Toxic Shock by Alex Creece

First Aid 1.01: do not remove an embedded object yourself.

Even after the obligatory hospital visit, I was never fully cleansed of each person I had loved.

Some were ticks; their heads burrowed deeply into my skin, reaching to guzzle at an already depleted bloodstream. Others were like a foreign object left by a careless surgeon; a sloppy, insidious remnant of cosmetic fallacy.

I was sickly and sour with lemon-fresh swabs and Lyme disease. With each love lost, their slow-release toxin would annex its territory within my flesh, blotching my skin with a dappled necrosis.

I was not my own.

about the author:

Alex Creece enjoys building Lego monstrosities and going on adventures with a dog named Danzig. She functions on a highly-concentrated fuel of defeat and determination. Some of her role models include the deep-space heroine Nichelle Nichols, the fiendish fossil Skeletor, and the automaton extraordinaire Cody Drew. Sometimes she shares goofy-sounding words and/or wisecracks at