace the pain. He threw away the drugs and laughed when the screams woke him. He took deep breaths at his work to smell the decay.

It was soon after this that Michelle made her feelings known to Tom, she admitted that she’d been watching him. He’d finally worn her down. She became the love of his life. He wanted to tell her about the biting after she’d heard him screaming, but for whatever reason he decided to tell her that he suffered from night terrors, she accepted this. It wasn’t an issue for them and she declined when he suggested she wore earplugs. Michelle told him that she didn’t mind being wakened by him and they could both fall back asleep together.

Tom was as happy as he’d ever been. In the whole scheme of things, the biting didn’t matter.

The night before their wedding Tom died of septicaemia.

…He’d screamed for the last time.

Michelle had to find someone else to watch.

Hugh Cron

…If you want to read about her sister, there is a sequel or a prequel to this, it just depends on what way you take it. (Piranha)

Image – Google Images.

9 thoughts on “From Afar by Hugh Cron”

  1. Hugh-

    Tom was afraid of it; tried to do something about it; bore it; laughed at it; accepted it; died from it. He remained utterly ignorant of it through the end. “It” is the best I have for his experience.

    Some could say it is a parable about the living experience, but I feel that is too simple. The thing refuses to explain itself, which makes it faithful to the story. Stuff just happens. And a lot of it is terrible. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

    Still, Tom deserves credit anyway. He may have been a victim, but he never gave in to it; he didn’t hide under the bed, he kept moving along. In the end It had to come get him.

    Great unease and unflinching honesty. Never once was the nature of It cheapened by an explanation or a clue. Beautifully done.



    1. Hi Leila,
      Thanks so much for your kind words.
      I really struggle trying to write something imaginative so it’s good when the odd one comes along.
      I don’t think that there are many of my stories that are more idea based than line based.
      I think that is why the writing cupboard is getting very sparse!!
      Thanks as always for your help, support and encouragement!


    1. Hi Mick,
      It’s always a pleasure to see you around.
      Your comments make me think about the the line in ‘Highlander’ when MacLeod asks Ramirez, ‘How can this be’ and he answers, ‘Why does the sun come up, it just does.’
      Thanks for the comments!!
      Hope you had a few haufs over the New Year my fine friend!


  2. Tom needed to be careful of what he wished for — especially when it came to having a crush on Becky’s sister. I liked the sequel / prequel, but this one even more as Michelle outdoes her sister when it comes to being sinister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dave,
      Thanks as always for your continual interest in my stories.
      I wonder, is there always a more sinister sister??
      If we are talking about cats, maybe – Humans, definitely!!
      Hope The New Year was fun for you and your family my fine friend!!


  3. Hi Hugh,
    From Afar will stay with me for a while! The storytelling is beautifully straightforward which heightens as well as underplays the tension. I look forward to reading more from you.


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