From Iceland — Growth


Published January 18, 2015

Alexander Dan, author


Alexander Dan, author

There is something growing on my back. I can’t see it, but I know it’s there.

At first I thought it was a zit, oozing viscous fluid, troubling my back as I went to sleep. As it grew it felt more like a boil, throbbing and seething with pain. My sleep became more distraught, festered with murky visions of lumbering mountains rising and falling with each breath, their lava-filled innards rotten and boiling out.

I tried piercing it with a red-hot needle, but I could not see where it was and every time I felt like I found its exact spot I stabbed myself, just missing the aching centre of the boil. I asked my wife to pierce it for me, but when she looked she saw nothing there.

I could not lie on my back because of the bump that had formed there. My dreams were vivid, senseless journeys through an alien but familiar landscape, accompanied by man-sized flies, their smiles made from crooked fishbones.

There is a hump on my back. I cannot walk upright anymore. It itches all the time. I tried scratching it, but quickly pulled my hand back in pain. It was bleeding from tiny puncture marks, almost as if I’d been bitten. I asked my friend to take a look, but he said there was nothing there. I just had bad posture is all, I just needed exercise, to have a positive attitude, to try this new diet he was on.

Every day I see more people walking hunched over, pained expressions on their faces, still sweating from whatever nightmare they have just woken up from. But there’s nothing there. Nothing that I can see. But I know it’s there.

There is something growing on my back. But there’s no need to worry. It’ll work itself out. No need to worry. It’ll be fine.

It’ll work itself out. It’ll work itself out. It’ll work itself out.

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Enough. Stop. Now.

Enough. Stop. Now.


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