I’m always itchy when the eyes are watching. They peer at me through curtain folds, peek out from underneath rugs, ogle me from out of the backpacks of passersby on the sidewalk. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch them leering. The bigger ones are easy to find. I often miss the smaller ones. Just one blink – theirs or mine – and they’re gone. Poof. Blinking out from another little niche. I don’t need to see them to feel them, though. My fingernails slowly dig bloody crevices along my arms, my legs, my stomach, my ribs. Methodically, I scratch all around my body, addicted and disgusted by the painful relief it grants me. When my skin becomes too raw and the stinging pain overcomes any sense of satisfaction, I slap and pull at it instead. Pinching fingerfuls of flesh at a time, I yank it back and forth in a mockery of the itching I desire.
At night, my dreams are plagued with images of ripping my skin clean off of the tendon and muscle it protectively envelops. Sharp-toothed, lipless grins join the watchful eyes. Slavering tongues reach out for a taste. In my nightmares, the eyes and mouths don’t disappear. Insatiable, they multiply, until they’re all my world consists of: them, their hunger, and the pain. If I’m lucky, I wake up.
Otherwise, I go to town ripping apart the rest of my body, feeding myself piece by piece to my demanding audience. It only ends when I’ve nothing left to offer.
Eventually, the eyes will wander away. One by one, they will peter out of my presence. Perhaps they go to feast off some other pour soul. The itching will gradually subside. Soap and water always sting but ointment and salve will bring cooling peace. I will be able to go about my day again, at least until the next time, when my skin is pink and sensitive and fresh for destruction. Relief will come. Right now, I’m still carving tracks into my body. For I’m always itchy when the eyes are watching.
August Blaine Centauri, @hemlockrocksandsocks on insta, is a trickster in a human’s body. Thon is a proud weirdo. In thon spare time, Blaine practices piano, lifts weights, and spars in Muay Thai.