No. 227

“Something just bit me,” said Grant Busker.
“Did you see it?” asked his girlfriend, Angel Orr.
They were on the first day of their trip to the beach, and neither one wanted to turn back for anything that wasn’t an emergency.
“No. Didn’t see anything,” Grant answered.
“Are you sure it was a bite? There’s not a lot of cover around here for something to sneak up on you.”
Grant showed her his arm without saying a word. There were clearly two puncture marks just under his elbow.
“Ok,” said Angel. “I wonder if whatever it was is poisonous. How do you feel?”
“Not too bad,” said Grant. “It stings a little, though.”
Angel shrugged. “You want to keep going?”
“Sure.”
They continued to hike their picnic gear up the beach. They didn’t have to go far before they were alone.
“Can we stop for a moment?” said Grant.
“No problem.”
“Thanks. I’m just feeling hot. Is it hot?”
Angel looked up at the slightly cloudy sky. “Not really.”
Grant sat down quickly. Angel thought it was too quickly.
“Did you fall?” she gasped.
Grant did not reply. His head slumped forward and he let out a slight moan.
Angel was at his side instantly. “Grant, talk to me. What’s going on?”
He did not reply. He rolled onto his side and Angel saw the wound again. It had festered to several times the original size in the short time since she’d seen it last. Something under the skin seemed to twitch.
Angel covered her mouth in silent horror. She kick away from her fallen boyfriend and turned, stumbling, to flee.