A short story


by Azarin Sadegh

Everything started on a Monday when, in the morning, I noticed that little bump on my forehead. It was almost like nothing. Nothing noticeable, so I ignored it, as if it didn’t exist. It was even smaller than a coin. The color of my skin hadn’t changed, and I found no hole in the middle of the bump; all this indicated to me that it was just a mosquito bite.

The next day it had gotten bigger. It was right in the middle of my forehead, where everyone who was looking at me would see. I changed the style of my hair to cover it. That was a busy week at work, so I had to work late nights, and in the morning I was washing my face with closed eyes, so the bump didn’t bother me at all.

I know many people with strange looking moles or birth marks. And there are all these people burned in accidents, with bizarre marks on their faces. With purple skin, lost fingers, broken bones, missing kidneys, fake hearts.

My bump was nothing.

Until Saturday morning when I woke up at 10 a.m., and I washed my face with open eyes. Horror hit when I saw the bump--red or maybe purple and as big as an egg, clearly evident under my long bangs. I pulled my hair aside to study it. It felt soft, almost as if something alive were hiding inside. I touched my skin, and I felt my nerves beating like a heart. What if my forehead had become the house to a bizarre insect? What if it was going to eat my brain? I was devastated. I forgot all I had to do on that bright morning, and I rushed to the emergency room.

The nurse didn’t take me seriously, and the doctor gave me some ointment to use. I rubbed it every hour with force; that’s all I did that day. I spent the entire day looking at the bump with fear. It didn’t grow bigger so long as I was watching it.

The next day it was much bigger still, and I could even see the constant rhythm of something inside. I decided not to sleep. I kept watching it, rubbing it with medicine, and I called my boss to take off the whole upcoming week.

That was the best thing I did, because it didn’t grow bigger that week. I fell asleep on the seventh day and slept for 26 hours.

When I woke up I felt heavy, and I couldn’t keep my balance. My head felt as if it would drop me to the ground. I dragged myself to bathroom and pulled myself up to see myself. The bump was as big as my head. I looked like a bald man.

I called the police to tell them that I was desperate. They kept me on hold. After 15 minutes, a nice voice told me that this was not an emergency, because they could do nothing for desperate people unless they were trying to kill themselves. I thought about lying, about telling her I wanted to die, but I didn’t.

I touched the bump and knew that I was touching my enemy, something that was threatening my life. Even rubbing was useless. I could hear its heart. I could see its movements. My bump seemed restless.

I called the ointment doctor, and he told me I should go to a lab to get a biopsy. I followed his instructions. I ignored everyone staring at me, this strange creature with a moving bump. I fell and still I stood up and didn’t mind the dirt on my clothes and on my face. The lab technician made me lie down on a white bed. and I stared at him as if he were my savior. He injected something in the bump, and then I didn’t feel anything. As if my bump were gone for good. I closed my eyes. Dreaming. I fell asleep.

When I woke up, he told me to stand up. I told him to help me. He helped me to walk to the bathroom, and I realized my bump was redder, more immense, with some holes in it. He told me they would call me once they knew what it was.

I returned home, wondering.

Three days later they called me and told me they had to send it to the Health Department. Now I was a new case in medical history. And they didn’t want to tell me something that wasn’t yet proved. So they had to do more testing. They reassured me that this was not life threatening. I didn’t believe them.

Strangers I had never met started calling me and asked to take a picture of my bump. They kept asking me questions to which I didn’t know the answers. They visited my apartment, searching for something. I only wanted to go back to my normal life where I wasn’t desperate and nobody knew my name.

After two weeks with no word I called the officials at the health department. I told them that I was going to kill myself and that I was hopeless and this was not a life I wanted. They told me to call emergency. They cared only about my bump, not about me. I called the police again and this time the nice voice told me I should wait until they arrived. And I waited.

The police came and took me to jail. They said I couldn’t kill myself; it was against the law. I told them I only wanted to be normal and to get rid of my bump. But doctors had forbidden the surgery because I was a unique case. I begged the nice police officer to help me. He took pity on me and told me that he understood my misery. He told me that he knew a doctor who might help me.

Later my policeman took me to a little dark clinic where we met his friend. My bump had become almost as big as my belly; in order to walk I had to keep my balance by opening and stretching my arms like a circus acrobat. The police officer’s friend touched my bump. I didn’t mind. He injected anesthesia that made me sleep.

I woke up a few hours later. My head felt light. The room seemed still dark. Where was the light? I hoped to know what was inside my bump now that it was gone. Had it been filled with small insects? When they cut the bump open, did they fly everywhere, scaring nurses and doctors? Or was it a kind of strange creature never seen by men? Or was it a new heart beating faster than my normal heart? Or maybe was it like a fetus growing inside my head, looking like me? Or was it another brain inside my brain, contradicting my original thoughts?

What was really inside it?

I wondered.

The darkness broke with a sound. The room door opened and a beautiful nurse, turning on the light, smiled at me. I smiled back at her. Life seemed normal, and I decided not to ask anything.

A few days later, they let me go back to my apartment. I knew that by letting go of this chance to become eternal through science books, I had made the choice of dying one day like any other human being.

A few hours ago my policeman friend came for a visit and told me what they had actually found inside my bump. He said I’d suffered some kind of skin allergy with the biggest bump ever seen in medical history caused by extreme fatigue and lack of sleep combined with iron deficiency in my blood. They also found some trace of a rare exotic bacteria that lives only in a faraway tropical island where I have never been. He explained when they cut it open, the blood inside my bump splashed high and reached the ceiling of the white surgery room, and they are still trying to clean away its trace. It seems my blood has some unique acidic component in it, making the task of washing it away almost impossible.

He also told me that they have added a new chapter in medical books and they have written new instructions to emergency call operators. From now on I am eternal, no matter my choice.


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