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Burrow.

This is one of a few pieces I plan to put together in a collection of Urban horror stories.

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Burrow.

I BETTER SEE YOU FUCKING BOUNCE!”

Angry white lights pulsated behind the band that frantically flickered across the stage with an unholy convulsion. Michael jumped in time, the very ground thrusting him back into the air as the sound beat through the wooden veins. The paranormal screams raiding the air, slit the throat of anything remotely calm, raped the meaning of ‘intensity’, and Michael fucking loved it.

The right to rip and tear societal norms to shreds, release a primal urge to fucking scream, for it to be within reason to sound the line ‘Cut cut cut me up and fuck fuck fuck me up’ to the audience of a bounding mass of flesh.

Sweat slicked the floorboards, a crude yet appropriate varnish that was stomped into the floor with every boot print that stomped the music through the building. For all the aggressive discord the assailants on stage shrieked, there was nothing but harmony between those were there to feel it all.

And then, all at once, it was over, and tranquillity stumbled – abused – back into the room.

As he left, his ears were ringing, his mind spinning, his stomach turning, but his smile was clear. He beamed his way to the taxi, beamed his way into his house, and as his eyes closed when his head hit the pillow of his tiny single bed, his smile never left.

“… And in the early hours of the morning the building was quarantined due to their inability or unwillingness to follow procedure…”

Michael’s eyes wouldn’t open no matter how much he asked them, the ear-splitting bells in his ears continued to sound, though much louder than in his previously drunken state. The headache wasn’t quite as bad; however his neck had some pain to catch up on, having held his head on his shoulders all night.

“… The use of Cymothicide is vital to the public’s health and we are simply shocked that Rock City managed, and opted to, get around…”

Th newscast was doing nothing but hurt him, and so it became his first priority.

His feet picked him up and dragged his lulling head atop his waning neck to the remote, promptly pressing the big red button that just stopped that godforsaken noise.

From there he dragged his head to the hissing shower.

Dragged it to the toaster, made some beans, had breakfast.

Dumped it on the arm of the sofa, coffee sitting on his chest disapprovingly.

His finger pressed the big red power button again.

“… We just have to hope that no one was affected.”

Sounded serious, but he really wasn’t in the mood for serious today. He was in the mood for comfort and comedy, and thus, friends appeared on Netflix completely independent of his conscious choice. The laugh tracks filled his tiny apartment, from the bed near the window, to the sofa only metres away, to the kitchen that waited behind the sofa.

It wasn’t long after that the urge kicked in. A craving, a need. The ringing in his ears finally subsided, and immediately his mind begged him for something a little more energetic than a few laugh tracks. He shrugged to himself, sitting up on his sofa and putting on some rock in the background.

The waves infiltrated his ears, bounced around in the acoustics of his skull, before they were eaten away and muted like they never even existed.

He craned his neck, causing a spike of pain to jolt through his system. Massaging the base of his neck and turning the YouTube app on and off again, he tried to put on another album.

The waves infiltrated his ears, bounced around in the lovely acoustics of his skull, before they were eaten away and muted like they never even existed.

Confused he scratched his head wondering if there was some kind of bug with the app or a problem with the tv speakers. He changed the video to a vlog, but the sounds never came or went. They were just there, the shapes of words lingering in the air. The ringing came back, stronger this time, more vicious, and the craving came back, its hands wrapped around his throat.

With terror, his eyes widened. With horror, tears gently rolled down his cheeks. His finger trembled as he switched back to the news.

In a bid to raise profits, Rock City had found a way around using the expensive Cymothicide.

In a bid to raise profits, Rock City broke the law and were now facing criminal charges, as well as getting their venue shut down.

In a bid to raise profits, Rock City had doomed all their customers without a second thought, and Michael knew from the nails that scraped across his mind: whispering in his ears: begging for more noise – that included him

Let me feed.”

The trip to the doctors was painful, his stereo literally could not go any louder, but they asked for more. He couldn’t hear approaching cars, his eyes, glazed over in fear, could not see the pedestrians about to cross the road or the images in his mirrors.

I better hear you fucking scream.”

He waited, his eye twitching, his leg tapping uncontrollably as he forced himself to keep his headphones firmly in his pocket, a last resort akin to condemnation.

When the doctor invited him in, he was a dishevelled mess, an impatient lunatic yet to be admitted to the asylum.

The second he saw Michael the doctor hurried him by his arm into the chair in the middle of the room and slammed the door shut, before promptly plugging his ears and going into a small cupboard under his desk. The spray he brought out smelt like a mix of sweetness and the abhorrent that nauseated him, like vomit and sugar.

“What’s your name?”

“Michael.” He spat the word.

“You’re infected by the parasite as I’m sure you know. Do you understand what they do?”

“Eat.” Michael’s response shivered as it travelled across the air, the vermin in the word burned alive by the Cymothocide.

“Yes, they do. They feed on the emotions that are drawn out most powerfully by music. Do not, whatever you do, listen to anything loud. If you already have, I’m afraid that all I can do is delay the inevitable.”

“Can you not deafen me. Please.” Desperation plagued him.

“That would be a sentence worse than death, and I cannot do that to one of my patients.” He looked solemnly at the ground. “By now the creatures will be so far burrowed into your brain… I’m sorry Michael. All I can say is take two Cymothocide pills a day, one in the morning and one at night, and go as long as you can.”

“You’re consigning me to death? That’s it?”

“That’s it.” His look betrayed his thoughts, this was something the doctor had been forced to do many a time before.

Michael said nothing, stood, took a pill, and left, went home, watched friends. Cooked.

And he did that for months. Didn’t go to work. Didn’t pay his rent.

He fought, he fought a battle with he tv, with the stereo, as his deafness killed his soul, the very reason for his passion in life

And one day, three months after that visit, he broke. And it was the best gig he ever went to. The only gig he ever went to again.

He left ears ringing, his mind spinning, his stomach turning, but his smile was clear. He beamed his way to the taxi, beamed his way into his house, and as his eyes closed when his head hit the pillow of his tiny single bed, his smile never left.

When the police broke down the locked door to his apartment, the walls were covered in fungal veins that pulsed to the beat of the tv’s maxed out speakers. The veins led back to the bed in the corner of the – now – coral apartment, and upon it lay the shrunken form of a body, unrecognisable except for the smile that wrapped around the fungal vein protruding, a mutated form of a tongue.

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Side note: Google Cymothoa Isopods. They’re gross and weird and inspired me.

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