Pete had never been a slim man, so when he gained a few kilos he hardly noticed. A few more and he started to blame Christmas and New Years celebrations. Weirdly the only physical change was a swollen stomach, but that was not large enough to justify the extra kilos on the scales.

A few more weeks and even his most polite friends started expressing their concerns. He just slapped his expanding gut and joked about needed to run off some baby weight at the gym.

In private, he chose to ignore the growth. He hardly looked in the mirror, walking directly from the shower to cupboard to find some previously baggy clothes to wear.

He had convinced himself that it could not be too bad, as he had felt no pains, although he could swear he felt it shift sometimes. He refused to see a doctor, telling loved ones not to worry, that he would go if it got more serious. In his mind, the uncertainty that only flared up when he thought about it was better than living with the constant reminder of a death sentence that a doctor might give him.

The pain started below dawn. It was quick.

Pete lay in his bed, on his side. His stomach had burst, but he was unable to moved. He lay in a pool of his own cooling blood, paralysed by the pain. He looked at the phone on the nightstand, and impossible arm’s reach away. He heard skittering beneath the bed and saw a glimpse of something that stared back at him, before hiding again.

It had his eyes.

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