I’m never going to complain about working at a daycare, it really is my dream job. I love working with kids and seeing how they grow up, when they learn to talk and walk, when they learn to string together sentences… It’s the best.
However, there are some kids that drive me up the wall.
“Ow! Parker, you don’t bite people!”
The hardheaded two year old responded by throwing a block at my head, which I barely ducked as I ran into the bathroom. Parker had been a handful all day, he’d already bitten two of the other children and had kicked Tara in the shin when she managed to drag him away from a quarrel he’d been right in the middle of.
I bit back any swearing as I ran my finger under the tap. Jesus Christ, kids can really bite harder than you think, he’d managed to draw blood. After slapping a band aid on the bite and calling it a day, I headed back out to see that Parker was sulking in the corner and Tara was on the phone.
When she hung up, she turned and grimaced. “How bad did he get you?” She asked.
“Drew blood. Nothing a band aid can’t fix.” I nodded at the phone. “Who were you calling?”
“Parker’s mom.” Tara shook her head and I saw her fingers twitch toward her bag, she might’ve claimed to have kicked her smoking habit but after a rough day she would still vanish for a bit when it just got too much. “Honestly, Parker’s a little monster today and it’s getting to the point where I am not letting him near the other kids. After he took a piece of your skin he went back to hitting poor Brittany. I managed to calm her down with a juice box but… wow, this is not a good day for the lil guy.”
“Did his mom pick up?”
Tara shook her head. “Got sent to voicemail. Just keep an eye on Parker. I’ll manage the other rugrats, hey, at least it’s Friday?” She grinned and weaved over to the TV, loudly offering to put on Spongebob. That got the attention of about three quarters of the kids, the indifferent ones were too young to be enthralled by the cartoon or they were napping.
I saw Parker start to scoot out of his corner and I tutted my tongue. “Parker, ten more minutes in the corner, then we’re going to apologize to everyone you bit,” I said, pushing his chair back into the corner.
Parker glared and for a brief second I was nervous around the kid. Good thing too, because he lunged for me again. This time I managed to shove his ass back in the chair, maybe I was a little rough but this kid was going for my throat. “Stop it! What is up today, Parker?” Sure, he was a rambunctious kiddo, but no more than any other toddler. This was actually concerning.
Parker just turned and sat back down on his chair, crossing his arms and pouting. I sighed.
“Fine. Ten more minutes, buddy.”
Ten more minutes and before I could let him out of his corner his mom showed up. Rita looked as distracted as always, she was still chatting on her phone as she signed Parker out for the day. I tried talking to her about Parker’s behavior but she blew me off, saying, “He’s just going through a phase,” before going back to her conversation on the phone. Without so much as an apology or an explanation she grabbed her son by the shoulder and dragged him off.
That night I headed home, filled my bathtub, tossed in my most glittery bathbomb, lit some candles, turned on some music, and prepped for a night of relaxation. I deserved it.
About a half hour of soaking, I felt the bandaid I slipped on come loose and fall off. I sighed and stepped out of the tub, grabbing a towel to dry off.
I came to a dead halt when I saw my finger was turning black.
At first I thought it was a trick of the candle light, but flipping on the light confirmed my initial inspection- the bite mark had turned completely black, while veins running down my finger had began to darken. I wouldn’t have known anything was wrong otherwise, it hadn’t gone numb or anything. It was just black.
I grabbed my phone and dialed Tara’s number while I peeled off the scab, squeezing out the wound into the sink.
“I’m on a date, this better be good,” Tara grumbled when she picked up.
“Yeah, it’s good, Tara. Can you help me call the other parents of the kids that Parker bit? Because my wound is… kinda fucking gross…” I shivered as gray goop dripped into the sink, the same consistency of pus. “I’m probably going to the doctor in the morning, I think it’s an infection.”
“I mean, I’m not surprised. Kid’s mouths are actually the worst,” I could hear Tara shudder, “So many germs.”
I grimaced as more gray goop splashed off the faucet. “You’re telling me. I’ll call Brittany’s dad, you can call Logan’s? Just tell them to check the bites and see if they’re infected too. Then get back to your date, meanwhile I have a date with a needle as I lance this bitch.”
“Aaaand just like that, I’m going to be thinking about your gross pus all night. Thanks for killing the mood.”
I hung up. I wasn’t seriously going to lance the wound, squeezing it seemed to do the job well enough. It hurt like a bitch though. I gritted my teeth before I turned on the sink, rinsing the wound off and grabbing some Neosporin out of the cabinet.
A new bandaid later and I was right as rain. I checked my list of parent’s numbers and texted Brittany’s mother about the biting incident and to make sure that her daughter was all right before I headed to bed. I was drained, mentally and physically, from a rough day at work.
I rolled over the next morning to find seven missed calls from Tara and that the infection had spread, to put it lightly.
I screamed when I reached for my phone and saw that my right hand looked like I’d dipped it into black ink. If I wasn’t awake then, I was now as I shot up and grabbed onto my hand with my good one. I wiggled my fingers but it was like wiggling them through molasses, each movement sluggish and almost unresponsive. My entire hand was completely numb, no matter how much I poked it there was no response.
I picked up the phone and saw the missed calls, immediately calling Tara back.
“Oh my god, where were you?!” Tara screeched nearly loud enough to pop my eardrum.
“Sleeping! Like a normal person!” I raised my hand in front my eyes, still shocked about what I was seeing. “What happened-”
“Go to the fucking hospital, right now.” I could hear Tara flick her lighter. “I’m serious, how bad are you?”
I swallowed. “… Bad. Let’s just say it’s bad.”
“I… oh Jesus fucking Christ,” Tara’s voice cracked, “I… I had a bad feeling about Logan when I called his parents and they didn’t pick up. So Danny and I went to his house, just to make sure everything was okay, I mean, I live right on his block anyway… I knew it wasn’t when I saw that all the lights were on and it was already past eleven. His house is in bed by ten, at the latest. So I went up to the front door and knocked. I didn’t get an answer… so I walked in.”
My heart sank as I heard Tara start to cry. Tara never cried.
“Everyone was dead. Black goo was everywhere, and his dad was just laying in a puddle of that and blood. I saw Logan just sitting next to his toys and he didn’t look right, like… at all. I’m not fucking kidding, he looked like a corpse stacking toy blocks. He looked up at me and his eyes were just black. He grinned and his mouth was all bloody… I ran out of there screaming. I got into the car just before that little ankle biter launched himself at the window. It cracked and I screamed at Danny to just drive, drive as fucking as he could… I don’t know if we ran that little fucker over or not but I genuinely thought you might be dead.”
I already had thrown on a bathrobe and was walking out the door. “I’m going to the emergency room right now, Tara. What happened after that? Did you tell somebody?”
“No shit we told somebody!” Tara sobbed. “We… we’re at the police station still. Logan’s not the only family who has this happening to them. Brittany’s mom was found hiding in the bathroom as Brittany was clawing at the door and screaming like a wild animal. Brittany’s in the hospital right now and she’s unresponsive. Please, please just get help as fast as you can.”
I’m in the hospital now. I think they’re going to try to stop this from spreading further by taking my arm. The black’s crawled up past my elbow now, I swear it’s gained an inch every time I look to check. Across the hall from me is Parker, while his mom screams that he’s fine and that he’s just going through a phase. She claims she’s going to sue them all but I’m pretty sure she’ll be the one buried in lawsuits.
I managed to catch a glimpse of the little shit though.
He seems to be just like every other little kid… except that he’s still a biter. I think I saw him take a chunk out of the nurse’s arm before the door closed.