I wont let them get me. Not now, not ever. I had to run, you see, I had to get away from what they were doing to me, to all of us there, at the Corporation. The Kayden people are evil people, a corporation under the wing of some underground government sect. They took me, along with a few select others; we were to be their research "participants". I think they chose people like us, because no one would miss us, no one would care if we went missing. We were a group of the wayward, a motley crew of thieves, military criminals, debauchers, and the transient. They took me off the streets, promised me warmth and shelter. I was in a bad way, and they knew it, they used me for it. I got away from them, by the Gods, in a laundry cart, and here and now I am, shuddering in the streets of Boston, trying not to be seen by anyone or anything,. I know I would be destroyed, their plans perhaps exposed by me already, they would assume, so I would have to be silenced. I am not safe now.
There is a terrible pain in my gut, a wrenching, I know that there is something inside me that is moving, part of the experiment I had to escape from. I can not bear to remember what they have done, it causes me to retreat into a far away place, where they can not touch me or inject me with serums. This thing within me steals my strength, my energy, drains me of the nourishment I take in. It steals away into my mind at night, probing with its alien little hands, whispering words that make no sense. I try to tell myself it is a virus, some strange biochemical drug being tested out on the unfortunate dregs of society. The thing inside me assures me it is not, it is something altogether different, something a little more terrifying. I can sense its smugness, all safe and warm in its little cocoon of my flesh, reaching its unseen tentacles into my brain and bending me to its will. There is some form of thought that this entity contains which leaks out into my system, carrying messages and emotions in my blood, in my cells, to the receptors in my brain. Visions fire off on the backs of my eyelids when I close my eyes, flashes of smoky images stealing a moment in the center of my mind, all random, some terrifying, other mundane and senseless.
I feel pain bright and raw, a streak of lightning in my belly. The sensation is so intense, the color red floods my eyesight, and I am left gasping for breath. Feed Me. It says. Another searing pain lacerates my insides, burning fire hot, boiling tears to my eyes. I tried to fight this in the Center, and found it much less painful to give in to its wishes. I knew I would get no nourishment, and the thing inside would become stronger. Eventually, it would kill me, and knowing this, I came to a certain conclusion. Some peace fell upon me, for a brief moment, washing clear the pain and memories so burdened on me, I had a heartbeat of joy. There is a way out, and a coincidence of fate brought the answer to me, for there it was, right there across the street. Over a door there hangs a pink flashing sign, LIQUOR. May not be Mandrake root, but enough alcohol should do it. I am going to have to block my mind from what I am about to do, as to not alert suspicion from the Other I carry It was already awake, needing its nourishment, I was going to have to be careful.
I begin to think of an old song I heard once, as I cross the street. "That'll be the day-ay-ay that I die." I smile at the irony of it, but focus on that thought to block the Other out. I imagine a hand in my mind, turning up the dial on a radio to full blast, and look straight at the neon pink sign. "THAT'LL BE THE DAY, " I am at the door, a gentle looking older woman is at the register, wearing a pink bath robe, her long gray hair smooth and flowing down her back. She smiles as I walk in, I know I must look frightful, for her expression changes and she looks alarmed. I don't want to scare her, I just want to ask her for help. She looks so frail to me, a little skeleton wrapped in skin and a furry robe, I wonder if she could help me at all.
"Excuse me, Miss?" her voice is foreign, and spoken with refinery. I try to speak, but my mouth is so dry, my tongue fat and useless. The edges of the room begin to fade, the thing within moves, a ripple of flesh quivers across my abdomen in its wake. I try to put my arm over myself to hide it, but I know the old woman has seen, her eyes took on a tarry look.
"What in God's name is wrong with you, miss?" she said, clutching at her bath robe. I cant even begin to think of the words to tell her, the room is going dim, and my hands wont stop shaking. I open my mouth to try to form words.
"Wu-uh" I choke forth, trying to get my words out. She starts across the room towards me, seeing now that I am trying to speak, her slipper clad feet move noiselessly as she rushes. She reaches her hands out before her as she walks, as if feeling the air before her will help her reach me more quickly.
"It's alright, Dear, take your time, let me help you." She puts a soft hand on me, scented with lotions that made her smell of cinnamon or baked cookies. She hands me a bottle of water, which I take, with eager gratitude, emptying half of it at once. My tongue loosens, I look her in the eye.
"Worm" I say. I don't know what else to call it, this monstrosity implanted in my body. I don't know what she will do or say, I just hope she does something before this whole room slips away into the void its disappearing into. She holds my eyes, hers now wide. I can see that although she looks at me, she is not seeing, I can almost hear her thoughts as she bites her lip in concentration.
"Come with me, " she says. I am surprised when she puts her arm underneath me and neatly lifts me to my feet. I am escorted across the room, and seated on a red chair in what appears to be an office. I notice little jars and pills along most of the walls, books and herbs placed here and there. A pestle and grinder take up one shelf, with bags of strange items neatly tied off and labeled. One of these such bags she takes and hands to me.
"Take some of this and place it under your tongue." She instructs me. "It will help you stay conscious when it gets into your system." I do not question her, but do as I am told. It is dry and bitter, with a numbing effect. I feel myself perk up a bit, the edges of blackness now stretching farther apart and out of sight. I feel myself begin to relax, no objections raised as of yet by the Other.
"You say you have a worm, " She says to me, in her odd fancy accent. "I do not know what sort of a worm is so big as to have caused what I have seen move in your belly, but I think I may be able to help you. Do you want me to help you?" She is very close to me now, I can feel the body heat coming off her skin, wafting out that lotioned, bakery smell. I am not sure how she could possibly help me, but if she gave me enough alcohol, maybe I would pass on in a drunken stupor and not suffer terribly. I wondered grimly if that is what she too, had in mind.
"Yes. Please, Ma'am." I reply, wondering when the Other would realize what we were speaking about. She nodded at me, gathering herself up, and busied herself looking around the room. She spoke to me with her back turned, hands searching as well as her eyes as she sought for something.
"When I was a younger lady, we had a drink in France that was popular for many things. It cured insomnia, writers used it for inspiration to court their muse, it was even used medicinally. It is a strong and rather potent drink, however, and has some strange effects, but I say it will help you with that worm you carry." She looked excited as she spoke, the tarry look gone from her eyes, replaced with purpose. "I have not sold any of this, or indeed drank any of it myself, its not legal in these parts, but I keep it, just in case... ahhh, there it is." She picks up an old dusty bottle, turning it in the light to be admired. A smile bloomed across her lips as she saw it was indeed the one she was looking for. "Here it is, then. Absinthe Nectar of the Gods, they say, the Green fairy. Sweetened with anise to take the edge off. We'll use that to poison the worm." She held forth the bottle to me, handing it over as if she were relinquishing a sacred object. I withdrew the cork and passed it under my nose, it smelled of wild black licorice and something not so pleasant underneath it.
Flashes came then, behind my eyelids, followed by violent surge of pain. My insides felt as if a hand were clenching my intestines, eviscerating me. I saw visions of myself when I closed my eyes against the pain, hunched over, blood drooling from my mouth. I heard the Other scream in rage in the back of my head, twisting in knowledge of what was about to be done to it. I pressed the heels of my hands to my eyes, trying to wash the visions away, still seeing myself vomit up blood, my body wracked by convulsions. It was threatening me., trying to scare me off, trying to tell me I wasn't even to dare, that I would die...
"Drink it!" The older woman urges me, grabbing my arm and sitting me back. "Drink it now, who ever you are, for the love of God, drink it!" I move my arm to put the bottle to my mouth, but pain sears me, freezes my arm. I feel something warm and wet fall down my face, and it takes me a moment to realize that I am crying. The bottle is pulled from my hand and placed to my lips, the old woman trying to pour it down my throat. It is sweet and bitter both at once, and it opens my lungs and chest, its taste shocking to my system. I work to swallow as much as I can, ignoring the thrashing in my abdomen, and the spillage down my neck and chest. I reach out with my mind, using my will and concentration to force myself to drink as much of it as I could. I can feel the Absinthe going down my throat, into my body. It leaves a cooling trail which radiates from my chest, into my arms, into my mind. Time seems to slow down, measured only by my heart beat... it seems to echo and reverberate everywhere at once. In my head, from the air, from my skin. I can see my heartbeat in everything, and everything in my heartbeat. My vision changed, my eyes no longer seeing things as I ever had before. I could feel the rushing of my blood, its escalation through my veins, the steady swish-swish, swish-swish of my heart pumping.Form and colors no longer make sense to me, all melt together at once. There is a humming noise in the back of it all, I think the worm is screaming.
"Let it happen" the woman says, her voice slowed down an heavy, words forming from her lips and floating through the air, little white letters levitating in space before her lips after she spoke them. "There is a poison in you, the worm cant handle it, but you can. It will pass from your system into its own, you will still get some effects. Ride with it." I can feel the worm retaliating, it begins to thrash, and my world becomes one single musical note of pain drawn out on the endless bow of some chaotic string. The woman is screaming incoherently now, words in a language I can not understand. Reality twists in a protean stream before me, I can not trust what my eyes and senses tell me. What I do not question is the severe pain, and the wrath of the creature inside me, whipping about and trying to crawl free of me in its death throws. I feel the link to its conscious mind sever, the link broken as it withdraws its talons from my viscera, ending the synergy. More hysterical loquaciousness from the woman with this magical serum, I try to focus on her, but my eyes are not their own. My muscles jump and flex beyond my control, adrenaline pumping through me, my inner organs trying desperately to abort the foreign entity inside of me. I can still sense its desperation, its desire to make me suffer as it was suffering now.
The woman is saying something, over and over, rhythmically, chanting. I found myself at a point where I was piqued on pain, and a pinhole through the darkness opened. From her words, a doorway formed, what once was empty air now all a stir, ripples like that through water vibrated within it, spreading forwards to define its circumference. It seemed to waver in the ether, a veil or portal of sorts being called forth from the woman's incantations. From inside this swirling, forming mass, came a bestial howl, a war cry of fury that squeezed fresh terror into my heart. Louder and louder the woman's words, more elaborate her movements and gesticulations.
Single flash of a vision, of traveling at an extreme speed, of possessing a form so chimerical as to boggle the intellect, as well as the structure of Reality itself. I sensed a rage in that form, an emotion strong and now building up to an explosive force. That rage is what drew it forwards, that need to strike and destroy. I felt those jowls open, the head thrown back in intensity, the issuing forth of a howling scream so repulsive as to make me wish I were deaf... and then: Nothing. The vision was no more.
Back again I found myself, on the floor, dizzy and confused, midsection a fist of furious agony. The thing inside of me was trying to crawl out from my bowels, to dislodge and fight without a host for survival. To do that, it needed to get out of me first, and it paid no thought to the anguish its travel caused me. It crept upwards, meaning to crawl out of my mouth. It was going to choke me to death, I realized, in horror. It would be so easy now, to just let my sanity go, to be free of the ramifications of what I was experiencing.
"Open your mouth!" The woman is now yelling into my ear, over the humming of my mind cacophony. I open my mouth to gasp some air, as the thing from the nexus tears through the threshold. I feel my mind shrink back, not wanting to comprehend. I am not here, I tell myself. I am far away and safe. None of this is real. Yet, I know it is. This dying parasitic infection the Kayden Corporation rooted in me is real. I grit my teeth to chase the memories away. Yes, I know its real. Despite the poison this woman has seduced me into imbibing, I know something unnatural is taking place, some deep wound has been torn in the fabric of Reality, and now it bleeds forth this emerging *thing* which is now borne of the portal.
Its bulk is wide and solid, taught muscles flexed under a leathery hide, which bristled with thick, thorn like hairs. It appears to have no neck, only a massive head with lupine jowls, teeth packed together, over lapping from its nonexistent lips. Broken bone and ligament jut out from the creatures shoulder blades, in mockery of wings. Membrane stretched over torn cartilage, dried out muscles decaying and clotted against the bone, retarding the movements of flapping it tries to make. The legs upon which it stands are bent backward at the joint, resembling those of a bird, ending in cruel, hefty hooves. Yet it is the creatures eyes which are most disturbing, those black, glistening boils of tar, shining and wet, moving. They seem to be pulsating within its head, two blackened blisters swelling with the force of its rage.
The dying thing within me inches its way up my esophagus, choking off my air, gagging me. Bile rises up as well, propelling it forwards. Dear God, its crawling into my mouth! I can taste the coppery burn of blood, feel the acidity of my juices sting me as I vomit forth a damned creature into the world. My eyes swim, I'm choking, I can't breathe! I feel it squirming up, stronger now, a wet and violating muscle squeezing itself free of me to die alone. I feel my jaws expand, about to crack, as another spasm of bile slips from my mouth, dropping what was inside of me for so long to the floor.
The old woman drops to her hands and knees, eyes rabid and concentrated on the dying fiend that is flapping like a dying fish in a pool of bloodied bile. I can not bear to look upon it, to know this thing was inside of me will damn me for sure. Yet I am compelled, and what I see sears my eyes and pierces my soul.
The hell thing resembled a black slug streaked with strings of scarlet, a bulbous mass devoid of form. It pulsates like the eyes of the Demon which stands watching, pulsating in rhythm with the death of the just born. The air hums with the sound of a heartbeat, the rhythm of blood pulsating, swish-swish, swish-swish. The eyes bulging and the hell creature swelling and deflating with each heart beat. Rhythm. Something breaks inside of me. Blackness swarms over me, its insect like fingers snapping consciousness out...
Light explodes into my vision. Time has been lost, spent in the deep void of limbo, safe and unthinking. I am exhausted, shaken, beaten. The light is etching itself onto my eyeballs, too bright. I smell ether and sickness, the aroma of scrubbed walls and bleached steel. The air feels numb and heavy, too full to move. My thoughts multiply in my head until they are insurmountable, feasting on themselves like little cannibals, morphing into more distraught and hellish convictions. My skull aches with the pressure, my thoughts telling me my skull is about to implode.
"Well done, Laura." My name. It's the old woman speaking, that strange foreign voice. How does she know my name? I try to sit up, but I find that I can not, for there are leather straps restraining me to the bed. In each arm, multiple plastic tubes feed an opalescent yellow liquid into my veins. Oh no, oh Gods, it's not over yet.