The Itch and the Worm (flash fiction)

Here’s a piece of humor flash fiction about an annoying itch that leads to something truly bizarre. It’s about 715 words and has an estimated reading time of 3 minutes. Let me know what you think!

It all started with an itchy nose.

Victor stumbled into work that morning late, as usual, with his hair frazzled and a coffee stain on his khakis. And his nose, for whatever reason, had a tremendous and annoying itch that wouldn’t go away.

“You gotta shape up, Victor,” said Russ, his draconian boss, as he clocked in. Russ stood there behind him with his “#1 Boss” coffee cup, like he’d been waiting all morning for Victor to show up. He was only ten minutes late, but his company was old school and still required employees to clock in and out.

“I’m sorry … I just overslept.” Victor hid his feelings of malice but continued to scratch his nose. It must be red by now, he thought. This damn itch!

“Are you okay?” Russ asked. “Why are you itching so much?”

“I don’t know. It’s weird. Ever since I woke up this morning.”

Russ looked at him sideways. “Okay. Well, get to work.”

Back at his desk, the itch persisted. Victor tried to ignore it, but it was like torture. Am I getting sick? he thought. He opened his laptop, checked his email, got the day started. But the damn itch occupied every fiber of his body.

He let out a powerful sneeze, making sure to cover his mouth. That’s when things got weird – he felt something crawling in his hand. He opened his hands and, cupped inside, was a tiny earthworm caked in dirt.

The worm slithered and spasmed a bit until he threw it on his desk.

“What in the hell?” he yelled.

Russ came out of his corner office. “What’s going on?”

“I-I don’t know.”

The boss saw the dirty worm on the desk and spit out his coffee.

“Great googily-moogily!” Russ exclaimed. “Why in the good Lord’s name is there an earthworm crawling on your desk?”

“I … I don’t know!” Victor replied, feeling distressed. “I think I’m getting sick. I should go home.”

“You called out yesterday. And that report is due this morning.”

“I can’t!” Victor was breathing hard, and he couldn’t help but look at the worm, which had crawled onto his keyboard. “I have to go!”

With that, he rushed out to the parking lot and drove home. His nose continued to itch, and every time he sneezed, tiny clumps of dirt came out.

Okay, just relax, he assured himself. Nothing too weird about this. It happens, right? Just a little worm and some dirt. Run-of-the-mill type stuff.

Victor got home around mid-morning and suddenly felt dead tired. His wife wouldn’t be home until around five o’clock from her teaching job. So, he ate a granola bar (he had skipped breakfast) and went to bed.

Tossing and turning, he continued to itch his nose like crazy. Thankfully, though, he didn’t see any more worms. Eventually, he fell asleep.

At about 5:15 that night, Victor’s wife, Kaisa, returned home. She’d noticed his car in the driveway and thought it was strange – she usually made it home before him.

“Victor, baby?” Kaisa called. “You home?”

She noticed an unusual smell coming from upstairs. It smelled like garbage or maybe something rotting. Their dog, Rufus, was sitting at the closed bedroom door and barking. Reluctantly, she opened the door.

“Oh my god,” she whispered to herself.

On the bed, Victor was lying there, but it didn’t look like him at all. His body had decomposed amid clumps of dirt and worms. The stench was terrible, and pieces of bone protruded through the decayed flesh.

Kaisa screamed, then nearly fainted.

The EMTs had no idea how it happened, and the autopsy report didn’t make sense either. The mortician said Victor had been deceased for about a week when his wife found him.

But how could that be? She’d seen him alive and well just that morning.

A few weeks later, when Kaisa finally gathered the strength to clean their bedroom, she spotted a small earthworm on the carpet.

She thought about her poor husband and then, with a quick and furious motion, stomped on the little bugger several times until it was smashed into a million pieces of slime.

Since her husband’s death, Kaisa has never looked at a worm the same.

The End

(Photo by Sean Thomas on Unsplash)

9 thoughts on “The Itch and the Worm (flash fiction)

  1. This is such a gruesome and supernatural twist to the story. Thought it would go some other way. I never liked worms. They’re so…ewww!
    Great writing, Nick. 🙂

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