Creeping Cough

Avatar Author: Jim Stitzel I dabble a little in a lot of things -- writing, webcomics, gaming, photography, web design, music, and more. I'm a full-time code-wrangler and a part-time farmer with 40 acres, a lot of animals, and far, far too much to do. Read Bio

She had a cough. Deep. Wet. Ragged. They called it the creeping cough. Non-communicable to humans. Supposedly. And yet here she had it, and it was taking over her body. Already, fingers of the black fungus were reaching out from the corners of her mouth, which meant that the roots had long since buried themselves in her lungs.

Hence the cough. Hence the struggle for each subsequent, rasping breath.

She suspected the remainder of her life could now be numbered in terms of mere hours. That would have to be long enough. Long enough to make it mean something. Long enough to raise awareness in the others. Long enough to finally galvanize their sorry asses in action.


She staggered along the filthy alley, ignoring the off-world scavengers following her. They would get their fill of her soon enough.

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Oh no! This story doesn't have a prequel. Want to fill in the blanks and write one?


Comments (9 so far!)

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  1. Avatar HSAR

    Huh. Great re-imagining of a popular phrase.

  2. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    Yeah, I heard someone cough the other day, which brought to mind ‘creeping crud’ — and a story was born. Welcome to my brain. :)

  3. Avatar Escapist

    Love this. I love the inevitable, organic feel to it. Really really nice.

  4. Ahfl_icon THX 0477

    Dark and worrisome. I like how the sci-fi elements are merely suggested without some long-winded exposition to give them meaning.

  5. Avatar signed, poet

    Is this a prequel? Lovely to see imagery that is effective without being weighed down by adjectives. IT is elegant

  6. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    I honestly don’t know. Call it a potential seed for a story. I’m not sure if I’ll expand upon it, but that shouldn’t stop someone else from sequeling. :)

  7. Avatar Sanglorian

    Nicely done, I agree with Escapist that it feels organic.

  8. Avatar Jae

    This is disgusting, and my having such a visceral dislike of the idea can only mean it is brilliantly written.
    I also happen to feel like I’m slowly dying from a fever, which doesn’t help at all.

  9. Avatar JonB

    The whole thing does have a horrible, unsanitary feeling to it, from the wet, ragged cough to the filthy alley and the scavengers. I can almost feel the fungus threading through her lungs, turning her mouldy as an old slice of bread…