PESTS by Sadye Teiser

At first I noticed a small hole in my blue scarf; Shelley found bug-sized bites taken out of her favorite sweater. But we could deal with a few moths. It was our first apartment, right out of college.

After a week we noticed that the ends of the curtains were frayed, bitten.

And then more unusual things: the strap of my leather purse, gnawed through; half an orange, missing; a chunk taken out of our wall.

There was a man who would come in every day, dressed in all white, and ask us to get a room with him.

One night I was sure I could hear tiny teeth devouring my mattress.

The bugs are inside me, Shelley said.

I laughed nervously but she looked at me, straight-lipped, as though I was a swarm of bugs myself.

We ran all our possessions through the dryer. When we were done, we shook our belongings out on the sidewalk, waiting for the dead bugs to fall out. Nothing.

Soon most of our clothes were threadbare.

This is too much, Shelley said, our last night in the apartment.

She held out her hand, and on the loose patch of skin between her thumb and index finger was a tiny hole. I could see straight through it.


Sadye Teiser will graduate from UNC Wilmington's MFA program in the spring of 2013. She earned her BA from Princeton University and is from New York City. She is currently at work on her first novel.

Art: Nadia Haji Omar,
Harriet, 2013, digital print, 16 x 20 inches.
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