Janice didn’t know when it first started. Who really remembers the first scab they picked? But Janice was different. Her fingernails were perfectly manicured for the job, not from any special cosmetic attention, but from a simple attention to detail as she chewed and licked at her cuticles. She had the care and attentiveness of a master gardener, a shaper of the human bonsai of her own flesh.

Her slender fingers caressed each bump, each crevice… sniffing, seeking, exploring. When she closed her eyes, she imagined she could even taste with them. Her tongue rolled over imagined platelets and dust. Sorted cells from detritus. Her nail slipped under a crack, slow and shy. Hello, she said. The nail flexed, the crack widened— beautiful and perfect. The mass lifted, cupped in a bowl of keratin and moistened with saliva. More fingers deftly smoothed over the flesh left behind.

Freed from the flesh of her body, she examined it first with one pale eye, then the other. It was the last piece of her nose.

Nightmare Fuel 2016, Day 12

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