The Reasons I am Sick, and Soon to Die
- The apple seeds I have swallowed. They settled in my stomach like my sister said they would, bedding themselves in the folds of my gut and putting down roots. I can feel their sapling tendrils reaching through my insides, tickling the back of my throat and furling round the bones of my arms. At night in bed I hear the creak of my limbs stiffening from this unnatural reinforcement.
- My hand is bigger than my face. When informed of the possibilities of this freakish abnormality I bit my panic and waited, despite jibes and solicitations, until I was alone to test myself. And it is true: from the base of my palm to the tip of my middle finger is a fraction greater than my chin to hairline. I borrowed my father’s callipers to be sure, rifling through his desk in a cold sweat, pretending mild curiosity for his benefit. I have not long left, it’s plain to see.
- Sugar! My tormentor and my temptress. When any halfwit knows that too much sugar for a child means white worms living in his innards. But I cannot stop! Biscuits, toffees, chocolates and ice-cream, down my gullet it all rushes in an addict’s orgy, until my gluttony is quenched and I fall to weeping and shuddering, unable to escape the maggots wriggling in my belly. ‘Til the next birthday party, the next picnic at the beach. We are bound, sugar and I, until I’m eaten from the inside out.
- These coins my uncle keeps withdrawing from behind my ears. They are appearing there, he says, as if by magic, and so must be excreted from the base of my skull. There is no other explanation. What cancerous tumour within my brain could be the foundry of such an emission? And him sitting there, holding a ten-pence piece aloft with an idiotic grin on his face. As if it were a gift he held and not the very token of my doom.
- And last, and least, I lie here soon to sleep, having suppered on nothing but a plate of cheese sandwiches. May the demons take me in my bed. It would be a better end than all those others I have coming.