PARASITE: Lex Talionis

Link to part two.

PUBLIC HEALTH INFORMATION: 

The following are accounts from what we believe is the Primary Case in a parasitic epidemic.

Emma:

I have to write this down because then it gives credence to this hell. I am thankful for the protection and treatment Public Health afforded me, but most of all, I am thankful for Lucie. Had she not been my rock, I would most likely be dead by now.

You’re going to need some backstory. My apologies if this bores you, but it’s important you know how we got here.

I’ve known since I was only ten years old, that I never wanted children. Two things drew me to that decision, one was the fact that I was traumatised by a photo of a woman giving birth that my idiot stepfather showed me when I was far too young. The other was because my childhood was shit enough to know that I never wanted to inflict that on someone else, or end up with the responsibility of raising other human beings. The idea of being pregnant sickened me. I don’t hate kids by the way, I get along with them perfectly well, in fact they tend to stick to me like glue, and I’m happy to be around them. It’s just I’ve never wanted any. I’ve never once changed my mind, but I get the perpetual bullshit from people about changing my mind. It pisses me off, my role in life is not to be a fucking gestational unit.

It seemed my now ex boyfriend had other ideas, however. I’ve always made it clear children were not on my agenda. He always smirked at me and told me biology would alter my perception, but I have always been adamant that I don’t want any, and I’m certainly not going to have any to please someone else. I can’t believe I had to say that to a doctor when speaking to them about contraception, I’ve been pleading for tubal ligation since forever, but nobody will refer me because I might change my mind. It’s fucking infuriating not being afforded bodily autonomy, I should be able to make these decisions for myself.

So, my ex boyfriend. His name is Dan. I thought he’d accepted that children weren’t going to be a thing for me. I really did. We’d been together five years when he asked me to marry him, and given that everything else was happy in our lives and we were stable financially, I said yes. I felt lucky after the childhood I’d endured and was all set to enjoy what would hopefully be the rest of my life with a man who I felt safe with, for the most part.

I could not have been more wrong.

A little more background on my health here. I can’t take hormonal contraception, because it does terrible, awful things to my body. It doesn’t just make me a little moody, it fucks me over in ways that turn me into a dysfunctional mess that can’t even leave the house. I’ve tried so many things, pills, mini pills, patches, injections, IUDs, anything new and different that has hormones in it with a hope of keeping my uterus baby free, I’ve tried it. The same thing happens every time. It begins with blinding headaches that make me vomit explosively. My skin breaks out in the most painful, hideous boils that make me look like a plague victim. My eyesight blurs because of the headaches, and no amount of painkillers, over the counter or prescribed will take the pain away. The nausea is enough to knock me over, but it’s a multitude of things. I can cope with vomiting because you get that temporary reprieve from feeling nauseous, but it builds again so quickly and I often can’t stand up.

The worst was when I had the depo shot. Not only did I battle crippling headaches, horribly painful breakouts and profuse vomiting, but every time I was intimate with my partner during the few times I felt guilty for not being sexual with him, when he finally managed to make me climax, the pain immediately after was excruciating. I’d never felt anything like that before. It was like the muscles inside me were screwed up into a hard ball, causing me deep internal uterine pain that made me break out into cold sweats and drain all colour from my body. Not only did the shot ruin me in a non sexual way, but it took away any option of sexual pleasure for the duration it was in my system. Problem is, once you’ve had the shot, it’s in your system for three months. Even after it wears off, it can take a good while for any of the nasty side effects to leave you.  I was miserable for so long after trying that, and realising that hormonal contraception was just not an option for me, it meant that I was always super careful about using condoms.

The problem with condoms, is that they break, come loose, or your wanker of an ex boyfriend takes it off secretly during sex.  How would he do that without me knowing, you ask? Well it’s easy, depending on the position you’re in. He’s one of those arseholes who doesn’t like the feeling of a condom, and in the throes of sex I guess I don’t always notice. The first couple of times it happened, he told me they broke which is why I felt that slight warmth inside me. He’d take it off and wrap it in toilet paper, and I trusted him so I didn’t check. Why would I need to? If he said it had broken, I believed him. He tried it a third time and I was like okay you know what? Let me look. He was hesitant and I had to snatch it from him, to find it was entirely intact. The argument that ensued after left us not speaking for three days, and I refused to let him touch me at all for WEEKS. Of course he gave me the whole apologetic shit, romanced me a bit and bought me some presents to try and win me over, but I was still reluctant. When I finally let him touch me again, I insisted that we played in a position where I could see what was going on, and he indulged me to lull me into a false sense of security. I stupidly thought he’d finally got it, and that I didn’t have to worry any more.

Again, I could not have been more wrong.

His fuck up was because he’d thrown it on the floor next to the bed, and as he blew his load inside me, I looked back at him and it caught my eye.  This is how it went:

“WHAT THE FUCK DAN?!” I screamed at him.

“Oh come ON babe you know I don’t like them, and it’s been a while.” He whined at me.

“You’re a fucking shitbeast. You know I can’t take anything for this, for once in your life can you just not think about your own fucking satisfaction?”

At that point, I tore myself angrily out of bed, and went straight into the bathroom locking the door. I turned the shower on, crouching down on the tiles to try and squeeze his mess out of myself as quickly as possible. I delved with my fingers, swearing under my breath and not caring that the hot stream of water was scalding the skin on my back. I was absolutely incandescent with rage. Dan banged on the door and demanded to be let in so he could take a piss, but I was so fucking furious that yelled at him to go fuck himself, and he could suffer. When I’d cleaned myself up, I sat on the floor of the shower with my knees hitched up to my chest, crying and wondering why the fuck he could be so selfish to do this to me. I’d have to wait until my period was late, and I wasn’t due for another couple of weeks. All I could think about was how he’d lied to me with promising he’d never do that to me again, especially knowing I never wanted to have children, and how I’d absolutely 100% seek a termination if I were ever to fall pregnant.

We fought about that too, he was NOT happy that I’d terminate without his permission. I reminded him that he does not have control over me or my body, and that if I wanted an abortion, I’d damned well have one. As you might have figured out, he could be a real fucking prick.

When I finally left the bathroom, he wasn’t even in the house. The utter bastard had pissed in a PINT GLASS and left it on the counter for me to find. I was absolutely DONE with this crap, and as much as it hurt to do, I gathered a few things, a few changes of clothes and called my best friend, Lucie. I burst into tears the moment she answered, and she just told me to get over there, and that I could explain the upset was when I arrived.

Dan had taken the car, and so I called a taxi because I really wasn’t in the mood to use a bus to get there. Half an hour later, Lucie opened the door and I crumpled all over her and burst into tears all over again. My explanation was racked with sobs and nose wiping, and her face was a combination of rage and concern because she’d seen first hand what hormonal birth control did to me, and also because she was seriously pissed off with Dan for being such an utter BASTARD.

“Fucking hell love, what a complete fucking wanker. I had no idea he was like that.” She said bitterly.

I asked her if I could crash for a few days, and being the utter angel that she was, she told me I could stay as long as I wanted. Of course my phone started buzzing, and it was Dan probably wondering where the fuck I was. I chose to ignore the call, putting it on silent, along with switching off the vibration. I decided he could stew, I was having none of it.

Lucie being her generous self, took good care of me. I’d forgotten to eat after all the bullshit, and so when she came in with a pile of tea and biscuits, I’d wolfed a fair few down before the growling in my stomach calmed down. She asked me if I wanted to sleep next to her, or take the sofa. I told her I’d take the sofa, because I wouldn’t want to keep her awake if all I was going to do was cry. She gently told me that it didn’t matter if I kept her awake, she wasn’t at work tomorrow and she would be happy to hold me and let me cry it out with her for as long as I needed. She insisted that I sleep next to her for the night, this is why she is my best friend. Lucie was the most kind hearted and generous person I’d ever met in my life. Nothing was too much for her, and she would drop everything to go to your aid if you needed her, no matter what the problem was.

I had a fitful night of sleep which was to be expected, but the really grim stuff didn’t happen for another month.

As I feared, I was late. My periods were like clockwork. I was so paranoid about pregnancy, that I tracked my periods religiously using a diary as I was growing up, and then switched to an app on my phone which allowed me to access my cycle information more readily, and share it with my doctor. The day I was supposed to bleed came and went. I tried to cut myself some slack because I was stressed as all fuck, and that can have an impact. Dan had been calling me and leaving message after message on my voicemail, text after text begging and pleading for me to go back. I blanked him completely. I’d gone back home to collect more things so that I could stay with Lucie for longer, and I left him a note to tell him we were done. I knew he’d be at work, so I’d asked for a couple of days from my boss who was fortunately, very understanding.

“Sure thing, petal.  Take the whole week, you’ve more than earned it”He said to me gently.

Later on that evening, Lucie came home with some boxes from the chemist. I didn’t even have to ask what they were, I knew she’d been and grabbed some pregnancy tests. Not some cheap ones, but those expensive digital ones that don’t leave you wondering. She’d got me four, just in case I felt the need to be absolutely sure. I genuinely didn’t know what I’d done to deserve her, but I was grateful for her now more than ever. I was now a week late, my fingernails were practically non existent, and it was hard for me to even sit still.

“Come on chick. We need to do this”, Lucie said softly.

Hunkering down on the loo, sticking a test between my legs, and waiting for my stream to soak it through, was the easy part. Waiting those few minutes was fucking GODAWFUL.  You can probably figure out for yourselves what the result was. I was pregnant, and I was fucking terrified.

“I can’t do this”, I told her whilst sobbing my heart out for the billionth time. “I can’t have a baby, especially HIS baby, I can’t do it. I need to be rid of it.”

Lucie knew my position on having children, and in true Florence Nightingale style, already had a plan in place for this. She’d gotten me all the clinic details and phone numbers I needed, and swore wholeheartedly that she’d be there with me for the duration. I sobbed all night, and dutifully, she held me and mopped me up as I needed. The next day, I woke up feeling numb, which quickly turned to rage when yet another text from Dan came through, begging me for a coffee later on that day.

I responded and told him to fuck off, along with telling him I was pregnant because of his bullshit. I told him never to contact me again, or else I’d be going to court for a restraining order. He fell silent for a bit but later on, another text came through to tell me I’d better not abort, because it was HIS child and he had a right to influence my decision. This time, Lucie texted him and told him to back the fuck off, because she wasn’t having any of his bullshit. He was actually afraid of Lucie, because she was a very naturally confident and assertive woman, whereas I was quite compliant and submissive, for the most part. He had no idea what to do with himself around a woman with such a strong manner about her.

I had an appointment the following week with the doctor, and my emotions were a multitude of terrified, disgusted, and tearful rage. I couldn’t sleep properly, I kept having the same nightmare of Dan tossing the condom away, and my screaming at him after. I’d wake up fighting for breath, cold sweats soaking my skin. I was so fucking ANGRY at him, but I missed him terribly at the same time. Just because I was pissed off with him, didn’t mean I’d fallen out of love. My hormones were all over the place what with being pregnant, and I was entirely emotionally shot. I could go from feeling calm, to numb, to a full on meltdown with sobbing befitting that of a toddler.

Tuesday morning, 09:30am at the clinic. I was anxious as all fuck of course, and Lucie held my hand tightly the whole time. They made me take another test to confirm my pregnancy, and talked me through my options. I told them I was terrified of going under anaesthesia, but because I was so early, I could take mifepristone and misoprostol. The nurse explained the way that worked, but because I was so hypersensitive to hormonal birth control, I was worried about the effect this stuff would have on me afterwards. My inner monologue just yelled at me to take it, because it was much better than being pregnant, and especially being pregnant at the hands of such a monumental shit. Giving Lucie a tearful glance, I agreed to the pill method. She promised to stay with me throughout the entire ordeal, and after listening to the advice from the nurse, I decided the best place for me to go through with it, was at the hospital. I could have done it back at Lucie’s place of course, but I was terrified something would go wrong, or maybe that I couldn’t handle the pain and might need help.

It was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I’m not going to go into detail.

I know you’re probably bored of listening to me give you the backstory at this point, but stories make no sense unless you have all the information.

A week later, I couldn’t stop vomiting. I was sipping cool water just to give my stomach something to bring up, because the pain from empty heaving left my body feeling like I’d been ripped inside out. I was crying with every retching moment, and I couldn’t bear the thought of eating anything. I looked ashen and grey. My hair was lank and greasy. My head felt like it was made of lead. I was shaking horribly, I couldn’t get warm, and I was bloated up to hell. Lucie called into work for me to explain what was happening to my boss, who was very fortunately incredibly understanding.

Lacking nutrients and battling dehydration, I drifted in and out of consciousness. There was a vague recollection of a doctor standing next to Lucie over me, with hushed but deeply concerned conversation. The next time I came round, I was in a hospital bed hooked up to a drip. My stomach was still slightly distended, and I was told I was being kept in for observation for a couple of days until I was able to eat something solid without vomiting. One of the nurses looked at me and said my condition was almost like morning sickness, except it was constant. I weakly laughed and told her that was impossible, considering I’d just had an abortion, but she already knew that of course.

Dan:

I am writing this from hospital in the hopes that someone will read it and realise I AM NOT FUCKING CRAZY. I might be hopped up on painkillers, BUT I AM 100% SANE. I will begin with describing events up to my hospitalisation.

ENTRY ONE:

Ohgod, I felt really fucking ILL. Not just slightly under the weather ill, but legitimately cripplingly unwell.

I’d been battling nausea and projectile vomiting for the last few days. Calling in sick to work couldn’t possibly have happened at a worse time, mainly because of an account we were about to score that was worth MILLIONS. My boss was bloody furious, and said if we lost the account, he’d going to take it out of my corporate hide. I couldn’t argue with him, but stupidly and sarcastically asked him if he wanted me to come in and vomit all over the executives instead? His antisocial response was to tell me to stop being a a smart-arsed shitsock, and then he hung up.

Pressing down on the cold tiled bathroom floor after the call, felt oddly good against my burning skin. My stomach was swollen and distended, in the same way it might behave when you have food poisoning, and you’re filled up with noxious gas and a roiling swamp of searing agony for a gastrointestinal system. My head was fucking killing me. It felt a ton heavier than usual, and keeping my eyes open was almost impossible without severe stabbing pains straight into my fucking retinas.  All I could stomach was water, and at one point I swallowed a mouthful only for it to come back up immediately. God I wished Emma was still there to look after me. I was fucking miserable, and I know I fucked up but Jesus, I needed HELP. I kept TRYING to appeal to her to see me, but I suspect she’d blocked me.

I’d left one of my windows is open, and my neighbour was cooking something aromatic and flavourful, bloody curry obsessed freak, as wonderful as he was. My stomach was twisting horribly, and I knew I was going to puke again; it was so painful and VIOLENT. There were flecks of blood in it this time, and my entire body flushed cold, blood pounding through my ears in fear. It was watery bile, and the flecks of blood in the swampiness of it were all congealed and stinking like something DIED in there. Every wave of sickness burned its way out of me, leaving my throat and mouth raw like I’d been huffing caustic soda. Everything felt like it was on fire. Just when I thought my stomach would settle down, another torrent of filth spewed forth.

I was shaking and lost control of my bladder on the floor during the onslaught. The vomit was dark and oily when it choked out of me and splattered harshly against the inside of the toilet basin. The water…was filled with congealed dark blood and acrid green bile. I had to rub my aching eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, but I thought I saw something MOVE in the disgusting mess. When I’d gotten a closer look, the putrid stench hit my nostrils and brought forth another torrent of blood and bile. The pain was…off the charts. That wasn’t even the worst part, and I wasn’t sure if this was really happening or if I was in the midst of some revolting delirium, but when I looked down at the basin, all I could do was half scream half sob hoarsely.

It was alive with wriggling white worms.

Emma:

On the third day of my admission to hospital, I’d managed to sit up for a few hours, keep iced water down and finally eat some plain toast. My stomach was still distended, but after taking blood and urine samples from me AGAIN, they were confident enough that I wasn’t suffering with any kind of virus or infection, and subsequently discharged me since I was sufficiently re-hydrated. I felt delicate for a few days, but I was able to keep small amounts of bland food down, and felt only occasional light nausea in the mornings.

My usual clothes didn’t fit me any longer, well at least not over my belly. It was still swollen, and showed no signs of going down. I was quite slender, and whilst my belly was protruding, the rest of me seemed to be normal. I was having to resort to wearing my yoga pants and leggings, because I couldn’t button up any of my jeans without them cutting in painfully. By the following week, my appetite returned with force, and I was eating everything I could get my hands on, and then some. Then, something really bizarre happened.

“Oh god Lucie, I have this terrible craving for peanut butter and cheese, and I fucking HATE peanut butter, what the fuck? WHY would anyone even consider putting those two things together? It disgusts me to think about, but it’s what I want more than anything right now.”

My craving for that combination continued for a couple of weeks, until I began to suspect something else was going on, especially given that I was gaining weight, but only around my stomach area. My skin was also breaking out much like an acne ridden teenager, and I was flushing with hot sweats for absolutely no obvious reason. Lucie started to compare me to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and jovially suggested that it was almost like I was actually still pregnant. As much as we both laughed, I began to get a little scared. When she saw my face fall, we decided it probably wouldn’t hurt to retest, just to clear away the paranoia. I mean, I couldn’t be pregnant, right? The amount of blood that came out of me at the hospital meant I couldn’t POSSIBLY be pregnant, there wasn’t anything left inside me, there couldn’t be.

One nervous test later in the bathroom told me that pregnancy was a BIG FAT NO. I laughed at my own paranoia and stupidity but was secretly wondering what the hell was going on with my stomach and increased appetite. I didn’t start to worry properly until I could no longer fit into my stretchiest yoga pants. Lucie looked at me incredulously, and pestered me for a few days before frog-marching me down to the doctors again.

By the time we got in to see the doctor, we were both very flustered. I babbled my way through a good fifteen minutes of nonsense before my doctor raised her hand and told me that I couldn’t be pregnant, but something odd was going on, so I was going to be sent up to the hospital for an ultrasound, because my stomach distension along with my eating habits and hormonal breakouts were making her wonder if something had been left behind.

Left behind? That terrified the FUCK out of me. She didn’t even explain it, because she had to move onto the next appointment, but suffice to say we left the room quite panicked and relieved that we were going up to the hospital right fucking then.

“What the fuck did she mean by left behind?!” I blurted out.

“I bled like a fucking geyser for fuck’s sake, I thought I was going to DIE, how can there be anything left?!”

We sped into the hospital car park, parked up and hurried into imaging. The receptionist could see I was freaking out, so she calmly asked me to take a seat, and a nurse would be with me as soon as humanly possible.

Eventually, a nurse appeared, took me into a room with Lucie in tow, and asked me a bunch of questions. I was asked to undress and slip into one of those godawful gowns that don’t have a back to them, and she examined me, checking my blood pressure and generally doing all the things a nurse would do. I was moved into yet another room, where a woman asked me to position myself on the table, and gently raised the over sized t-shirt I’d had to borrow from Lucie because my belly wouldn’t fit into anything I owned. A spurt of cool gel blobbed on my stomach, and she started to push the wand around over my ever increasing gut.

A few minutes of sliding around and fraught silence revealed absolutely nothing. The nurse looked at me and told me there was nothing inside me. No remnants of anything whatsoever that she could see. She asked me if I would let her take an internal ultrasound just to be sure, and I couldn’t say yes fast enough. It felt a little uncomfortable being poked about internally, but again, there was absolutely nothing there.

My relief was palpable, but we were still none the wiser as to what was going on. More bloods were drawn, I was prodded and asked to provide more samples, and knowing that in fact there was nothing untoward going on inside me that they could see, I was told I could go home.  It was implied that my growing belly was the result of stress and comfort eating, and that it should calm down for me fairly soon.  They told me that if anything came up in the tests, that they’d call me. I was desperately hoping these things would calm down, as they predicted.

They did not.

Dan:

(Still prior to hospitalisation).

ENTRY TWO:

I was in HELL. Not only was I physically exhausted to the point of total collapse because of profuse vomiting, but I’d also started shitting myself at an alarming rate. It was the same thing as before, it started out as the standard gnarly diarrhoea that comes after something like a hangover, but it quickly progressed to dark blood filled shit riddled with little white worms, and the stench, oh my god THE STENCH. It was like nothing else I’d ever felt or experienced. It was like I was rotting from the inside out, and I was losing weight rapidly from body except for one area, where I was gaining in size for reasons I couldn’t fathom. My abdomen. What the FUCK was going on?!

I could FEEL things moving inside me, and my stomach was making horrible ANGRY noises, cramped and agitated with a horrible mess of worms and poison. I needed help, and worried that this might actually kill me.

I’d blacked out for a while. I came round to find myself in a pool of my own shit and vomit, and the worms, those horrible putrid wormswere getting BIGGER. Not only were they growing, but there was a low hissing noise coming out of them that sent ripples of terror up my spine. I looked around wildly for my phone, grappling and trying to get to it whilst flailing around in my own filth. There was fuck all battery left on it, but I managed to get through to emergency services, although I don’t know how much sense I was making to them at all.  I think I said something about losing my sight, and puking worms right before everything went dark.

ENTRY THREE:

(HOSPITALISED)

They tell me I had been hospitalised for a week before I resurfaced, and that I was experiencing some kind of hallucination induced nervous breakdown. My stomach is distended yes, but they insist there are NO worms in my vomit, and none in my shit either. I CAN SEE THEM. I CAN FEEL THEM MOVING INSIDE ME. NOBODY WILL BELIEVE ME.

I am sitting in my hospital bed writing all this down in the hopes that someone will listen to me. They’re sending me for a psychiatric evaluation because I won’t shut up about the worms, which were now the size of huge maggots. I can feel them choking me on the way up, I even picked one up to show the nurses, but they keep saying there’s nothing THERE. I cry almost constantly. I feel SO ill. I’m on a drip to deal with my lack of nutrition, and thankfully I’m jacked up on some seriously strong pain medication, because I can’t eat or drink anything due to my mouth being so burned and sore. My sight has returned obviously, otherwise this account wouldn’t exist, and the painkillers help the horrendous pain in my head so I can at least write for short amounts of time before it slays me again. They think I’ve been drinking bleach for fuck’s sake, I’m NOT fucking crazy. They keep talking in whispers around me and look at me as if I’m completely off my bloody rocker.

ENTRY FOUR:

The psychiatric evaluation, did NOT go well. I’ve been moved to a ward where they have confiscated everything except for the notebook and a PENCIL attached to the fucking wall in my room. I’m not allowed a pen in case I try anything stupid with it. Where the fuck would I get the energy to do that?! If it weren’t for the drip I’d be fucking dead from dehydration and malnutrition. I can barely move aside from puking and shitting myself.

ENTRY FIVE:

(Sorry about my writing, I am very weak and it’s hard to write)

Things are really bad.

They don’t know how to stop the puking. It just keeps coming, filled with horrible worms and dead ones that putrefied inside me. My stomach grows ever bigger. I am skin and bone, skeletal. They didn’t know how I’m still alive. I drift in and out of consciousness and am at times, delirious. My mouth and lips are a pus-crusted bloody scabbed mess. My only victory is that I have stopped shitting, everything comes out of my mouth now. They make me lay on my side, so I don’t choke on the filth. They keep comparing my stomach distension to that of a seven month pregnant woman. The pain is unbearable but I have to keep trying to write, I know my writing is a mess. I drift in and out of consciousness, I think I am a dead man. I am not long for this world.

ENTRY SIX:

I am unable to keep going with this. I’m sorry. These will be my last words unless by some miracle, they can keep me alive. I don’t know if I want to exist like this anyway, I am on the highest dose of painkillers they can give me, and it’s not enough.

My skin is completely fucked. I have angry, swollen boils on my skin the size of fifty pence pieces, filled with the most revolting greenish-yellow pus. They keep draining them and taking samples off to the lab, but they keep filling up again. I can see worms moving about in them. They can’t of course. They say it’s just pus and dead skin. WHY CAN’T THEY SEE THIS?! I can feel them moving about under my skin, oozing and feeding on me like I’m some kind of host..

They are going to sedate me, they don’t know what else to do. I guess they’re trying to make me comfortable now. I keep screaming hoarsely because the boils explode and the worms are so huge and fat, and they FEED on my skin after hatchingI can FEEL the horrible biting pain all over my already rotting skin, burrowing again and oh god the pain, the PAIN..

THEY KEEP SAYING THERE’S NOTHING THERE

Nurse:

(I found his notebook. We are all terrified. I’m also writing this down because I don’t know what else to do).

We had to sedate him. We turn him over regularly to make sure he doesn’t fall onto his back. Larvae ridden puke spills out of his mouth and into buckets we have to incinerate. There’s no…heaving per se, it’s like he’s just leaking constantly from his mouth. The odour is thick and acidic, and no matter how much peppermint oil we put in our masks, it cuts through like an acrid knife, and we can taste it. He moans every so often as the painkillers wear off, and then goes quiet again when the next dose hits him. We’re going to put him into a medically induced coma. He is suffering so much.

His belly is huge. It moves every so often, like there’s a child kicking around in there. Only he used to see this. His skin is covered in dark purple blemishes and brown spots from the boil scabs. The boils are mostly gone. One or two remain, and fat maggot like..THINGS are in there, oozing around. I lost my stomach when I saw them move.  You can see the bones in his face. His ribs threaten to break through his ruined skin at any moment, he is a bag of bones; a skin covered skeleton.

Our scans show nothing. There is no medical reason for him to be this way. We called Public Health. We honestly don’t know what this is, or what to do. We have him in isolation now in that coma, hooked up to a nutrient drip for all the good it’s doing. A doctor suggested we stop the nutrients on the off-chance they’re nourishing the parasites. That’s what we’re calling them now. We can’t stop them, he is so sick that if we tried to starve them out, he would die before they did.

A limited team of us are monitoring him around the clock. His stomach is so swollen now. He looks like he’s pregnant with twins. It keeps moving, not in the way that a baby will do every so often, this is constant. Small worm like movements swirl under his skin, pulsating inside him, just like the way he said it was doing inside him all along. We didn’t believe him. Why would we? WE COULDN’T SEE IT.

The worm infested vomit, the hatchlings in the boils, him being used as a host, it was all true. We didn’t listen.

Emma:

I could no longer ignore the fact that something was very wrong, even if the doctors told me there wasn’t. My belly had swollen up to the size of a heavily pregnant woman, roughly seven months in term. That was not just stress and anxiety, even I knew that. Lucie wasn’t having any of it either. My back was excruciating. My skin was a mess. My breasts were swollen and sore, and appeared to be producing small amounts of milk. I’d given up trying to get help from medical professionals, nobody had any idea what was going on, and so stupidly, I looked on the Internet.

Yeah I know, not always the best plan, but the closest thing I could come up with, was a phantom pregnancy which was apparently a bit of an urban legend. Many accounts have been written, but their validity is called into question by many scientific journals. I mean, that made sense to me, but WHY was it happening? I never wanted a child. I’m WASN’T pregnant. I’d been prodded and tested and scanned and everything, and there was nothing there.

The problem was, that morning I felt something move.

A slow but very precise ripple oozed around the bottom half of my swollen belly. I froze. I thought perhaps I was seeing things, because nothing about me was normal then. I told Lucie, and even she in her usually calm and collected state was very concerned. Had it not been for the fact that she was watching this happen to me, she probably would have insisted I was suffering from delusions. It happened again during the evening, when we were mindlessly watching some utter rubbish on the TV. My hoodie slipped down one side of my belly, and I felt things move.

“Lucie”, I whispered, terrified.

“It’s happening again.”

I grabbed her hand and pressed it against the mound. She flinched and gawped at me when she both saw and felt the movement. I was simultaneously relieved and petrified, mainly because it meant I wasn’t seeing things, but also because why the fuck would this be happening?

“Ohgod Lucie what am I going to do? Nobody thinks there’s anything wrong with me. There’s something INSIDE ME, but test after test says I’m not pregnant, and you saw the scans, there’s nothing showing up!”

Naturally, I burst into tears for a change, huge, breathless sobs that almost made me sick. I couldn’t see straight, and I was shaking so violently that Lucie had to hold me to stop me from collapsing entirely. That was when I screamed out in pain.

I felt a contraction. It bit at my insides, twisting and burning like my entire core was about to erupt. It was so strong that it took my breath away, and I let out a terrible half scream, half gurgling groaning sound that made Lucie turn sheet white.

“Fuck this”, she said, and promptly called an ambulance.

“My girlfriend is going into labour and she’s carrying a high risk pregnancy, send someone immediately”, she demanded angrily.

I was screaming and groaning like everything inside me was on fire. My mouth was open in a continuous keening wail, the skin on my face turning redder with each passing second. It’s not like I didn’t look heavily pregnant. My stomach was twisting and turning visibly with wave after wave of contractions. Lucie did her best to support me by holding my hand and trying to keep me breathing, but I was completely zoned out and focused on the deepening pain inside me that threatened to tear me asunder at any moment. It was at that point that I felt a slew of liquid come out from between my legs, which is what I would suppose breaking waters felt like.

It wasn’t water.

Lucie shrieked involuntarily, her face contorted into an expression of horror and disbelief, both her hands flying up to her mouth. I wasn’t in any condition to ask her what she saw. My screaming was turning into hoarse wailing, and I was fighting to get any air into my lungs. I felt my head start to fade, that horrible spinning feeling you get when you’ve had too much to drink and you first close your eyes. I’m told that’s when I passed out.

The next time I came round, I was in an ambulance speeding towards the hospital. All I could manage were low moans as my belly twisted inside me. Lucie had hold of my hand so tightly I thought my bones in my hand would break. She was sobbing openly, unsure of what else she could do. The paramedic was staring at me, a look of complete incredulity on his face. I could still feel that disgusting ooze coming from between my legs. I managed to turn my head to Lucie, and croaked the question of whether the medics could see what was happening. She nodded wordlessly, tears streaking her face in a combination of relief and total fear.

I wasn’t insane. They could see this. I wasn’t insane. Another wave of contractions swept over me, and I managed a blood-curdling scream, before passing out completely.

3AM – OPERATING THEATRE:

My eyes opened up into thin slits, the bright fluorescent lights cutting like needles to my blurred sight. I could hear voices, mumbled at first, evening out slowly. I tried to move my head, and Lucie’s voice slipped gently into my ear to tell me to stay still and relax. She was wearing a theatre cap, and dropping my gaze slightly, I could see a green sheet in front of my face, obscuring my view of the voices and equipment around me. I tried to speak but all that came out was a strangled moan.

A nurse on the other side of me whispered to tell me that I was safe, and in surgery. She told me they’d given me an epidural so they could open me up without knocking me out. They weren’t sure I’d survive a general anaesthetic given my condition. I could hear beeping and soft murmurs from in front of me, and a sudden cry of..

“HOLY FUCK WHAT IS THAT?!?!”

We don’t know what the medics had told them on arrival, but the ooze from between my legs wasn’t amniotic fluid. It was some kind of black oily liquid that smelled like slowly rotting death. One of the medics involuntarily vomited when the stench hit his nostrils, and the other one screamed when she saw what she thought was a writhing worm, hissing at her as if to warn her away. Both of them were sent home mid-shift because they were complete gibbering wrecks.

An entirely inhuman screech reverberated around the operating theatre causing everyone to gasp with a wince, before a sickening splitch cracked through the air. A mess of decaying blood exploded all over the table, hitting the staff and the dividing sheet, leaving revolting lumps of rancid flesh and blood dripping to the floor. Several people could be heard losing the contents of their stomachs, whilst the doctor muttered “dear gods” under her breath, before demanding one of the vomiting nurses go and alert the chief.

Nurse:

Public health are here. Everyone is in CBRN. We aren’t. We didn’t know. We don’t know if this is going to happen to us. We don’t even know WHY it happened. We’re all shaken and terrified. We’ve seen some serious shit during our careers, but this is like nothing else we’ve ever witnessed. Some of the younger nurses who haven’t been nurses for long have already handed in their resignation, one of them had a complete nervous breakdown.

Something is happening. Staff are being violently ill and there’s screaming from inside isolation..

Oh my god. Public Health are examining him, and his..stomach suddenly started convulsing and contorting as if something were trying to fight its way out. It’s a mercy that he’s in a medically induced coma, because you wouldn’t want to endure that awake. Ohgod, he’s flat-lining, the machines are beeping and there’s a lot of yelling and screaming..

His stomach just exploded and there are these horrible HUGE white worms slithering out of him. There are thick viscous clumps of stinking blood and matter dropping to the floor after his stomach exploded, and the hissing…ohgod the hissing. The worms are FAT and ANGRY and eager to feast on the gaping carcass of his body..

One of the Public Heath officers puked into his mask.

We sealed off the entire wing. We’re sealed inside with..with whatever they are. We can’t even call our families to tell them what’s going on. We’re being poked and prodded, and there are whispers that something similar happened to a woman across town, except she survived. I can still hear them hissing. Those things..they caught two of them and have them sealed away in containers that they’re bashing themselves insensible trying to escape from. The others have been collected and incinerated. Dan’s body has been transported to another location where I expect they will conduct whatever tests they do in these circumstances.

We’re going through testing and decontamination. They want samples of absolutely everything. One of the care staff is panicking. He’s  been vomiting all morning, and he says there are tiny white worms in it. There isn’t a lot of sympathy for him, really. He was recently tried in court for sexual assault after he grabbed one of the junior nurses during a night shift.  He got away with because of insufficient evidence and a technicality. We’ve seen the way he leers at the junior staff that come in, but nobody has seen anything directly so far.

The junior killed herself a week after the bastard wasn’t charged with anything. It turns out he’d been assaulting her for months. When they found her body, the post mortem revealed she was four weeks pregnant.  She’d left a note, saying how she couldn’t cope with being alive and knowing he was free to do as he pleased. She couldn’t carry his child. She couldn’t face anything.

PUBLIC HEALTH NOTES:

12th March 2017

This is all the information we have to date. ‘Emma’ is currently under observation in one of our secure facilities, as is her friend ‘Lucie.’ They are co-operating. Both seem physically healthy given what they endured, psychologically, the same cannot be said.

Calls have been coming in from all over the country. Men are being hospitalised at an increasingly alarming rate. We’ve identified a common denominator. They’ve all committed penetrative sexual assault. It has a 100% mortality rate in men. None of them survive. Their victims however, once admitted for monitoring and observation can come out the other side quite intact, provided we operate at a crucial point of development.

We rarely get to see evolution happen so starkly in front of us. We don’t know if this IS evolution, or some twisted lab engineered parasite unleashed somehow. It’s almost like a sexually transmitted disease that protects sexual assault victims, in its own warped way.

We’re calling it Lex Talioniswhich translates to ‘retaliate.’

UPDATE:

1st May 2017

We have access to a few ‘live’ subjects, that is men who have come forward after admitting they committed sexual assault. Previous subjects have all died in an incredibly violent manner. we sedated a few, but not some of the others. We needed to see if medical intervention helped or hindered the larval development process. It seems to have no effect on the parasite whatsoever. Starving the host also has no effect, neither does dehydration. The hosts live long after their expected expiration for both starvation, and dehydration, right up until the parasites erupt.

There are current trials to confirm that parasites keep their hosts alive until hatching. A man was rushed into our facility after he had tried to commit suicide by drowning himself in a bath.  The parasite adapted quickly, and gills formed down both sides of the subject’s spine. This happened in a matter of minutes. His lungs remained intact for survival outside water. When we suspended him in water for the duration of the parasitic cycle, they kept him alive in some kind of stasis. Once the parasites had achieved full development, the subject exploded in suspension, and we witnessed the parasite feeding off his corpse like piranhas. All that remained was a severely malnourished skeleton.

We will begin trials involving the use of fire next week. We know that fire kills the parasite after hatching, however we need to know if the parasite can keep a host alive during the development process, whilst it’s on fire. If we have to wait until hatching before we can incinerate the host and parasite, we will have to come up with a different solution.

Updates will become available once we have conducted more tests.

Advertisements

PARASITE: Lex Talionis

Link to part two

PUBLIC
HEALTH INFORMATION
: 

The
following are accounts from what we believe is the Primary Case in a
parasitic epidemic.

Emma:

I
have to write this down because then it gives credence to this hell.
I am thankful for the protection and treatment Public Health afforded
me, but most of all, I am thankful for Lucie. Had she not been my
rock, I would most likely be dead by now.

You’re
going to need some backstory. My apologies if this bores you, but
it’s important you know how we got here.

I’ve
known since I was only ten years old, that I never wanted children.
Two things drew me to that decision, one was the fact that I was
traumatised by a photo of a woman giving birth that my idiot
stepfather showed me when I was far too young. The other was because
my childhood was shit enough to know that I never wanted to inflict
that on someone else, or end up with the responsibility of raising
other human beings. The idea of being pregnant sickened me. I don’t
hate kids by the way, I get along with them perfectly well, in fact
they tend to stick to me like glue, and I’m happy to be around them.
It’s just I’ve never wanted any. I’ve never once changed my mind, but
I get the perpetual bullshit from people about changing my mind. It
pisses me off, my role in life is not to be a fucking gestational
unit.

It
seemed my now ex boyfriend had other ideas, however. I’ve always made
it clear children were not on my agenda. He always smirked at me and
told me biology would alter my perception, but I have always been
adamant that I don’t want any, and I’m certainly not going to have
any to please someone else. I can’t believe I had to say that to a
doctor when speaking to them about contraception, I’ve been pleading
for tubal ligation since forever, but nobody will refer me because I
might change my mind. It’s fucking infuriating not being afforded
bodily autonomy, I should be able to make these decisions for myself.

So, my ex boyfriend. His name is Dan. I thought he’d accepted that children
weren’t going to be a thing for me. I really did. We’d been together
five years when he asked me to marry him, and given that everything
else was happy in our lives and we were stable financially, I said
yes. I felt lucky after the childhood I’d endured and was all set to
enjoy what would hopefully be the rest of my life with a man who I
felt safe with, for the most part.

I
could not have been more wrong.

A
little more background on my health here. I can’t take hormonal
contraception, because it does terrible, awful things to my body. It
doesn’t just make me a little moody, it fucks me over in ways that
turn me into a dysfunctional mess that can’t even leave the house.
I’ve tried so many things, pills, mini pills, patches, injections,
IUDs, anything new and different that has hormones in it with a hope
of keeping my uterus baby free, I’ve tried it. The same thing happens
every time. It begins with blinding headaches that make me vomit
explosively. My skin breaks out in the most painful, hideous boils
that make me look like a plague victim. My eyesight blurs because of
the headaches, and no amount of painkillers, over the counter or
prescribed will take the pain away. The nausea is enough to knock me
over, but it’s a multitude of things. I can cope with vomiting
because you get that temporary reprieve from feeling nauseous, but it
builds again so quickly and I often can’t stand up.

The
worst was when I had the depo shot. Not only did I battle crippling
headaches, horribly painful breakouts and profuse vomiting, but every
time I was intimate with my partner during the few times I felt
guilty for not being sexual with him, when he finally managed to make
me climax, the pain immediately after was excruciating. I’d never
felt anything like that before. It was like the muscles inside me
were screwed up into a hard ball, causing me deep internal uterine
pain that made me break out into cold sweats and drain all colour
from my body. Not only did the shot ruin me in a non sexual way, but
it took away any option of sexual pleasure for the duration it was in
my system. Problem is, once you’ve had the shot, it’s in your system for
three months. Even after it wears off, it can take a good while for
any of the nasty side effects to leave you.  I was miserable for so
long after trying that, and realising that hormonal contraception was
just not an option for me, it meant that I was always super careful
about using condoms.

The
problem with condoms, is that they break, come loose, or your wanker
of an ex boyfriend takes it off secretly during sex.  How would he do
that without me knowing, you ask? Well it’s easy, depending on the
position you’re in. He’s one of those arseholes who doesn’t like the
feeling of a condom, and in the throes of sex I guess I don’t always
notice. The first couple of times it happened, he told me they broke
which is why I felt that slight warmth inside me. He’d take it off
and wrap it in toilet paper, and I trusted him so I didn’t check. Why
would I need to? If he said it had broken, I believed him. He tried
it a third time and I was like okay you know what? Let me look. He
was hesitant and I had to snatch it from him, to find it was entirely
intact. The argument that ensued after left us not speaking for
three days, and I refused to let him touch me at all for WEEKS. Of
course he gave me the whole apologetic shit, romanced me a bit and
bought me some presents to try and win me over, but I was still
reluctant. When I finally let him touch me again, I insisted that we
played in a position where I could see what was going on, and he
indulged me to lull me into a false sense of security. I stupidly
thought he’d finally got it, and that I didn’t have to worry any
more.

Again,
I could not have been more wrong.

His
fuck up was because he’d thrown it on the floor next to the bed, and
as he blew his load inside me, I looked back at him and it caught my
eye.  This is how it went:

“WHAT
THE FUCK DAN?!” I
screamed at him.

“Oh
come ON babe you know I don’t like them, and it’s been a while.” He
whined at me.

“You’re
a fucking shitbeast. You know I can’t take anything for this, for
once in your life can you just not think about your own fucking
satisfaction?”

At
that point, I tore myself angrily out of bed, and went straight into
the bathroom locking the door. I turned the shower on, crouching down
on the tiles to try and squeeze his mess out of myself as quickly as
possible. I delved with my fingers, swearing under my breath and not
caring that the hot stream of water was scalding the skin on my back.
I was absolutely incandescent
with rage. Dan banged on the door and demanded to be let in so he
could take a piss, but I was so fucking furious that yelled at him to
go fuck himself, and he could suffer. When I’d cleaned myself up, I
sat on the floor of the shower with my knees hitched up to my chest,
crying and wondering why the fuck he could be so selfish to do this
to me. I’d have to wait until my period was late, and I wasn’t due
for another couple of weeks. All I could think about was how he’d
lied to me with promising he’d never do that to me again, especially
knowing I never wanted to have children, and how I’d absolutely 100%
seek a termination if I were ever to fall pregnant.

We
fought about that too, he was NOT happy that I’d terminate without
his permission. I reminded him that he does not have control over
me or my body, and that if I wanted an abortion, I’d damned well have
one. As you might have figured out, he could be a real fucking prick.

When
I finally left the bathroom, he wasn’t even in the house. The utter
bastard had pissed in a PINT GLASS and left it on the counter for me
to find. I was absolutely DONE with this crap, and as much as it hurt
to do, I gathered a few things, a few changes of clothes and called
my best friend, Lucie. I burst into tears the moment she answered,
and she just told me to get over there, and that I could explain the
upset was when I arrived.

Dan
had taken the car, and so I called a taxi because I really wasn’t in
the mood to use a bus to get there. Half an hour later, Lucie opened
the door and I crumpled all over her and burst into tears all over
again. My explanation was racked with sobs and nose wiping, and her
face was a combination of rage and concern because she’d seen first
hand what hormonal birth control did to me, and also because she was
seriously pissed off with Dan for being such an utter BASTARD.

“Fucking
hell love, what a complete fucking wanker. I had no idea he was
like that.” She said bitterly.

I
asked her if I could crash for a few days, and being the utter angel
that she was, she told me I could stay as long as I wanted. Of course
my phone started buzzing, and it was Dan probably wondering where the
fuck I was. I chose to ignore the call, putting it on silent, along
with switching off the vibration. I decided he could stew, I was
having none of it.

Lucie
being her generous self, took good care of me. I’d forgotten to eat
after all the bullshit, and so when she came in with a pile of tea
and biscuits, I’d wolfed a fair few down before the growling in my
stomach calmed down. She asked me if I wanted to sleep next to her,
or take the sofa. I told her I’d take the sofa, because I wouldn’t
want to keep her awake if all I was going to do was cry. She gently
told me that it didn’t matter if I kept her awake, she wasn’t at work
tomorrow and she would be happy to hold me and let me cry it out with
her for as long as I needed. She insisted that I sleep next to her
for the night, this is why she is my best friend. Lucie was the most
kind hearted and generous person I’d ever met in my life. Nothing was
too much for her, and she would drop everything to go to your aid if
you needed her, no matter what the problem was.

I
had a fitful night of sleep which was to be expected, but the really
grim stuff didn’t happen for another month.

As
I feared, I was late. My periods were like clockwork. I was so
paranoid about pregnancy, that I tracked my periods religiously using
a diary as I was growing up, and then switched to an app on my phone
which allowed me to access my cycle information more readily, and
share it with my doctor. The day I was supposed to bleed came and
went. I tried to cut myself some slack because I was stressed as all
fuck, and that can have an impact. Dan had been calling me and
leaving message after message on my voicemail, text after text
begging and pleading for me to go back. I blanked him completely. I’d
gone back home to collect more things so that I could stay with Lucie
for longer, and I left him a note to tell him we were done. I knew
he’d be at work, so I’d asked for a couple of days from my boss who
was fortunately, very understanding.

“Sure
thing, petal.  Take the whole week, you’ve more than earned it”, He
said to me gently.

Later
on that evening, Lucie came home with some boxes from the chemist. I
didn’t even have to ask what they were, I knew she’d been and grabbed
some pregnancy tests. Not some cheap ones, but those expensive
digital ones that don’t leave you wondering. She’d got me four, just
in case I felt the need to be absolutely sure. I genuinely didn’t
know what I’d done to deserve her, but I was grateful for her now
more than ever. I was now a week late, my fingernails were
practically non existent, and it was hard for me to even sit still.

“Come
on chick. We need to do this”, Lucie
said softly.

Hunkering
down on the loo, sticking a test between my legs, and waiting for my
stream to soak it through, was the easy part. Waiting those few
minutes was fucking GODAWFUL.  You can probably figure out for
yourselves what the result was. I was pregnant, and I was fucking
terrified.

“I
can’t do this”, I told
her whilst sobbing my heart out for the billionth time. “I
can’t have a baby, especially HIS baby, I can’t do it. I need to be
rid of it.”

Lucie
knew my position on having children, and in true Florence Nightingale style, already had a plan in place for this. She’d gotten me all the
clinic details and phone numbers I needed, and swore wholeheartedly
that she’d be there with me for the duration. I sobbed all night, and
dutifully, she held me and mopped me up as I needed. The next day, I
woke up feeling numb, which quickly turned to rage when yet another
text from Dan came through, begging me for a coffee later on that
day.

I
responded and told him to fuck off, along with telling him I was
pregnant because of his bullshit. I told him never to contact me
again, or else I’d be going to court for a restraining order. He fell
silent for a bit but later on, another text came through to tell me
I’d better not abort, because it was HIS child and he had a right to
influence my decision. This time, Lucie texted him and told him to
back the fuck off, because she wasn’t having any of his bullshit. He
was actually afraid of Lucie, because she was a very naturally
confident and assertive woman, whereas I was quite compliant and
submissive, for the most part. He had no idea what to do with himself
around a woman with such a strong manner about her.

I
had an appointment the following week with the doctor, and my
emotions were a multitude of terrified, disgusted, and tearful rage.
I couldn’t sleep properly, I kept having the same nightmare of Dan
tossing the condom away, and my screaming at him after. I’d wake up
fighting for breath, cold sweats soaking my skin. I was so fucking
ANGRY at him, but I missed him terribly at the same time. Just
because I was pissed off with him, didn’t mean I’d fallen out of
love. My hormones were all over the place what with being pregnant,
and I was entirely emotionally shot. I could go from feeling calm, to
numb, to a full on meltdown with sobbing befitting that of a toddler.

Tuesday
morning, 09:30am at the clinic. I was anxious as all fuck of course,
and Lucie held my hand tightly the whole time. They made me take
another test to confirm my pregnancy, and talked me through my
options. I told them I was terrified of going under anaesthesia, but
because I was so early, I could take mifepristone and misoprostol.
The nurse explained the way that worked, but because I was so
hypersensitive to hormonal birth control, I was worried about the
effect this stuff would have on me afterwards. My inner monologue
just yelled at me to take it, because it was much better than being
pregnant, and especially being pregnant at the hands of such a
monumental shit. Giving Lucie a tearful glance, I agreed to the pill
method. She promised to stay with me throughout the entire ordeal,
and after listening to the advice from the nurse, I decided the best
place for me to go through with it, was at the hospital. I could have
done it back at Lucie’s place of course, but I was terrified
something would go wrong, or maybe that I couldn’t handle the pain
and might need help.

It
was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I’m not going to
go into detail.

I
know you’re probably bored of listening to me give you the backstory
at this point, but stories make no sense unless you have all the
information.

A
week later, I couldn’t stop vomiting. I was sipping cool water just
to give my stomach something to bring up, because the pain from empty
heaving left my body feeling like I’d been ripped inside out. I was
crying with every retching moment, and I couldn’t bear the thought of
eating anything. I looked ashen and grey. My hair was lank and
greasy. My head felt like it was made of lead. I was shaking
horribly, I couldn’t get warm, and I was bloated up to hell. Lucie
called into work for me to explain what was happening to my boss, who
was very fortunately incredibly understanding.  

Lacking
nutrients and battling dehydration, I drifted in and out of
consciousness. There was a vague recollection of a doctor standing
next to Lucie over me, with hushed but deeply concerned conversation.
The next time I came round, I was in a hospital bed hooked up to a
drip. My stomach was still slightly distended, and I was told I was
being kept in for observation for a couple of days until I was able
to eat something solid without vomiting. One of the nurses looked at
me and said my condition was almost like morning sickness, except it
was constant. I weakly laughed and told her that was impossible,
considering I’d just had an abortion, but she already knew that of
course.

Dan:

I
am writing this from hospital in the hopes that someone will read it
and realise I AM NOT FUCKING CRAZY. I might be hopped up on
painkillers, BUT I AM 100% SANE. I will begin with describing events
up to my hospitalisation.

ENTRY
ONE:

Ohgod,
I felt really fucking ILL. Not just slightly under the weather ill,
but legitimately cripplingly unwell.

I’d
been battling nausea and projectile vomiting for the last few days.
Calling in sick to work couldn’t possibly have happened at a worse
time, mainly because of an account we were about to score that was worth MILLIONS. My boss was bloody furious, and said if we lost the
account, he’d going to take it out of my corporate hide. I couldn’t
argue with him, but stupidly and sarcastically asked him if he wanted
me to come in and vomit all over the executives instead? His
antisocial response was to tell me to stop being a a smart-arsed
shitsock, and then he hung up.

Pressing
down on the cold tiled bathroom floor after the call, felt oddly good
against my burning skin. My stomach was swollen and distended, in the
same way it might behave when you have food poisoning, and you’re
filled up with noxious gas and a roiling swamp of searing agony for a
gastrointestinal system. My head was fucking killing
me. It felt a ton heavier than usual, and keeping my eyes open was
almost impossible without severe stabbing pains straight into my
fucking retinas.  All I could stomach was water, and at one point I
swallowed a mouthful only for it to come back up immediately. God I
wished Emma was still there to look after me. I was fucking
miserable, and I know I
fucked up
but Jesus, I
needed HELP. I kept TRYING to appeal to her to see me, but I suspect
she’d blocked me.

I’d
left one of my windows is open, and my neighbour was cooking
something aromatic and flavourful, bloody curry obsessed freak, as
wonderful as he was. My stomach was twisting horribly, and I knew I
was going to puke again; it was so painful and VIOLENT. There were
flecks of blood in it this time, and my entire body flushed cold,
blood pounding through my ears in fear. It was watery bile, and the
flecks of blood in the swampiness of it were all congealed and
stinking like something DIED in there. Every wave of sickness burned
its way out of me, leaving my throat and mouth raw like I’d been
huffing caustic soda. Everything felt like it was on fire. Just when
I thought my stomach would settle down, another torrent of filth
spewed forth.

I
was shaking and lost control of my bladder on the floor during the
onslaught. The vomit was dark and oily when it choked out of me and
splattered harshly against the inside of the toilet basin. The
water…was filled
with congealed dark blood and acrid green bile. I had to rub my
aching eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, but I thought I saw
something MOVE in the disgusting mess. When I’d gotten a closer look,
the putrid stench hit my nostrils and brought forth another torrent
of blood and bile. The pain was…off the charts. That wasn’t even
the worst part, and I wasn’t sure if this was really happening or if
I was in the midst of some revolting delirium, but when I looked down
at the basin, all I could do was half scream half sob hoarsely.

It
was alive with
wriggling white worms
.

Emma:

On
the third day of my admission to hospital, I’d managed to sit up for
a few hours, keep iced water down and finally eat some plain toast.
My stomach was still distended, but after taking blood and urine
samples from me AGAIN, they were confident enough that I wasn’t
suffering with any kind of virus or infection, and subsequently
discharged me since I was sufficiently re-hydrated. I felt delicate
for a few days, but I was able to keep small amounts of bland food
down, and felt only occasional light nausea in the mornings.

My
usual clothes didn’t fit me any longer, well at least not over my
belly. It was still swollen, and showed no signs of going down. I was
quite slender, and whilst my belly was protruding, the rest of me
seemed to be normal. I was having to resort to wearing my yoga pants
and leggings, because I couldn’t button up any of my jeans without
them cutting in painfully. By the following week, my appetite
returned with force, and I was eating everything I could get my hands
on, and then some. Then, something really
bizarre happened.

“Oh
god Lucie, I have this terrible craving for peanut butter and cheese,
and I fucking HATE peanut butter, what the fuck? WHY would anyone
even consider putting those two things together? It disgusts me to
think about, but it’s what I want more than anything right now.”

My
craving for that combination continued for a couple of weeks, until I
began to suspect something else was going on, especially given that I
was gaining weight, but only around my stomach area. My skin was also
breaking out much like an acne ridden teenager, and I was flushing
with hot sweats for absolutely no obvious reason. Lucie started to
compare me to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and jovially suggested
that it was almost like I was actually still pregnant. As much as we
both laughed, I began to get a little scared. When she saw my face
fall, we decided it probably wouldn’t hurt to retest, just to clear
away the paranoia. I mean, I couldn’t be pregnant, right? The amount
of blood that came out of me at the hospital meant I couldn’t
POSSIBLY be pregnant, there wasn’t anything left inside me, there
couldn’t be.

One
nervous test later in the bathroom told me that pregnancy was a BIG
FAT NO. I laughed at my own paranoia and stupidity but was secretly
wondering what the hell was going on with my stomach and increased
appetite. I didn’t start to worry properly until I could no longer
fit into my stretchiest yoga pants. Lucie looked at me incredulously,
and pestered me for a few days before frog-marching me down to the
doctors again.

By
the time we got in to see the doctor, we were both very flustered. I
babbled my way through a good fifteen minutes of nonsense before my
doctor raised her hand and told me that I couldn’t be pregnant, but
something odd was going on, so I was going to be sent up to the
hospital for an ultrasound, because my stomach distension along with
my eating habits and hormonal breakouts were making her wonder if
something had been left behind.

Left
behind? That terrified the FUCK out of me. She didn’t even explain
it, because she had to move onto the next appointment, but suffice to
say we left the room quite panicked and relieved that we were going
up to the hospital right
fucking then.

“What
the fuck did she mean by left
behind?!” I
blurted out.

“I
bled like a fucking geyser for fuck’s sake, I thought I was going to
DIE, how can there be anything left?!”

We
sped into the hospital car park, parked up and hurried into imaging.
The receptionist could see I was freaking out, so she calmly asked me
to take a seat, and a nurse would be with me as soon as humanly
possible.

Eventually, a nurse appeared,
took me into a room with Lucie in tow, and asked me a bunch of
questions. I was asked to undress and slip into one of those godawful
gowns that don’t have a back to them, and she examined me, checking
my blood pressure and generally doing all the things a nurse would
do. I was moved into yet another room, where a woman asked me to
position myself on the table, and gently raised the over sized t-shirt
I’d had to borrow from Lucie because my belly wouldn’t fit into
anything I owned. A spurt of cool gel blobbed on my stomach, and she
started to push the wand around over my ever increasing gut.

A
few minutes of sliding around and fraught silence revealed absolutely
nothing. The nurse looked at me and told me there was nothing
inside me.
No
remnants of anything whatsoever that she could see. She asked me if I
would let her take an internal ultrasound just to be sure, and I
couldn’t say yes fast enough. It felt a little uncomfortable being
poked about internally, but again, there was absolutely nothing
there.

My relief was palpable, but we
were still none the wiser as to what was going on. More bloods were
drawn, I was prodded and asked to provide more samples, and knowing
that in fact there was nothing untoward going on inside me that they
could see, I was told I could go home.  It was implied that my
growing belly was the result of stress and comfort eating, and that
it should calm down for me fairly soon.  They told me that if anything came up in the tests, that they’d call me. I was desperately hoping these things would calm down, as they predicted.

They did not.

Dan:

(Still prior to
hospitalisation).

ENTRY TWO:

I
was in HELL. Not only was I physically exhausted to the point of
total collapse because of profuse vomiting, but I’d also started
shitting myself at an alarming rate. It was the same thing as before,
it started out as the standard gnarly diarrhoea that comes after
something like a hangover, but it quickly progressed to dark blood
filled shit riddled with little white worms, and the stench, oh my
god THE STENCH.
It
was like nothing else I’d ever felt or experienced. It was like I was
rotting from the inside out, and I was losing weight rapidly from
body except for one area, where I was gaining in size for reasons I
couldn’t fathom. My abdomen. What the FUCK was going on?!  

I
could FEEL things moving inside me, and my stomach was making
horrible ANGRY
noises, cramped and agitated with a horrible mess of worms and
poison. I needed help, and worried that this might actually
kill
me.

I’d
blacked out for a while. I came round to find myself in a pool of my
own shit and vomit, and the worms, those horrible putrid worms,
were getting BIGGER.
Not only were they growing, but there was a low hissing noise coming
out of them that sent ripples of terror up my spine. I looked around
wildly for my phone, grappling and trying to get to it whilst
flailing around in my own filth. There was fuck all battery left on
it, but I managed to get through to emergency services, although I
don’t know how much sense I was making to them at all.  I think I
said something about losing my sight, and puking worms right before
everything went dark.

ENTRY
THREE:

(HOSPITALISED)

They tell me I had been
hospitalised for a week before I resurfaced, and that I was
experiencing some kind of hallucination induced nervous breakdown. My
stomach is distended yes, but they insist there are NO worms in my
vomit, and none in my shit either. I CAN SEE THEM. I CAN FEEL THEM
MOVING INSIDE ME. NOBODY WILL BELIEVE ME.

I am sitting in my hospital bed
writing all this down in the hopes that someone will listen to me.
They’re sending me for a psychiatric evaluation because I won’t shut
up about the worms, which were now the size of huge maggots. I can
feel them choking me on the way up, I even picked one up to show the
nurses, but they keep saying there’s nothing THERE. I cry almost
constantly. I feel SO ill. I’m on a drip to deal with my lack of
nutrition, and thankfully I’m jacked up on some seriously strong pain
medication, because I can’t eat or drink anything due to my mouth
being so burned and sore. My sight has returned obviously, otherwise
this account wouldn’t exist, and the painkillers help the horrendous
pain in my head so I can at least write for short amounts of time
before it slays me again. They think I’ve been drinking bleach for
fuck’s sake, I’m NOT fucking crazy. They keep talking in whispers
around me and look at me as if I’m completely off my bloody rocker.  

ENTRY
FOUR:

The
psychiatric evaluation, did NOT go well. I’ve been moved to a ward
where they have confiscated everything except for the notebook and a
PENCIL attached to the fucking
wall
in
my room. I’m not allowed a pen in case I try anything stupid with it.
Where the fuck would I get the energy to do that?! If it weren’t for
the drip I’d be fucking dead from dehydration and malnutrition. I can
barely move aside from puking and shitting myself.

ENTRY
FIVE:


(Sorry about my writing, I am
very weak and it’s hard to write)

Things
are really bad.

They
don’t know how to stop the puking. It just keeps coming, filled with
horrible worms and dead ones that putrefied inside me. My stomach
grows ever bigger. I am skin and bone, skeletal. They didn’t know how
I’m still alive. I drift in and out of consciousness and am at times,
delirious. My mouth and lips are a pus-crusted bloody scabbed mess.
My only victory is that I have stopped shitting, everything comes out
of my mouth now. They make me lay on my side, so I don’t choke on the
filth. They keep comparing my stomach distension to that of a seven
month pregnant woman. The pain is unbearable but I have to keep
trying to write, I know my writing is a mess. I drift in and out of
consciousness, I think I am a dead man. I am not long for this world.

ENTRY
SIX:

I
am unable to keep going with this. I’m sorry. These will be my last
words unless by some miracle, they can keep me alive. I don’t know if
I want to exist like this anyway, I am on the highest dose of
painkillers they can give me, and it’s not enough.

My
skin is completely fucked. I have angry, swollen boils on my skin the
size of fifty pence pieces, filled with the most revolting greenish-yellow pus. They keep draining them and taking samples off to the lab, but
they keep filling up again. I
can see worms moving about in them.
They
can’t of course. They say it’s just pus and dead skin. WHY
CAN’T THEY SEE THIS?! I can feel them moving about under my skin,
oozing and feeding on me like I’m some kind of host..

They
are going to sedate me, they don’t know what else to do. I guess
they’re trying to make me comfortable now. I keep screaming hoarsely
because the boils explode and the worms are so huge and fat, and they
FEED on my skin after hatching,
I
can FEEL the horrible biting pain all over my already rotting skin,
burrowing again and oh god the pain, the PAIN..

THEY
KEEP SAYING THERE’S NOTHING THERE

Nurse:

(I
found his notebook. We are all terrified. I’m also writing this down
because I don’t know what else to do).

We
had to sedate him. We turn him over regularly to make sure he doesn’t
fall onto his back. Larvae ridden puke spills out of his mouth and into buckets we
have to incinerate. There’s no…heaving per se, it’s like
he’s just leaking constantly from his mouth. The odour is thick and
acidic, and no matter how much peppermint oil we put in our masks, it
cuts through like an acrid knife, and we can taste it. He moans every so often as the
painkillers wear off, and then goes quiet again when the next dose
hits him. We’re going to put him into a medically induced coma. He is
suffering so much.

His
belly is huge.
It moves every so often, like there’s a child kicking around in
there. Only he
used to see this. His skin is covered in dark purple blemishes and
brown spots from the boil scabs. The boils are mostly gone. One or
two remain, and fat maggot like..THINGS are in there, oozing around.
I lost my stomach when I saw them move.  You can see the bones in his
face. His ribs threaten to break through his ruined skin at any
moment, he is a bag of bones; a skin covered skeleton.

Our
scans show nothing. There is no medical reason for him to be this
way. We called Public Health. We honestly don’t know what this is, or
what to do. We have him in isolation now in that coma, hooked up to a
nutrient drip for all the good it’s doing. A doctor suggested we stop
the nutrients on the off-chance they’re nourishing the parasites.
That’s what we’re calling them now. We can’t stop them, he is so sick
that if we tried to starve them out, he would die before they did.  

A
limited team of us are monitoring him around the clock. His stomach
is so swollen now. He looks like he’s pregnant with twins. It keeps
moving, not in the way that a baby will do every so often, this is
constant. Small worm like movements swirl under his skin, pulsating
inside him, just like the way he said it was doing inside him all
along. We didn’t believe him. Why would we? WE COULDN’T SEE IT.

The
worm infested vomit, the hatchlings in the boils, him being used as a
host, it was all true. We didn’t listen.

Emma:

I
could no longer ignore the fact that something was very wrong, even
if the doctors told me there wasn’t. My belly had swollen up to the
size of a heavily pregnant woman, roughly seven months in term. That
was not just stress and anxiety, even I
knew that.
Lucie
wasn’t having any of it either. My back was excruciating. My skin was
a mess. My breasts were swollen and sore, and appeared to be
producing small amounts of milk. I’d given up trying to get help from
medical professionals, nobody had any idea what was going on, and so
stupidly, I looked on the Internet.

Yeah I know, not always the best
plan, but the closest thing I could come up with, was a phantom
pregnancy which was apparently a bit of an urban legend. Many
accounts have been written, but their validity is called into
question by many scientific journals. I mean, that made sense to me,
but WHY was it happening? I never wanted a child. I’m WASN’T
pregnant. I’d been prodded and tested and scanned and everything, and
there was nothing there.

The problem was, that morning I
felt something move.

A slow but very precise ripple
oozed around the bottom half of my swollen belly. I froze. I thought
perhaps I was seeing things, because nothing about me was normal
then. I told Lucie, and even she in her usually calm and collected
state was very concerned. Had it not been for the fact that she was
watching this happen to me, she probably would have insisted I was
suffering from delusions. It happened again during the evening, when
we were mindlessly watching some utter rubbish on the TV. My hoodie
slipped down one side of my belly, and I felt things move.

“Lucie”,
I whispered, terrified.

“It’s
happening again.”

I
grabbed her hand and pressed it against the mound. She flinched and
gawped at me when she both saw and felt the movement. I was
simultaneously relieved and petrified, mainly because it meant I
wasn’t seeing things, but also because why
the fuck would this be happening?

“Ohgod
Lucie what am I going to do? Nobody thinks there’s anything wrong
with me. There’s something INSIDE ME, but test after test says I’m
not pregnant, and you saw the scans, there’s nothing showing up!”

Naturally, I burst into tears for
a change, huge, breathless sobs that almost made me sick. I couldn’t
see straight, and I was shaking so violently that Lucie had to hold
me to stop me from collapsing entirely. That was when I screamed out
in pain.

I
felt a contraction.
It bit at my insides, twisting and burning like my entire core was
about to erupt. It was so strong that it took my breath away, and I
let out a terrible half scream, half gurgling groaning sound that
made Lucie turn sheet white.

“Fuck
this”,
she said, and promptly called an ambulance.

“My
girlfriend is going into labour and she’s carrying a high risk
pregnancy, send someone immediately”, she demanded angrily.

I was screaming and groaning like
everything inside me was on fire. My mouth was open in a continuous
keening wail, the skin on my usually pale face turning redder with
each passing second. It’s not like I didn’t look heavily pregnant. My
stomach was twisting and turning visibly with wave after wave of
contractions. Lucie did her best to support me by holding my hand and
trying to keep me breathing, but I was completely zoned out and
focused on the deepening pain inside me that threatened to tear me
asunder at any moment. It was at that point that I felt a slew of
liquid come out from between my legs, which is what I would suppose
breaking waters felt like.

It wasn’t water.

Lucie shrieked involuntarily, her
face contorted into an expression of horror and disbelief, both her
hands flying up to her mouth. I wasn’t in any condition to ask her
what she saw. My screaming was turning into hoarse wailing, and I was
fighting to get any air into my lungs. I felt my head start to fade,
that horrible spinning feeling you get when you’ve had too much to
drink and you first close your eyes. I’m told that’s when I passed
out.

The next time I came round, I was
in an ambulance speeding towards the hospital. All I could manage
were low moans as my belly twisted inside me. Lucie had hold of my
hand so tightly I thought my bones in my hand would break. She was
sobbing openly, unsure of what else she could do. The paramedic was
staring at me, a look of complete incredulity on his face. I could
still feel that disgusting ooze coming from between my legs. I
managed to turn my head to Lucie, and croaked the question of whether
the medics could see what was happening. She nodded wordlessly, tears
streaking her face in a combination of relief and total fear.

I wasn’t insane. They could see
this. I wasn’t insane. Another wave of contractions swept over me,
and I managed a blood-curdling scream, before passing out completely.

3AM – OPERATING THEATRE:

My eyes opened up into thin
slits, the bright fluorescent lights cutting like needles to my
blurred sight. I could hear voices, mumbled at first, evening out
slowly. I tried to move my head, and Lucie’s voice slipped gently
into my ear to tell me to stay still and relax. She was wearing a
theatre cap, and dropping my gaze slightly, I could see a green sheet
in front of my face, obscuring my view of the voices and equipment
around me. I tried to speak but all that came out was a strangled
moan.  

A nurse on the other side of me
whispered to tell me that I was safe, and in surgery. She told me
they’d given me an epidural so they could open me up without knocking
me out. They weren’t sure I’d survive a general anaesthetic given my
condition. I could hear beeping and soft murmurs from in front of me,
and a sudden cry of..

“HOLY
FUCK WHAT IS THAT
?!?!”

We don’t know what the medics had
told them on arrival, but the ooze from between my legs wasn’t
amniotic fluid. It was some kind of black oily liquid that smelled
like slowly rotting death. One of the medics involuntarily vomited
when the stench hit his nostrils, and the other one screamed when she
saw what she thought was a writhing worm, hissing at her as if to
warn her away. Both of them were sent home mid-shift because they
were complete gibbering wrecks.

An
entirely inhuman screech reverberated around the operating theatre
causing everyone to gasp with a wince, before a sickening splitch
cracked through the air. A mess of decaying blood exploded all over
the table, hitting the staff and the dividing sheet, leaving
revolting lumps of rancid flesh and blood dripping to the floor.
Several people could be heard losing the contents of their stomachs,
whilst the doctor muttered “dear
gods”
 under her breath, before demanding one of the vomiting nurses go and
alert the chief.

Nurse:

Public health are here. Everyone
is in CBRN. We aren’t. We didn’t know. We don’t know if this is going
to happen to us. We don’t even know WHY it happened. We’re all shaken
and terrified. We’ve seen some serious shit during our careers, but
this is like nothing else we’ve ever witnessed. Some of the younger
nurses who haven’t been nurses for long have already handed in their
resignation, one of them had a complete nervous breakdown.

Something is happening. Staff are
being violently ill and there’s screaming from inside isolation..

Oh my god. Public Health are
examining him, and his..stomach suddenly started convulsing and
contorting as if something were trying to fight its way out. It’s a
mercy that he’s in a medically induced coma, because you wouldn’t
want to endure that awake. Ohgod, he’s flat-lining, the machines are
beeping and there’s a lot of yelling and screaming..

His stomach just exploded
and there are these horrible HUGE white worms slithering out of him.
There are thick viscous clumps of stinking blood and matter dropping
to the floor after his stomach exploded, and the hissing…ohgod the
hissing. The worms are FAT and ANGRY and eager to feast on the gaping
carcass of his body..

One of the Public Heath officers
puked into his mask.

We sealed off the entire wing.
We’re sealed inside with..with whatever they are. We can’t even call
our families to tell them what’s going on. We’re being poked and
prodded, and there are whispers that something similar happened to a
woman across town, except she survived. I can still hear them
hissing. Those things..they caught two of them and have them sealed
away in containers that they’re bashing themselves insensible trying
to escape from. The others have been collected and incinerated. Dan’s
body has been transported to another location where I expect they
will conduct whatever tests they do in these circumstances.

We’re going through testing and
decontamination. They want samples of absolutely everything. One of
the care staff is panicking. He’s  been vomiting all morning, and he
says there are tiny white worms in it. There isn’t a lot of sympathy
for him, really. He was recently tried in court for sexual assault
after he grabbed one of the junior nurses during a night shift.  He
got away with because of insufficient evidence and a technicality.
We’ve seen the way he leers at the junior staff that come in, but
nobody has seen anything directly so far.

The junior killed herself a week
after the bastard wasn’t charged with anything. It turns out
he’d been assaulting her for months. When they found her body, the
post mortem revealed she was four weeks pregnant.  She’d left a note, saying how she couldn’t cope with being alive and knowing he was free to do as he pleased. She couldn’t carry his child. She couldn’t face anything.

PUBLIC
HEALTH NOTES:

12th March 2017

This is all the information we
have to date. ‘Emma’ is currently under observation in one of our
secure facilities, as is her friend ‘Lucie.’ They are co-operating.
Both seem physically healthy given what they endured,
psychologically, the same cannot be said.

Calls have been coming in from
all over the country. Men are being hospitalised at an increasingly
alarming rate. We’ve identified a common denominator. They’ve all
committed penetrative sexual assault. It has a 100% mortality rate in
men. None of them survive. Their victims however, once admitted for
monitoring and observation can come out the other side quite intact, provided we operate at a crucial point of development.

We rarely get to see evolution
happen so starkly in front of us. We don’t know if this IS evolution,
or some twisted lab engineered parasite unleashed somehow. It’s
almost like a sexually transmitted disease that protects sexual
assault victims, in its own warped way.

We’re
calling it Lex
Talionis
,
which
translates to ‘retaliate.’

UPDATE:

1st May 2017

We
have access to a few ‘live’ subjects, that is men who have come
forward after admitting they committed sexual assault. Previous
subjects have all died in an incredibly violent manner. we sedated a
few, but not some of the others. We needed to see if medical
intervention helped or hindered the larval development process. It
seems to have no effect on the parasite whatsoever. Starving the host
also has no effect, neither does dehydration. The hosts live long after their expected expiration for both starvation, and dehydration, right up until the parasites erupt.  

There
are current trials to confirm that parasites keep their hosts alive
until hatching. A man was rushed
into our facility after he had tried to commit suicide by drowning
himself in a bath.  The parasite adapted quickly, and gills formed
down both sides of the subject’s spine. This happened in a matter of
minutes. His lungs remained intact for survival outside water. When
we suspended him in water for the duration of the parasitic cycle,
they kept him alive in some kind of stasis. Once the parasites had
achieved full development, the subject exploded in suspension, and we
witnessed the parasite feeding off his corpse like piranhas. All that
remained was a severely malnourished skeleton.

We
will begin trials involving the use of fire next week. We know that
fire kills the parasite after hatching, however we need to know if
the parasite can keep a host alive during the development process,
whilst it’s on fire. If we have to wait until hatching before we can
incinerate the host and parasite, we will have to come up with a
different solution.

Updates
will become available once we have conducted more tests.

S H A T T E R

She could have sworn she turned off the television set before she’d gone to bed the night before. Her brow furrowed as she stood in front of it, stooping down, moving closer. Something definitely didn’t seem right. Her mother wasn’t up yet, so it couldn’t have been her–and she definitely remembered switching it off.

She felt drawn in, her breath swirling out to meet the static. It left a steamy circle behind, the static prickling back against her lips with a tingling sensation. She dragged her teeth over her lips to stop the tickle, blinking softly and straightening herself up again. Her gaze changed to a gradual stare as she looked at the screen for a full five minutes.

That’s when it happened.

The screen looked fluid. Screwing her eyes shut and blinking rapidly, she tried to clear her sight thinking her eyes were playing tricks with her. She’d been staring for so long, it had to be the same sensation she felt as a kid when she sat too close to the set. She tried to look away, but felt a flash of pain behind her eyes in her attempt.

A single soft ripple moved outward from the centre, moving slowly toward the edges, only to disappear.

She leaned in again, raising her right hand slowly, reaching out to the screen, her fingertips feeling the static millimetres away. Her hair, as yet unkempt and a little fluffed up, reached toward the static like fine tendrils twisting to wrap around something.

It grabbed her, beginning with a sharp pinching sensation in her hand, trickling its way up her arm. It was viciously cold, and she panicked, her breath quickening, turning into a strangled whimper. It crept painfully up over her shoulder, her skin tightening, draining of all colour. It moved up toward her face, oozing across her jawline, and up to her lips. She was completely rigid with fear, unable to move or make a sound for help. Her lips parted and cracked in a silent scream, the teeth in her mouth shattering like tiny crystals, each feeling like burning needles driven deep inside her. Blood built and seeped over her greying lips, trickling down her chin and onto her nightdress. The blood vessels in her nose exploded, pissing down over her feet and onto the carpet. She tried to look down, but her eyes were frozen in their sockets.

Reaching up for her eyes, the irises turned a stark white, sucking the life from her pupils to leave nothing but a glassy stare. More blood spilled over her face as the capillaries broke, leaving bloody tears running over her seemingly lifeless skin. She stood completely motionless; a stiffening statue with every molecule in her form freezing and twisting. It continued to move down the other side of her body, pinching and biting all over, the static ripping more of her into its field.

It finally took control of her completely, pulling her into its void. She could hear thousands of screaming voices, old and young alike, all clawing at her mind relentlessly.

Her eardrums ruptured, and joined the other streams of blood coursing over her body. The pain was horrific, and it only seemed to build. From the other side of the screen, she could see her blood from the carpet pool together, lose its colour and seep upwards into the screen to join her.

It was as if she was never there; she was completely gone to the world, part of the white noise on-screen. Something shifted in her throat, and she let out a piercing scream. It sounded like someone tearing nails down a blackboard, and with every scream came a splatter of blood, draining of colour and settling on-screen.

Feeling an overwhelming presence behind her, she turned around and saw thousands of bodies in the same state, reaching out with their cracked skin and shrieking voices. She screamed again, turning back to the screen, pounding her fists against it.

The creak of a door upstairs signalled the arrival of her mother, who padded softly down to the living room. Frustrated and terrified she banged harder, desperately trying to scream for help. All that came was blood and that sickening shrieking. She watched in horror as her mother picked up the remote, shook her head and turned off the set.

She obviously didn’t hear her.