The Haunting of Harold Hemmings

He wouldn’t let it lie. He could have let it lie, but he wouldn’t let it lie.

He should have let it lie. He might have let it lie, but he didn’t let it lie.

A scab. A scab that was spread over the inflamed, red, angry, soft flesh of skin knitting to skin, the magic of invisible antibodies and plasma and reconstructing cells building walls and carrying on their pre-programmed business, beavering away. The temperature of the area of flesh was heightened, betraying the furious action going on underneath, the itch another symptom as the nerves transferred to the brain the knowledge of furious action, repairing and fixing and mending. Things were being made better, beneath the surface. But on the surface, it was a scab. An ugly scab, yellow and brown and dry blood black and even, around the edge, a hint of pustulous green. Its surface was uneven, misshapen and irregular. It sat over the healing, a mockery of the fine and natural processes going on underneath. And it was strangely stiff, unyielding like a carapace, but this was unnatural. The very fact that the scab was hard and nasty meant that it could not flex with the skin beneath, and this mismatch was what made it irresistable to the touch.

Time and again his hand went back to the scab, picking it, rubbing it, moving it from side to side and feeling the unpleasant hot itch-pain of the tug on the damage that was hidden.

He wouldn’t let it lie.

 

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