Patient Zero

I don’t know what I just squished my right foot into. I expect from the right leg is where the tentacles will begin to enter my torso when it begins to spread.

I let the mutt out and on the way to make a deposit in the back yard, she managed to shake off her little LED glowstick. It’s snowing. It’s cold. I have others and they are cheap; I was going to abandon him out there until spring.

But I could see him, sitting atop the fresh snow, in the zero degree air, still bravely glowing.

"Don’t leave me, man."

"Never leave a man behind!"

"I’m dyyyyiiinnng… . . .. .

Shit, I couldn’t leave out there like that, so I pulled out these big rubber boots from the garage to begin my mission out into the cold yard.

A second after I put my right foot in the boot, I decided it felt very cold, even for having been sitting in the frigid garage.

Five seconds after I put my right foot in, I decided it felt very wet.

Ten seconds later and I decided "Omyfuckingshit gotta get this fucking boot off of me. What the fuck is that?!?"

I pulled out this sock.

This is what I could see down the boot.

It smells oily.

These boots been sitting in the same spot since we moved into the new house six months ago, folded over tightly enough that I don’t think anything bigger than an insect could have made its way in or out.

They previously sat in my even more disorganized garage at the old house. I could have spilled in some oil or something at some point… but what fluid is this color of bright red? Transmission fluid? I don’t know. I certainly don’t remember working with any such.

Did a mouse make his home in my boot previously, and then in the move get trapped… and this is his decomposing remains, partially preserved by the lack of air?

Am I in a zombie flick, and I’ve just infected myself with some ancient or alien parasite? Or perhaps a genetically engineered weapon gone amok from some government lab? Either way, I’m a goner.

They’re still back in the same place in the garage (now with included sock) if you want to take a look the next time you’re in the area. It would be nice to know what in the hell this is. If you have a plausible hypothesis, please speak up.

Coda

By the time I got a different set of boots on (with shoelaces eaten off; thanks, Marley; nice touch) and peered back out the back window, the red glow was gone.

Private McLighty was no more.