Zoe turned over and over in her bed. She had been trying to sleep for hours. She was exhausted from tossing and turning, twisting her sheets and pillows around and around. Christ but she just wanted to sleep. She was on edge, feeling like something... something big, was about to happen. She had been up the past 36 hours. She was so stressed and drained, not to mention coming down from a serious caffeine pill binge, that she should have been able to fall asleep standing on one leg. But no matter how she tried, no matter how hard she was coming down from her buzz, Zoe just could not sleep. The itching. The goddamn itching that just would not quit. But she wasn't going to itch. She wouldn't let herself.
Last summer Zoe had a mosquito bite on her thigh. She had scratched the skin raw. Then it had started to bleed. And each time the bite tried to scab over, there she was scratching again. The half-dollar sized, infected, fluid and pus-filled bubbling scar from that accursed mosquito was enough to keep her hands clear from even the tiniest tingle. A piece of hair ticking her nose? No way. She wasn't even going to touch that.
But this itching was something else. It didn't just sit back and politely say 'please, scratch me.' Oh no, not this sensation. This feeling, just under her navel, said something else entirely. Screamed something else entirely. This feeling shrieked 'SCRATCH, CLAW, GOUGE, BLEED - TEAR ME NOW YOU BITCH!' And boy did Zoe want to. She squeezed her clenched hands between her thighs in an attempt to hold them still. She wanted to take her nails and scrape at her flesh until blood streamed raw agony down her stomach, her thighs.
Zoe crammed her fist in her mouth on impulse and bit hard, stifling a scream of frustration and rage. The itching. Oh god the itching. The taste of blood suddenly filled Zoe's mouth and she jerked in surprise, pulling her hand free. A perfect crescent of teeth marks stretched across the back of the hand. Five of the indentations were red and oozing, blood beginning to spill down. Droplets fell to the sheet, growing circles of red expanding on the clean, white linen. Zoe stared at the droplets, transfixed. And as she stared her hands crept to her stomach. And they started to scratch...
The Pure Essence of Randomness, Captain of the Touchback, and Proud member of the Gutter Sistren