Carol was in the shower when she discovered the words written on her skin. They were on her side beneath her arm, written in black sharpie.

Dirty cooze.

She stood there, staring at it, her face scrunched up in shock and confusion. She wasn’t quite done in the shower but she rinsed off, stepped out, and toweled off. She stood in front of the mirror and wiped off the steam. She raised her arm, looking at the words.

What the fuck?

She let her towel drop and rotated, looking her body over in the mirror. There were no other marks. Just the two, a glaring black insult on her side. She picked up a hand mirror and doubled the reflection, so they were not backwards and she could read it more easily. The handwriting was blocky, written in all caps, and she didn’t recognize it.

Her first thoughts were that one of the kids did it. Michael was thirteen and they’d caught him looking at porn online more than once already. But that was a far cry from sneaking into your mother’s room at night and doing something like this. Not to mention, in typical father and son fashion, most of his conflict was with Martin. Her husband and eldest had been at it like cats and dogs lately. As a result, he’d often come to her in tears, looking for comfort. Their relationship was good. She couldn’t see him doing this. 

Brooke was ten and even less likely a suspect. She spent most nights at volleyball practice and slept like a log from all the exercise. And, again, there wasn’t any trouble between them. She was a good girl. She didn’t even consider her youngest, Jake. At seven she doubted he’d ever even heard the word cooze. Not to mention he couldn’t write that well.

So that left Martin? The thought, as revolting as it was, stuck in her head. Could her husband have done this? It was a difficult thought to consider, nearly impossible to believe. She stepped back into the shower, mulling it over. She scrubbed away at the words as best she could. It was in a difficult spot to apply enough pressure to erase the marker. She managed to rub it into a faded shadow of itself. The area around it was red and irritated. 

Annoyed that she couldn’t remove it off entirely she considered calling Martin in, showing him, and asking for help. But she didn’t. He hadn’t done it. Of course he wouldn’t have done it. But something held her back.


Ugly words, terrible insults, appearing on women’s skin. Who’s behind it, and what happens when the words carve deeper and deeper?

A chilling horror story carved in flesh; The Estima Rub. Sign up to read the whole thing.