Would You Still...
by Mathew Gostelow, 31st October 2022
Her teeth went first. My wife's teeth. One morning, plopping like wishing well pennies into her Special K. Slow red swirls in the milk. Completely painless, she said. Her gorgeous wavy blonde hair came out too, in clumps as she brushed. Her naked scalp was covered in dark welts that scared us both. It didn’t seem normal, so we phoned the doctor. While I was on hold, I turned to see painted fingernails scattered on the carpet, like dead petals. Oozing gummy stubs where they used to be. My wife stifled her sobs.
At lunchtime we gave up on the GP. Her fingers and toes had just dropped off and we still didn’t have an appointment. We saved the severed digits in Tupperware, cold and bloodless, like cheap sausages. I think we both knew they would never be reattached. Her skin became shiny, wrinkly, slippery with some kind of mucus.
By evening, we both understood what was happening. We knew there was no point driving to the hospital. My wife’s limbs had fused to her body, leaving her formless, writhing helpless on the carpet. A purple-grey membrane grew over her eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. Quite quickly, she became longer and thinner, flesh forming ribbed bulges. A new anus opened, shitting out a stinking stew of organs and bones she no longer required. The rest of her skeleton seemed to dissolve or digest inside.
And so we found out for sure. Just the day before, my wife had asked whether I’d still love her if she was a worm. It turned out I did. On some level, at least. But she was much less interested in me, after the change. Before I went to bed, I let her out the back door. Drizzly rain had left the soil soft, and she burrowed away quickly through the lawn. I like to think she was happy. But it’s hard to tell with a worm.