Stop bugging me!

My bite grew into my worst nightmare...

Published by: Laura Hinton
Published on: 1st November 2010

The air felt thick and heavy as I dropped my rucksack on the ground. That thing was getting heavy, although I couldn’t complain, not when I was admiring the River Manu as it snaked through the Amazon rainforest in Peru.
I listened to the hum of mosquitoes mixed with the cry of squawking parrots overhead.
‘Isn’t it beautiful?’ breathed my hubby Dave, 45, reading my mind. 
‘It sure is,’ I laughed, swatting a mosquito off my face. ‘But the bugs won’t leave me alone… look at my legs!’ Swollen, red lumps dotted them – I’d been eaten alive!
‘The girls at work thought we were crazy coming here,’ I snorted. ‘They were telling me all sorts of horror stories about killer spiders and creepy-crawlies jumping up your… bits.’
‘Don’t be silly,’ Dave laughed.
Even though the little biters were irritating, I didn’t let them ruin my holiday. On the flight  home, though, one bite on my right cheek really started to burn. It felt like the skin around it was teeming with ants, all nipping at me.
Running my finger over the lump, close to my ear, it felt hot…and wet. ‘What the…?’ I muttered, hunting in my bag for my mirror.
This bite felt like it was mutating into something, like in the film Alien that grows in slimy cocoons.
Oh God, hadn’t my mates at work said something like this would…
‘Yuck!’ I screeched, as it came into focus. Yellowy-brown pus was oozing out of the swollen red bite.
‘I’ll be honest, it’s not a pretty sight,’ Dave winced, as I wiped the goo away with a tissue.
‘Thanks for the sympathy,’ I huffed, trying to ignore the pain.
For the next few days, we stayed at Dave’s parents’ house in Hertfordshire, but the bite didn’t go down.
Concerned, I went to the doctor.
‘Your bite’s infected,’ he said, handing me an antiseptic cream. ‘Use this. It’ll take a couple of days, but it’ll start going down.’
You know how it is, though – like a scab you can’t resist picking, I couldn’t help having a poke about with my bite. Back home, I got up close to a mirror and flicked the bite with my thumb, expecting pus to spurt out. Instead…
Had I just seen… No, no it couldn’t be…
Still I could have sworn I’d just seen something black poke its head out, before sucking itself back in with a plop.
Oh my God!
‘Dave!’ I screamed, running into the lounge.
I felt bile rushing into my mouth. Taking gulps of air, I tried to calm down. But I was in such a panic, I couldn’t get the words out. ‘I… just… there’s something…!’ I squealed.
‘What?! What’s happened?!’ Dave leaped to his feet.
‘There’s something in there,’ I cried, frantically pointing at my mosquito bite.
He giggled – actually giggled! ‘Don’t be silly, there’s nothing there,’ he grinned. ‘You’ve seen way too many
sci-fi movies.’
I blushed, realising how silly I was being. All my workmates’ talk of killer spiders had gone to my head!
‘Maybe I am overreacting,’ I mumbled, settling down to watch EastEnders.
Moments later, though, there was a strange buzzing sound.
‘What is that?’ I asked Dave, looking about the room. ‘Is there a fly caught in my hair?’
‘No…’ he said, his eyes rolling.
The pesky noise didn’t go away, though. I kept looking over my shoulder, but saw nothing. I put my fingers in my ears… I could still hear it. Almost as if the noise was inside my head.
That night, I tossed and turned as the buzzing continued. Then it was joined by a strange clicking – it was like someone stomping around my head in hobnail boots.
Worried, I went back to my doctor. This time, he immediately sent me to the tropical disease unit at the hospital. A consultant dug around, peering closely. ‘I think a mosquito egg has hatched into a maggot in the bite wound,’ he said. ‘That’s probably what you saw poking out.’
I felt the blood drain from my face. Everything around me stopped as I slowly took in what he was saying. Something was living in my face!
A disgusting creepy-crawlie was growing inside me. My stomach lurched. ‘And the buzzing and clicking?’ I gulped.
‘The maggot is eating your flesh,’ added the consultant, wrinkling his nose in sympathy. ‘That’s what you can hear.’
‘Get it out!’ I screamed.
‘It’s fine, they’ll sort it out,’ Dave said, trying to calm me. But I was in a right state at the thought of this thing burrowed deep inside my face.
Hours later, I winced in pain as the surgeon scraped around in my cheek with a pair of tweezers.
‘They’re just trying to get a grip on it, but…’ Dave let out a yelp. ‘Oh God, it’s crawling back in!’
‘Eugh!’ I whined.
‘Erm… no, it’s okay,’ he gasped. But I knew he was lying as his grip on my hand got tighter and sweatier.
Suddenly, he jumped up, knocking back his chair. 
‘I think I’m going to be sick,’ he groaned, running out of the room.
The problem was that no matter how hard the doctors tried, my cheeky little friend kept wriggling out of their grasp.
Forty minutes later and they came up with another plan. They’d suffocate the blighter!
‘We’ll make a small cut with the scalpel and when it scabs over, the maggot’s air supply will be blocked,’ the surgeon said.
I’d be walking around with a dead body in my face! I guess a dead bug was better than a live one.
Back home, in bed that night, I was in agony, though. I felt the maggot’s every last breath and wiggle, as it desperately tried to break out of my skin!
In the morning, I knew straight away it was dead. ‘I can’t feel a thing,’ I smiled, feeling positive for the first time in weeks.
Later that day, with me under general anaesthetic, the dead bug, an inch long by now, was removed.
I felt strangely sorry for the poor thing – until the doctor told me if the maggot had stayed there any longer, it would have turned into a botfly and flown out of my face!
The alien invasion of my cheek is just a horrible memory. But, as you can imagine, my workmates – with their creepy stories – never let it go.
Teresa Hill, 44, Brighton, East Sussex