ADDICT

I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been out here.

He comes for me every night, waiting to feed from me like I imagine it does the others. It doesn’t matter where I hide, he finds me eventually. He told me we all have our own unique scent signature, he told me this as his foetid breath swirled out of his gullet, and filtered its way into my nostrils, making me wretch violently and bring up a slew of bile.

People walk past folks like me without acknowledging we exist. I used to be one of them.

As I grew older, I stopped noticing homeless people and addicts out on the streets, mostly out of revulsion and anger because I felt that if they just made some fucking effort, they could sort themselves out. I didn’t understand how hard it is to beat addiction, and what it does to people physically and mentally. I didn’t stop to consider the kind of trauma that can lead to addiction in the first place, or the fact that many addicts are people who live with chronic pain, and have previously exhausted all legal pharmaceutical means. Initially, I was the kind of shitbag that would hiss at them with ‘get a fucking job you waste of bloody organs’, and kick over whatever they were trying to collect funds in. Not noticing them at all was my natural progression because there’s only so many addicts you can abuse before it gets boring. Why would I give a fuck about trash like that?

I think he had been watching me for a while. He saw the anger and disgust in me, and sought to toy with me like one of those horribly mangled wooden dolls you find in a dead relative’s loft; I was now a hideously deformed flesh-bag, rotting over time until I was a husk of my former self. Catching sight of myself in the mirror of the stinking public toilets, was always a gut-wrenching event. My skin was yellowed in places, huge chunks of it drooping one way, others missing entirely leaving open sores in my face, oozing with this strange turquoise mucous, that crusted over until the skin broke, where it oozed all over again to repeat the cycle. No amount of washing away would rid me of it, it would bleed through the sores again within seconds, crusting over and leaving the profile of my face twisted and mouldy. The odour was impossible to describe, only that it was the same as the creature’s breath when it got too close.

That’s what he fed on.

I used to be an entirely functional person, in fact if you could imagine the stereotypical outward pillar of the community type, that would have been me. I was never cruel to vulnerable people whilst I was with anyone, I didn’t want anyone to think I was like that. As far as my friends and family were concerned, I was a middle aged bloke, fairly good looking with an equally stereotypical-well-enunciated-British-accent. Father to twin girls with another baby on the way, my wife and I were socialites doing the whole fundraising for an extra pony to assist developmentally challenged children learn how to ride. Like I said, stereotypical outward pillar of the community type, complete with a viciously two faced dark side. I wasn’t just cruel to the homeless, vulnerable, or people battling addiction. I’d book time with escorts, just so I could make them stand side by side, whilst I compared them to one another in terms of attractiveness, and decide who was the biggest slag. It always resulted in both of the women crying, but I found that hilarious. I never booked the same women twice, and I was wealthy enough to make it worth their while, although I always told them I just wanted two of them so we could have a threesome. The truth was that I didn’t get off on sexual contact with them, I simply wanted them to dress up to the nines, parade around and then slowly crumple into a sobbing mess as I slowly tore them down and figured out which one was the biggest whore.

Maybe he knew about that too. My abhorrent mistreatment of sex-workers who were absolutely deserving of the same respect and rights as every other human being, and the right to work without being subjected to misogynist abuse. Maybe he saw the way they went from looking perfect, to being snotty nosed disasters with rivers of ruined makeup trickling down their cheeks. I was a complete bastard, because I’d pay them half at the beginning of the sessions, and the rest at the end. Some of them would leave and not wait for the remainder of their money, but some stuck it out as they might have needed the money more. I was amazed so many of them let me split the payments, it’s common knowledge that escorts will only provide to clients who pay up front at the beginning of a session, and rightly so. It’s amazing what you can get away with when you’re waving £2000 a piece for an hour of their time, especially when you realise one of the escorts you hired is battling their own addiction.

I was a deeply unpleasant person.

It happened one evening, as I was leaving work and did my usual stride towards the coffee cart parked right outside it. The routine was to greet the aging man behind it with the usual small talk bullshit, and walk away with the same bevvy every night. Black coffee, two shots of hazelnut syrup. That evening he wasn’t there, it was a younger fellow, roughly the same height, but very mischievous looking. He grinned at me wildly, and asked me if I wanted my usual drink. I was initially taken aback, because how would he know what my usual was when we’d never met before? When he handed me a medium sized black coffee reeking of hazelnut syrup, I assumed he’d been given prior instructions or something. On asking him where the old man Charlie was, he simply replied that he was finding it difficult to work during the colder evenings, and that I’d be seeing him from now on, introducing himself as Hunter whilst extending a gloved hand. He said Charlie would still be around during the day, so I wouldn’t entirely lose my favourite hard working barista. I had a genuine fondness for old Charlie, because you could tell he’d worked hard his entire life, and he didn’t take nonsense from anyone.

Paying for my coffee, I thanked Hunter, and wandered off to the train station to make my commute home. I sat down, letting the hot cardboard coffee cup warm my hands, sipping it slowly until it was cool enough to drink in larger mouthfuls. I stopped for a moment, because it tasted slightly different, but not in an unpleasant way. It was still very much dark hazelnut syrupy heaven, but my head surmised that it was perhaps a different brand of syrup. Enjoying it nonetheless, I remember downing it in twenty minutes whilst scrolling through messages on my phone. I felt the afterglow of that pick me up coffee gives me when I drink it, but it seemed I felt more elated than usual. I’d had a good day at work, so I assumed my raised spirits were related to that. I didn’t notice anything odd until I woke up in the middle of the night, sweating profusely after having an incredibly strange nightmare.

I was a late sleeper. Anyone drinking coffee after work on their way home, is going to be up until the smaller hours. I tended fall into bed at around 02:00AM, and as usual my wife was already sleeping and unaware I’d even slipped in. A couple of hours later, I had one of those weird out of body experience dreams where you can see yourself, but you can’t move quickly enough to stop something unfortunate from happening. I saw old Charlie standing next to me by my bed, trying to shake me awake, pleading with me to wake up in a very hoarse keening tone that made me think he’d been crying. I remember not being able to move, and although it wasn’t the worst nightmare I’d ever had, it shook me pretty badly as I didn’t like seeing the old man upset, and because I couldn’t breathe for the duration. I eventually lurched bolt upright, fighting for breath, waking my wife in the process. I was dripping with sweat and it took me a while to be able to breathe again. That wasn’t the whole scenario though.

I could smell the coffee cart all around the bedroom, and I asked my wife if she could smell anything, but she told me no, looking quite confused. I had this craving for the coffee I’d had on my way home, in a way I’d never felt before. That feeling you have when you wake up when you NEED a strong coffee to kick-start your system? It was much, much stronger than that. This was a deep-rooted URGENCY for that coffee, so much so that I couldn’t think of anything else. I couldn’t get back to sleep. I got up, took a shower, paced around the house, unable to settle or spend more than thirty seconds focusing on any one thing. It was utterly bizarre.

06:00AM came and I flew out the door with my gear, forgetting even to kiss my wife and children goodbye, prompting an exasperated text-message asking if I was okay and why had I deviated from my usually incredibly structured morning routine. I couldn’t exactly tell my wife that I had an uncontrollable need for coffee, because I’d usually march out of the house armed with one from the kitchen, before grabbing another one from the cart outside the office building. It seemed incredibly ridiculous and so I apologised and told her I’d forgotten an early meeting, and after the weird night I needed to get moving.

The truth is, all I could think about was that bloody coffee cart.

My legs were restless for the entire commute into the city. I bit my nails, clenched my teeth, and practically started hyperventilating. My stomach was objecting to something, likely the lack of breakfast inside it, but I wasn’t hungry. All I wanted was that coffee. I pushed my way off the train, and almost sprinted to the coffee cart expecting to find old Charlie there, but it was Hunter again.

“Oh…hello. Charlie not around this morning then?” I asked, genuinely surprised.

“No, I’m afraid not” Hunter responded with a gentle but fretful expression. “I’m afraid he died in the night, around 04:00AM.”

I was stunned. Firstly, because the fact that old Charlie was dead actually made my stomach turn, and secondly, 04:00AM was about the time that I’d seen him in my nightmare standing over me, upset and trying to bring me round. Seeing my distress, Hunter handed my coffee over and kindly told me it was on the house that morning. As it wafted up my nose, the shock of old Charlie not being around anymore was pushed to the back of my mind, as I hungrily gulped the coffee down in one go. It was hot and it burned my mouth and throat, but I didn’t care. I needed it. I needed it in a way that I didn’t think was possible. Hunter didn’t take his eyes off me, he merely gave me another gentle smile, and wished me a good day. I asked for a second cup, explaining my unsettled night, and how I’d probably need another coffee the moment I went into the office, so I might as well have it from him. He obliged, again telling me it was free gratis. I clutched the cup, and went off towards the revolving office doors. Just off to one side of them, a very dishevelled looking man sat on the cold stone floor, and asked me meekly for change. I heard him, but I didn’t acknowledge him outside of shooting him an irritated glance. As I was moving around inside the doors, I noticed Hunter staring directly at me, with a very grim expression on his face. I assumed he’d seen something behind me, as that was not the gentle spoken man I’d talked to moments before.

I’d only been at my desk for five minutes before draining the coffee from that second cup. Again, it was too hot and it burned, but it came with that same feeling of elation. I ploughed through the next thirty minutes, feeling on top of the world; I answered every email that usually took me the best part of a day to work through, dealt with every difficult challenge, and even offered to take a partial workload off the permanently stressed bloke next to me. This kind of thing didn’t happen for the most part, and then it hit me.

I needed another coffee. My usual response to this was to head over to the kitchen in the office, and shove one of those fancy coffee pods in the machine until it gave me what I wanted. This time, I grabbed my wallet, and charged downstairs to run out to the coffee cart. It didn’t really register what I was doing until the cold air hit my chest through the thin shirt I was wearing. My blazer was on the back of my chair, and the hot coffee glow and elation had worn off entirely. If I didn’t have a coffee from Hunter, I felt like I was going to die. Sounds ridiculous now, but you don’t know how bad it got yet, you DON’T KNOW.

“Hello again, Damian.” Hunter said with a slightly stern expression, appearing to force a smile in the way people often have to do when they’re working in retail, so as not to upset their customers.
“Uhh..hello Hunter, wait..how did you know my name?” I asked, realising that I’d never actually given it to him.

He grinned at me genuinely this time, and told me old Charlie gave him information about his regulars when he’d made the decision to stop working during the evenings. I couldn’t really argue with that, and eyed Hunter intensely as he was putting my coffee together. It seemed like he was going too slowly some how, almost as if he wasn’t going fast enough. My gut made the most peculiar of noises, and although I’d only been away from my desk for five minutes, the urgency for this beverage was reaching critical point.

“Hunter, sorry but could I ask you to move a little faster please? I’ve got a conference call in five minutes, and I’ll be in ever so much trouble if I don’t start on time.” I pleaded with him.

Hunter stopped and held my gaze for a moment, grasping the coffee cup firmly in his hands, not moving. He turned around, and put it in one of those cardboard trays, and adding some extras like sugar sachets just in case. It was almost like he was taunting me, showing me that he had power over me with this. He finally turned back and gave me a bright smile, asking me for payment that was twice the usual price.

I didn’t even hesitate. I pushed a crumpled fiver into his hand, and pulled the coffee from the tray. Again, I poured it down my throat so fast that it burned, this time leaving actual noticeable burns on my tongue. His face was completely still, his hands clasped together as he watched me back away semi sheepishly, before hurtling back into the building, because I didn’t have time to ask for another.

This went on for days, getting out of hand because I couldn’t last long without another round of that coffee. Coffee pod coffee didn’t do it for me. The coffee my wife made for me also stopped hitting the spot. I couldn’t function without Hunter’s coffee, and it finally got to the point where I hadn’t slept properly for WEEKS, because all I could see was myself over and over again, with old Charlie standing next to me, crying. Every night.

I was running up and down the stairs at the office, to buy cup upon cup of Hunter’s coffee, spending more time down there than I was at my desk. As soon as I finished one, I needed another. I began buying multiple cups to have at my desk, littering the area with empty cups, almost spilling some on the keyboard to my computer. My boss couldn’t understand why I had to have THAT coffee, and the money I was spending on it, was getting out of hand. It’s just coffee right? How can anyone lose so much over coffee?

When I wasn’t away from my desk grabbing more of it, I was in the bathroom relieving myself, and looking at the sores in my mouth. God it was tender and so painful. Patches of red skin missing from my cheeks, my tongue scalded and ulcerated, and my lips swollen and cracked. I wasn’t eating, I didn’t WANT to eat, all I could think about was that fucking coffee. My weight dropped dramatically, and I became extremely ill from malnutrition and the infected sores in my mouth. It was right about that time that the weird turquoise ooze made its appearance.

Then, as you might imagine when your work suffers, I got fired. Inability to produce good enough results, poor personal hygiene, unkempt appearance, snappy and obnoxious behaviour, demands for people to bring me coffee around the clock, the list went on. I lost the company a substantial amount of money, and that was the final straw. I didn’t really remember leaving the office with a box of stuff, but I remembered sloping off to the coffee cart to get my fix from Hunter.

That’s when it hit me that I couldn’t tell my wife I’d been fired, because what would be my reason for travelling into to the city for an hour, just to get coffee? She wouldn’t UNDERSTAND.

It’s important to remember that I had two gorgeous twin daughters who loved their daddy very much, and a baby on the way. My wife and my children saw how dramatically I’d changed, how I’d be unbearable when I came home from work, and wondered why on earth I was bringing home twelve cups of coffee a night that were more precious than gold to me. They stopped even talking to me when I refused to go to bed, and thought I was a mad-man, when I raved about old Charlie at night, at the height of my delirium. I had to pretend that I was still working, I had to keep up the façade because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t get my coffee.

One day, my twins became very sick. My wife being heavily pregnant, couldn’t properly care for them, and it was down to me to be the active parent. I’d been entirely unreasonable and disengaged from them all, to the point where they told me they hated me on a daily basis. My wife, exhausted and ready to give birth very soon, didn’t have the strength to do anything, foolishly thinking I was still gainfully employed, despite my dramatic decline in health and appearance. I spent twenty four hours trying to nurse my babies, but I was horrible, cruel and didn’t want to be near them. All I wanted, was to go into the city and get my coffee. I couldn’t leave them, I shouldn’t have left them, but I did.

When I came back two hours later clutching a tray of my precious coffee, I found my wife sobbing on the floor on her knees, cradling one of the girls in her arms. The other one was standing next to her, her little face streaked with tears, her eyes red and swollen. My wife had been taking a nap you see, and because one of the girls had stopped vomiting, I thought they were going to be okay, and that I could risk going to the coffee cart. The withdrawal I was feeling because I’d gone hours without my beloved drink, was excruciating. Severe head pain, extreme nausea, my stomach turning in on itself in the most painful cramps, dizziness, tremors, dry heaving, and anxiety so high it could have made anyone’s heart explode. I felt subhuman, and so I did something stupid. I left my babies unattended.

My beautiful Ruby had choked on her own vomit, and died. My wife, thinking I was watching over them, was sleeping deeply in the next room. Daisy, her sister was fast asleep after her vomiting stopped, exhaustion keeping her there so that she didn’t even hear her perfect sibling choking slowly to death. It wasn’t until Daisy stirred and saw Ruby laid on her back, eyes open and purple faced that she screamed. That high pitched scream woke their mother, who moving as fast as she was able for a heavily pregnant woman, found her limp little body.

She looked up at me, her eyes blazing with a hatred I’ve never seen in her before, her voice low and hissing whilst her body shook with heavy sobs. She tried to speak, but couldn’t. Daisy just stared at me, wordlessly. Sirens were coming down the street, telling me that one of them had already called for help, but it seems that wasn’t the only phone call that happened in my absence.

My boss had called the house, asking me when I was going to come and pick up the remainder of my things from the office, after my dismissal. Obviously my wife was now fully aware of the situation, and it was pointless me even trying to hide it anymore.

“I needed my coffee.” I said, without any remorse whatsoever.
“FUCK YOUR COFFEE!!” my wife screamed, the sound ringing around my aching head.

She threw the phone at me, clutching and rocking with our dead daughter as fresh sobs erupted from her throat. Daisy sank to the floor and sobbed just as hard.

People came into the house, whilst I stood there, drinking my coffee one after another, not paying attention to anyone, not listening to anyone, not acknowledging anyone asking me if I needed help. I just stared at the coffee, and realised I’d gotten through every last cup. One of the paramedics noticed the state of my mouth and asked to look at it, seeing the scalded flesh, the foul smelling odour that went with it, the mess of my skin, and how much of a walking dead man I looked. They wanted to take me in, but I refused.

Then, my wife’s waters broke. She wasn’t due for another fortnight, but the stress of losing our daughter made her go into labour. She was loaded into the ambulance along with the body of Ruby, and her still living sister Daisy.

“Sir, you need to come with us.” one of the paramedics said. “Your wife needs to go NOW.”
“I need more coffee.” I mumbled under my breath, still staring at the bright lights outside the house.

“Sir? Your wife is in LABOUR. We can get you coffee at the hospital.” the paramedic responded in disbelief.

When she realised I wasn’t moving, she swore at me and left the house. I stood there alone watching the lights fade off, and stayed in the dark motionless despite the terrible situation I was in.

“I need more coffee.” I whispered to myself under my breath.

My mouth was bleeding, a combination of blood and that disgusting turquoise ooze dripping from my lips, leaving a trail of stink so noxious it made me bring up what little bile was left inside me. I didn’t make it to the bathroom, I just puked right there on the carpet, in the spot where my dead daughter just was. I couldn’t even cry. On autopilot, I left the house and made my way to the train station, the withdrawal symptoms hitting me hard. You might be forgiven for thinking I was going to go to the hospital, except that if you knew the mechanism of addiction, you’d realise that it makes people do things that are completely inhuman. The addicted brain is an entirely different brain, and when a person is in the full throes of addictive behaviour, it tears their life to pieces.

I went to the ATM. I tried to draw out £100. It spat my card out, stating insufficient funds. I checked my balance, seeing all I could afford to draw out was £10. With Hunter’s price increase, I’d be lucky to get two cups with that. I got them nonetheless, because I NEEDED them. Hunter never once made a comment on the decline of my appearance over the time it took to hook me up. He simply kept handing me cup after precious cup, when I had the money for it.

All of our money was gone, being spent on life expenses for the family and incoming baby, and with my coffee addiction and lack of employment, it didn’t take long to drain our accounts.

Understandably, my wife had the locks changed. I discovered this when I tried to get inside, only to find my key wouldn’t work. I tried to call her, but she wouldn’t talk to me. She never wanted to see me again, and the police wanted to talk to me about child neglect. My Ruby died because of me. It drove me down into a despair that wanted to kill me, but truthfully the only thing I could think about, was my coffee. I sold my phone for £20 even though it was worth far more. I started to steal from shops, and mug people to yank away their handbags, or pull their wallets away. I sat in doorways, begging for money asking simply for the price of a cup of coffee. Some nice people tried to bring me coffee several times, but they were disgusted when I smashed it out of their hands because it wasn’t the right coffee. It wasn’t Hunter’s coffee.

I was arrested and tossed back out onto the streets repeatedly. My only focus, was to get money to drink my coffee. I hadn’t eaten for months. I didn’t and still don’t know how I’m still alive. I depend on the kindness of people who walk past that actually notice me, and my own growing skill at stealing. I’m banned from almost every shop around the coffee cart.

He comes at night, when I am at my worst. He said he made me like this, he took old Charlie and taught me a lesson for my cruelty and mistreatment of vulnerable people. He made me one of them. There are many like me, we are putrefying blood-sacks, trying to survive between hits of whatever we are addicted to. I don’t even get the elated feeling anymore. It’s about taking the edge off so the withdrawal won’t be so painful. He says that when I am at my most uncomfortable, when the withdrawal is causing me the most pain, that it’s when I am at my most delicious. The waves of vomit, the despair, the tears and the rivers of shit that leak from us because we are slowly rotting from the inside out? That’s what he feeds on. That turquoise crust that oozes out of us, is concentrated misery and hopelessness.

We all have our own signature scent. He preys on us, creeping up to envelop us, that obnoxious breath filtering slowly into our senses no matter how hard we try to block it out. We feel him ooze around under our skin, our bodies contorted in agony as he takes what he wants from us, and discards us like empty shells, tortured and grief stricken. He whispers to us in a horribly scratchy hiss, reminding us of how we got there, who we lost, how we let them down, and how much they still loathe us. We are sobbing shattered wrecks when he leaves us, night after night. We get no reprieve.

“DAMIAN. You were such a vicious little shitgoblin weren’t you?  How does it feel with me oozing around under your skin, my inky black tendrils driving holes in your shattered little mind and body? Does it hurt? You taste like it might hurt. Your wife LOATHES you so much. I watched your daughter stabbing holes where your face is in photos, screaming that she hates you for killing her sister. Your wife gave birth recently, but you’re NEVER GOING TO SEE THAT BABY EVER. Scream for me you wretched fucking swine.”

And I do. I scream until all that comes out of me is exhausted wheezing.

I asked him once, what would I have to do to make it all go away? He chuckled at me and told me there was nothing I could do.

“There is nothing you can do, you obnoxious little fool. This wouldn’t have happened if only you’d shown some compassion like a decent human being, instead of behaving like a heartless sadist. I can keep you alive for YEARS, your anguish is delicious. That turquoise stinking crust inside you, that stench that seeps out of you no matter what you do…it’s how I keep you in purgatory for so long. I tainted your precious coffee with my poison, and it permeates and grows inside you like creeping death. I could snap your neck anytime I wanted to, but I don’t want to. The more tortured you are, the more you secrete. My longest conquest is 200 years old.”

200 years old?! My broken mind exploded into shreds hearing that, how old was Hunter to be able to do that?!

“HOW OLD ARE YOU!!!” I wailed, wishing for a death I knew he wasn’t going to give me, sobbing and shaking like I was in the midst of a seizure.

“I am older than you can comprehend.” He hissed at me. “I was here before you were even born, and I’ll be here long after I let you die, IF I let you die.”

I could barely breathe, my body rigid with a level of agony he’d not subjected me to before. Panic coursed through me, my nose and ears pissing with blood with the pressure. I wet myself as a final sobbing degradation to my already humiliated body.  I asked him why it had to take old Charlie, and it said that old Charlie’s time was up regardless, and that he wasn’t always very nice either.

“Charlie looked like nice old man didn’t he? Well he wasn’t. I caught him laughing and pissing all over an elderly alcoholic, suffering with PTSD after years of domestic abuse. Charlie also beat his wife and locked her away from the world.  He told her family she had died, so she believed nobody would ever help her.  I only killed him because he was too OLD to have any fun with.”

When he finishes torturing me, I am left limp and barely lifeless as he shifts his way towards his next toy. Every night. I just want to die. I often wonder what would happen if I threw myself off a building, or tried to kill myself in some way, a way that he couldn’t bring me back from, but I can’t. I can’t, because when I get close to it, just when I think I can DO IT, something inside me stops me. I am not in control of myself, not in any way. Everything I do is driven by my addiction, and however long he chooses to keep me at his mercy.

I notice everyone now. All the vulnerable people on the streets, for whatever reason they’re there. I wish I’d paid more attention before. I wish I’d been more human. I’d have my family, my wealth, my job. I’d have my world back. He tells me that I will always know when I see another person who treated the vulnerable as harshly as I did. We all have that foul smelling stench from the turquoise crust. We are the only ones who see that crusty horror. Nobody else does. He only feeds on us. Once we become homeless, nobody sees us at night; we are invisible. It’s not because people don’t want to, it’s because he made us invisible on purpose, whilst he feeds. He doesn’t want everyone else to listen to our blood-curdling screams as he feasts on us. I could be screaming right next to your face, and you wouldn’t see or hear me. In the mornings, we are visible again, and we have to degrade ourselves over and over to survive our addictions. If only we’d been more compassionate.

Hunter still runs the coffee cart, but it’s not his only gig. He volunteers at soup kitchens to provide for those who have fallen on hard times. He attends to them with care, and always stops to talk to people asking for help on the streets. I often wonder when he sleeps. I don’t think he does. I mean, how would he have all that time at night to come for us, and feed on our misfortune?

Don’t end up like me. Don’t walk past people who need your help. Be kind. You won’t enjoy what happens when you’re not.

NewSkin

How many of us truly notice ads for new beauty products anymore? It seems that like toothpaste, a new and improved formula using an obscure substance is released every other week, with promises to revitalise youth and reduce wrinkles etc. My boyfriend, being the lovable but slightly-obsessed-with-his-appearance-fellow that he is, was messing about online and saw an ad from a skincare company. You might be thinking, seriously? This is an account of an incident surrounding a dodgy skincare product? Well yes it is, except this wasn’t really a product, which is why it’s terrifying.

They claimed to be able to fix all your skin problems in one go, acne, wrinkles, rosacea, enlarged pores, grey tired skin, you get the picture. Anthony went ballistic the moment he saw a slight red patch forming that might indicate a breakout, and would spend the evening hidden away in the bathroom covered in whatever-the-goop-of-the-now is, all over his face. It’s a good job we had a second bathroom, because I wasn’t allowed to disturb him during this palaver. The only mark on his face, was a half-penny sized circular mole above his left eyebrow, which we affectionately called his beauty spot. It didn’t mar his appearance one bit, if anything it added to his charm.

One evening a while ago whilst sitting across from him on the other sofa, I noticed his face light up and his eyes widen. He started going on about trying this new thing online, how they were looking for subjects for trials. I was kind of surprised, because trials mean anything could go wrong, but given the price they were planning to charge if everything was successful, he was absolutely up for it. Considering I just thought it would be another serum/cream/variation thereof, I simply rolled my eyes and went back to reading. A few days later, he got a text message from a hidden number asking if he was still interested in being part of the trials, one of those ‘TEXT YES OR NO’ to respond kind of messages, although I wasn’t sure how that would work with a hidden number. Of COURSE he immediately responded with YES, making this kind of happy chuckling noise, which was the first idea I got that he’d even received the message.

“What are you chuckling at?” I asked.

“The trial just asked if I still wanted to participate, and I said yes.” He said gleefully showing me the screen of his iPhone.

“Just be careful okay? It’s a TRIAL. You don’t know what this might do to you. You freak out over one tiny spot of redness, if they trash your skin, you’re not going to be happy.” I offered in response.

He rolled his eyes at me, and started texting furiously in the manner he did when he was excitedly talking about something skin related with his best mate, George. They were honestly like two old women texting back and forth about Gardener’s World or something, very endearing.  Of course George had perfect skin, and barely any breakouts. As much as they were best mates, Anthony would at times curse him for being so outwardly perfect.

The next few days came and went, and finally on the following Monday morning, Anthony was summoned to an appointment in a private estate in the middle of nowhere.

“That doesn’t strike you as odd love?” I asked curiously.

“No, I mean they’re protecting their stuff right? It makes sense to be cautious.” He said whilst filling his backpack for the day.

“Well where is it you’re going exactly?” I asked again, frowning somewhat.

“Heh. I’m not allowed to tell you. Secret and all.” he said sheepishly.

“Err..I am NOT okay with that, you either tell me, or I’m following you and I’ll be there anyway!” I responded, obviously concerned that my boyfriend was about to enter trial I knew nothing about.

He looked at me, horrified not because I said I’d follow him, but because he didn’t want me to ruin his chance at the trial.

“You can’t! If you turn up I don’t know what will happen, and I really want to do this.” he said with obvious worry on his face.

“Look, I don’t want to sound like the controlling girlfriend here, but if this was me, you’d be concerned too and you know it. So please tell me, it’s not like I’m going to go announcing it to anyone else. You clearly want to do this and I can’t stop you, but please just tell me where it is.” I said in a softer tone, touching his arm and stroking it softly.

“I just want to know where to find you if anything bad happens okay? I love you. I’ll worry all day otherwise.”

To my relief, he relented and sent me a screenshot of the place on Google maps so I could look it up later. I figured that was the best I was going to get, and settled for it. He kissed me on the nose, and went back to stuffing things in his bag. He left the house telling me everything would be fine, and that he’d see me later.

I did see him later, but he was a little strange. He was full of beans sure, but he seemed a little distracted. I asked him how the appointment went, and he told me they asked him what he wanted from his skin, and what problems he wanted to straighten out. He showed them a photo of his mate George, and basically told them he wanted to have skin as clear as his. There was some conversation about how attractive George was, and how his skin looked amazing, in fact it was the kind of conversation Anthony revelled in. Yes, my boyfriend was a total appearances guy, but he was sweet and attentive, and had never done anything wrong to me ever. He was there for me through my transition, even when my family ostracised me for being trans, so to say that he was the centre of my life, was a complete understatement. Not to sound sappy, but we were disgustingly in love.  His distracted behaviour worried me.

“So did they give you any treatment today, or was it more of a preliminary thing?” I asked, leaning into him a little.

He was staring into space somewhat, and I had to squeeze his arm gently to get his attention.

“Oh, no, uhh..I mean yes kind of.” he mumbled.

“Okay? What did they do?” I pushed further.

Silence again.

“Anthony?”  I quizzed.

His legs wouldn’t stay still, and he was bouncing them up and down as if he were incredibly anxious and wanted to be somewhere else.

“Anthony?!” I repeated firmly.

“Sorry! Yes they gave me an injection with something in it, they told me it would prepare me for admittance next week. It takes a few days to kick in, apparently.” He said softly, sounding really tired.

“What did they give you?” I asked with an arched brow.

“Oh..I uh..I don’t know. They didn’t say.” he responded with a yawn.

“Right so you let someone on a trial inject you with something you have no idea about and you’re okay with that?!”  I semi shrieked.

He didn’t respond. I knew he was particular about his appearance, but I didn’t think he would be that naïve.  I was really worried now, he wasn’t himself and he couldn’t really hold a proper conversation with me without being prompted. He then did something he doesn’t usually so, and fell asleep deeply on the sofa. I let him stay there for an hour whilst I mindlessly listened to a podcast, but when it came to me coaxing him to come to bed, he didn’t even stir. He wasn’t going anywhere. I admit I checked to see if he was still breathing, and he was, so I covered him over with one of the blankets, and settled myself down on the opposite sofa. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving him alone, even if he was just sleeping.

I drifted off soon after, but my sleep was fitful.

When the alarm went off on my phone at 06:00AM, I jumped and almost slid off the sofa. He was awake, sitting bolt upright and just staring blankly into the television.

“Anthony?” I asked, moving over to sit beside him, waving my hand in front of his face.

Nothing. He didn’t even blink.

“ANTHONY!” I cried, stooping down in front of him and clutching his shoulders, squeezing them slightly.

He came round suddenly, his face splitting in half with that amazing smile that made me melt entirely too often.

“Heyyy babe.” He said, leaning forward and kissing me, even though my face was clearly filled with worry.

It was like someone had just flipped a switch in him, he’d been in standby mode and now he was awake and full of beans again. He stood up quickly, announced he was going to take a shower and then get ready to go to work. I remained crouched down on the floor for a moment, confused.

“Hey wait, babe? You have been acting really weird and I don’t think you should be going to work today. You weren’t yourself last night at all.” I said, my voice wavering a little.

“What are you talking about love? We sat and watched TV last night and talked about my great day at the clinic!” He said jovially.

Unless I was missing something, his version of events from the night before were very different from mine.

“Uh no sweetheart, we didn’t. We didn’t even switch the TV on last night, and our conversation about the clinic was forced because you were very confused.” My voice wavering even further.

“Don’t be silly, Izza. I remember it clearly. You fell asleep watching Q.I with me, and then I went up to bed, leaving you sleeping on the sofa covered in a throw.” He said, completely unfazed and convinced his version of the night before was genuine.

I froze. I was getting really scared now. I spent the next thirty minutes or so begging and pleading with him not to go to work, and to go to the doctor with me to find out what he’d been given, but he was firm. When he’d made up his mind, there was generally no changing it. He refused to stay at home and realistically, there was nothing I could do about it.  I asked him to at least stay in touch with me throughout the day via text and he obliged, except the texts he sent me didn’t seem like him at all. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but when you know the bones of someone and they’re acting completely differently, it’s legitimately terrifying.

He never used text-speak or emoji, he abhorred both. We always texted in full sentences with proper punctuation, so when I got “omg babe stop worrying I’m ok” with a thumbs up emoji, I flinched. He wouldn’t be messing with me like that, it’s not the kind of thing he would do even as a joke, as it was a pet peeve for us both.

I called him at work. He didn’t answer, someone else did. When I asked to speak to him, they told me he’d called in sick this morning, and wasn’t there. I forgot to breathe, and my head rushed with my heart pounding in my chest. What the fuck was going on?

I called his phone. I got a ‘this phone is switched off’ as a message, which I’ve NEVER heard before. He always keeps his phone on, the only time it’s off is when iOS updates, or he has to restart it for some reason. Panicking, I fired off another text, swearing at myself for not realising he wouldn’t get it if his phone was off.

I got something back immediately, again in text-speak with emoji. “Hi bb rlly busy @ work will call u l8r”, with a heart emoji on the end.  What the fuck? How was this happening when his phone wasn’t even switched on, and why would he use that horrible text-speak?  I did the next best thing to calling him, and tried to call George.

George also didn’t answer. I texted him, except nothing came back which was equally weird because he was surgically attached to his phone. George not being near his phone was like asking him to stop breathing. It was 15:03PM, and he absolutely would have been awake and quick to respond. Ten minutes later, I called again, I got voicemail and left an urgent message, along with another text. Yes I was aware I was probably sounding like a panicked lunatic, but I WAS in fact very panicked.

Thirty minutes later, still nothing from either one of them.

Frantic, I called his mother, who had also not heard anything from him. Of course now I had the added side effect of her losing her marbles over this, and so she started texting him and getting the same nonsense back even though his phone was switched off. Finally remembering that I had the map screenshot from the day he first went to that clinic, I revved up my laptop, and started exploring Google maps. It was my own fault for not pushing him more, but all I could see was a back-road name in the middle of nowhere. I’d have been fucked without the Internet, but then he wouldn’t have been in this position without the Internet either. It occurred to me that George might be with him, because they were like kids in a toy shop when they were together, but Anthony had been acting too strangely for me to think it was as simple as that.

My thanking the Internet was too premature in terms of location information. Nothing came up for the name of the back-road. I even upload the screenshot into an image search hoping something would come up, but what DID come up wasn’t at all helpful, because it was a fucking quarry in the middle of the Pennines. Either he’d given me fake information on purpose, or something more sinister was at work. I was fucked, I had no idea where he was, couldn’t reach George, and no way of contacting him whatsoever. I started searching around the house for anything, any little piece of information as to his whereabouts, and after turning his desk area upside down, and finding absolutely nothing, I was really close to losing it. I felt so sick that I bolted upstairs and into the bathroom, heaving my guts up into the toilet bowl, almost not having time to lift the lid first. After ridding myself of the contents of my stomach, I noticed the crumpled pile of his clothes on the floor. Pushing my hair behind my ears, I rummaged around in the pockets of his jeans, and the hoodie underneath them. Nothing in the jeans. Something in the pocket of the hoodie. Felt like paper. It was a small Post-it note, folded in half so the gum sealed it together. It simply said NewSkin on it. Nothing else. No number, no additional information, no nothing.

I rushed downstairs again to my laptop, and searched for the phrase, and a very simplistic but professional website came up, along with a couple of bizarre results that made no sense. They kept trying to redirect a site with a .onion tld, but I’m not very techy so I didn’t know what I was doing. I couldn’t open them despite my trying several times, and I was so frustrated that I almost threw the laptop across the floor, and then the door opened.

It was Anthony, but he looked different.  His hair was completely gone. Clean shaven to the point where there wasn’t even any shadow. The mole above his left eyebrow was also gone, and the brows were thinner. I couldn’t imagine he would have let them cut his hair willingly, as it was as important to him as his skin. Thick, almost black and cut neat and short into the nape of his neck and sides, but long on top. He didn’t even like anyone touching it, it was like trying to get near Fonzy, he’d freak out and tell you to back off. Seeing him like that startled me utterly. Hot tears slipped own my face and I ran towards him, wrapping my arms around his neck and sobbing hard into him. He stood completely motionless, and didn’t say a word to me. After a few minutes I pulled away, wiping my face to look at him and tearfully ask him where he’d been. His skin was peculiar and looked like it didn’t fit him. He looked at me really confused, as if he’d been out of it for a few days and didn’t know where he was. He was fully clothed in the same gear he left the house in earlier, but he had no recollection of the last few days.

Who are you? He asked me, looking terrified.

“Waitwhat? It’s me, Izza. Your girlfriend, you live here with me. Where have you been? I said in return.” Shaking violently.

“I don’t know who you are? I only knew to come here..I..” He trailed off, before collapsing to the floor.

I called an ambulance and tried to revive him myself, but he wasn’t coming round. His skin felt so different, not like the skin I’d felt under my fingers countless times. It didn’t feel as if it fit him properly either. I pulled his clothes back up over his belly and looked at him, not sure of what I was looking at. Parts of it were visibly shrinking as if it were trying to mould against him properly, and it was inching around and tightening in that way that elderly skin does when you pinch it.  Fresh tears trickled out of me, slipping down my nose to make tiny plicking sounds on his clothes as I tore them away from him to get a better look. I could see this unfamiliar skin shifting and tightening in different places, some of it completely different in shade, paler somehow but levelling out to match the rest of him. By the time the medics arrived, I was in shock and unable to speak coherently at all. Fortunately, being unconscious was enough for them to load him into the truck and haul us both away to hospital. His phone had skittered out of his pocket during my pulling his clothes from him, and whilst my mind was racing with all the worst thoughts you could possibly imagine, I yanked it out of my coat pocket and switched it on, unlocking it, because fortunately we both knew one another’s unlock codes. I went to his text messages, specifically the ones from me. I could see the ones I sent him, but there were no responses from his end. It was like I’d sent a barrage of texts with no replies.  Pulling my own phone out, I checked them again, and all the dreadful text-speak emoji ridden messages he’d sent earlier, were gone. I choked on my own breath, a sob escaping as the prelude to a complete breakdown in the back of the ambulance. I was losing my fucking mind.

Taking great heaving gobs of air between sobs, I checked messages between he and George. There was their usual excitable exchange right up until the time he went out earlier. The conversation took a sombre note as Anthony told George he really needed to see him because things weren’t okay and he needed help. Naturally as devoted as George was, he asked Anthony where to meet him, and Anthony simply told him to meet him outside work and they’d drive somewhere to talk. I mean that sounds fairly innocent as it goes right? If your best mate asks you to meet up because you need help, you fucking go, right?

I called Anthony’s mother as we hurtled through traffic. I told her to meet us at the hospital and that I had no idea what was going on. I asked her to check her text messages, and she blurted out that they’d all GONE. The texts she’d sent to his phone looked like mine, a barrage with no responses. I lost the ability to talk at that point.

The next few hours were a brightly lit and background noise filled blur after they rushed Anthony inside. Nobody was sure what they were seeing with his skin shifting around, or what on earth I was babbling on about when I said his skin didn’t look right. I tried to tell them how it didn’t feel like his, and where he’d been, but all it sounded like fragments splintered from a broken mind to the point where they were considering admitting me for being mentally incompetent. He was sedated in his own room, looking drained of colour and fragile. Hours later, the skin on his frame looked like it belonged there, settled against the contours of his body, albeit slightly paler than his usual tone. The skin was…flawless. Whatever it looked like as it was morphing and shifting to fit him so perfectly, it didn’t look that way anymore. It was almost translucent with soft downy hair in the right areas. All this had happened over the course of a day, a day that he knew nothing about, nor anyone else for that matter.

A low moan escaped his lips. Lips that were slightly cracked but fuller in a way that didn’t look like him. He was still beautiful, but those lips were not his. I leaned over and gently slid an ice chip over his mouth, letting him flick his tongue over them and take the ice inside. Moving around behind him, I helped him turn onto his side, conscious that I didn’t want him to choke on the chip.

The door opened and it was one of the doctors, looking incredulous, accompanied by a plain clothes police officer, and a uniform. Anthony’s mother rushed in and clutched her son’s hand, sobbing breathlessly.

“I don’t quite know how to say this with any tact, so I think the best way is just to say it. We think Anthony has been given a complete skin transplant, from head to toe.” The doctor said, quite baffled.

“Wh..what?” I said, more of a statement than a question.

“The skin on his body…it didn’t belong to him originally. We watched it move and tighten over his body like you saw, but we don’t know HOW. He’s got some pretty weird drugs in his system right now, combinations we’ve not seen before, which might account for his memory loss and out of character behaviour.”

Silence.

“Are you telling me the skin on his body doesn’t belong to him, doctor?” I breathed, reeling at the thought.

“Yes, I am.” He said, still incredulous.

Anthony tried to speak, but his throat was dry and he sounded raspy and inhuman. His mother whispered at him not to try, and he fell silent again, drifting in and out of consciousness. The plain clothes police officer started talking about taking fingerprints from Anthony to see if anything was in their system. My head was still reeling and I wasn’t really listening, until it dawned on me that whoever’s skin he was wearing would have to be in the criminal database for that to work. The doctor said they would keep him sedated until he was recovered and all the foreign drugs had been flushed out of his system. I brushed my finger over his lips again, and spent the entire night at his bedside along with his mother. We both remained in chairs and slept in shifts to watch over him. It was the longest night of my life.

The following morning, Anthony was wide awake and bright as a button. He knew who I was, didn’t feel confused, and all traces of those drugs were out of his system. The only problem he had, was no memory of the last couple of days. He wondered why he was even in hospital at all. He reached up to scratch his head, and that’s when the shrieking started. With no hair up there, he demanded to know what had been done to him and why he was there.

“Anthony..” I asked him gently, amidst his outrage

“Why am I fucking here Izza what’s going on?!” He spat from between lips that weren’t his.

“..do you remember NewSkin? Does that phrase bring any thoughts to mind?” I continued, reaching out to comfort him.

He pulled away from me, as if I’d done this to him.

“You went to start a trial for a new skin product, and went completely off the grid. You came home and you were acting SO strangely, like you weren’t you at all. It’s like you were on something that made you zone out, and you passed out hard and I couldn’t wake you. Please, you HAVE to try and remember, we need to know who did this to you and where they are!” I pleaded desperately.

Our conversation was halted abruptly as the doctor and plain clothed policeman stormed through the door, the doctor pleading with the policeman to stop for a moment and remember that Anthony was still in recovery.

“Doctor, if you think I’m going to leave him here unattended after what I’ve just seen, you’re a fucking cretin. There will be an officer on the door from now on until he’s cleared for coming down to the station. He is officially on lock-down.” He hissed, snapping a cuff around one of Anthony’s wrists and connecting it to the sidebars on the hospital bed.

I stared at the officer in a panic, asking what the fuck he thought he was doing by cuffing my boyfriend to the hospital bed. The colour drained from my face like liquid from a broken glass as we all listened,

“There’s CCTV footage of him meeting his supposed friend, George outside his place of work and leading him away roughly by the arm. It times very closely with the texts they exchanged in the afternoon, and they were seen again on the outskirts of town, Anthony still gripping George in a way that suggested he was under duress. A car with Anthony’s registration plates was found abandoned on the motorway about half a mile away from farmland. The farm? It’s not actually a bloody farm, it’s some weird underground facility using the farm as a cover.  There was blood trailing across the field and our ground team found a skinless corpse abandoned in the middle of it, like it was fucking garbage. We had to identify it from dental records, and it’s George Barber.”

The room was deathly silent. Anthony went whiter than he already was and looked down at the skin on his body, that perfect, flawless skin that he always coveted so much. I couldn’t hear a fucking thing. The bottom had just dropped out of my world.

Muffled voices between the doctor and the plain clothed policeman mentally pulled me back into the room, and I demanded to know how someone with no fucking memory of the last couple of days could possibly have done ANY of that.  The doctor looked at me with an expression of sorrow, and explained that the drugs in Anthony’s system had been a concoction of hallucinogens and psychotics.  He could have been manipulated to do anything, given the right suggestion.

Anthony’s mother had fainted and was being carted from the room by a pair of nurses. Anthony was dumbstruck, and turned his head to look at me, his face dripping with tears.

“I didn’t, I..I don’t remember, I couldn’t have..please Izza I DIDN’T, please I didn’t do this, How could I, I can’t remember!”

He was sobbing now, this was not the face of someone who just killed his best friend and skinned him alive to wear him like he was his own to keep.

I looked at him, his beautiful face blurred through my own tears, huge sobs choking out of my body like I was going to vomit at any moment. I was dragged out of the room by the police officers on the door, I wasn’t even allowed to stay with him. I was being hauled off for questioning down at the station, and I had no idea what I was supposed to fucking do.

They kept me there at the station all night.  I was interrogated until I was completely non verbal and shaking like a terrified child. I remember telling them how I found the piece of paper with NewSkin written on it, and how I searched for it online, finding a site referencing that weird .onion tld website that wouldn’t load.

It turns out there’s this layer of the Internet called the Dark Web, but you can’t access it without using something called Tor. You can buy pretty much anything you’d like on it, from illegal drugs, hit-men, and services you really didn’t think existed outside of a twisted thriller. NewSkin offers a service to people who need to change their appearance because they can’t look like themselves anymore, for whatever reason, no questions asked. George wasn’t the first skinless corpse the police had found. They think the doctors and scientists working in the facility were using unsuspecting members of the public as experiments to perfect the procedure, under the guise of a skincare trial. They think people pay them to make them disappear, but mostly, it’s rich people who are dissatisfied with the skin they’re in, and they want a change. They don’t care about everyday folks like us.  Why replace only parts of your skin, when you can have a complete do-over?

Devastated by the possibility that he murdered his best friend for his skin, and at the loss of his platonic soulmate, Anthony took his own life a week later. He’d been left unattended in his hospital room for ten minutes whilst the officer with him went to use the bathroom.  He figured him being cuffed to the bed meant he could risk it.  The stupid bastard had left a pen behind as he got up from the chair next to the bed. Anthony managed to reach it using his toes, and stabbed himself repeatedly with it in the neck with his free hand until he bled out and died. Blood was still pulsing from his neck when the officer returned with the nurse, but it was too late. The plain clothed police officer came to the house and told me himself. He looked ashen.

By the time they got search warrants for the facility at the farm, it had been gutted and deserted. There was absolutely no trace, even with forensics spending weeks there. There was nothing they could do, it was a dead lead. When I asked about tracing the strange text messages, I was told it’s easy to manipulate modern technology to do such things now. It would all have been part of the set-up, and likely wouldn’t have returned anything useful. It was like they’d just given up.

I was numb with loss. I stopped caring about what happened to me, stopped leaving the house. I know more about the Internet now that before. I became obsessed with knowing about the kinds of people who would sell things like this online. NewSkin still exists on the Dark Web, but the site has been pulled from the surface web, pending police investigation.  The things they offer are disgusting, and it’s all done like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

A few days ago, a new site appeared offering trials to select members of the public for free, if they satisfied a few prerequisites. It’s called NuSkin.  That was the day when I finally ventured out to see my doctor.  I was halfway into town when I saw Anthony’s mother in front of a man who made me stop and forget to breathe. When he turned around, it was Anthony’s face, as clear as day, right down to the mole above his left eyebrow.

PARASITE: Taliones

Link to part one.

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

JUNE 2nd 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

Studies continue to be informative, if not uhh..explosive. Thankfully we have our subjects contained inside pods, to minimise any resulting fallout. We haven’t been at a loss for willing subjects, it’s amazing what the threat of an incredibly painful death can do for motivation. Of course we have announced via various mediums that we’re always on the lookout for subjects who can help us conduct research in the hopes of reducing mortality rate. If they think there’s a chance they might come out of it ALIVE..then they’re more willing to come forward.

We are still battling against the aforementioned mortality rate in those who commit sexual assault. It’s interesting to see what people constitute as sexual assault, and what they don’t. One subject did the same thing as the man in our Primary Case did. He’d been removing condoms during sex with women on one night stands. He’d gotten away with a few times of course, but he screwed up and was caught when he clearly got too cocky from his lack of discovery in previous endeavours. When his latest ‘conquest’ became pregnant, he panicked and came forward after he started spewing worms and shitting himself into oblivion. When pressed on the subject of sexual assault by the police beforehand, he said he hadn’t done anything of the sort. Rather foolishly, he blurted out that the worst thing he’d ever done was to slyly remove condoms on one night stands. The detective on duty flew across the table at him, and spat back that deceptively removing a condom without consent during sexual intercourse, was in fact very much sexual assault.

Of course when he learned his victim was pregnant, he lost his mind entirely and started screaming and demanding help. Just like everyone else, he’d been watching various news reports on the current parasitic epidemic facing the country, and was quite terrified. His sorry self was handed over to us the same night.

Subjects have committed varying degrees of sexual assault before they end up with us, some far too horrific to document. In cases where a victim has survived gang rape, every rapist has succumbed to the parasite.

Cases where subjects have attempted to commit suicide by various methods, have also been gruesomely fascinating. The subject in my last report who developed gills during his attempt to drown, was the first instance we learned of. One man threw himself off a ten storey building, only to survive. His body was outwardly smashed to pieces of course, but he survived up until the parasites erupted. We wanted to see if his body would reset itself in order to nourish the parasite, however his pain levels were so excruciating that we had to put him in a medically induced coma, mainly because of the screaming that upset the other subjects. Nobody wants to witness what might happen to them.  You might expect a person’s head to be smashed open if they fell from a great height, but bizarrely, his head injuries were superficial, almost like his head was temporarily immune to serious injury. His internal organs were entirely intact, only his musculoskeletal system was annihilated.

Our most horrific subject ‘preservation’ after attempted suicide, was a man who self immolated. He was absolutely stinking drunk, and had doused himself in petrol. He burned for a good while, but the burns didn’t quite make it to his internal organs. His skin was blackened and cracked, horribly blistered and pulsing with larvae. We sedated him initially, but he was contingent in our research that deduced that the parasite can indeed preserve its host through fire, right up until they hatch and devour the corpse. That one was not for anyone with a weak stomach.

 

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

JUNE 30th 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

We appear to have at least one mutation, with another possible one in tow. Whilst previously a victim would have to fall pregnant before infestation took place, it now seems that it is enough for an antagonist’s semen to enter the body in order for it to manifest an infestation. This means semen on an abuser’s fingers or elsewhere (body part) is enough to kick start the process. Swallowing semen seems to have the same result. Pregnancy is now no longer a pre-requisite for infestation.

We believe that levels of stress exhibited in the body when it is under attack, are the catalyst for infestation. We can only estimate at this point that a victim’s body secretes something that combines with an antagonist’s semen to produce the parasite. We have our best endocrinologists examining women who have come forward after their parasite removal procedures were successful. Do we have a new hormone here? How does it interact, and what is the catalyst in the male species? We know it is carried in semen, but is it simply semen, or has that itself mutated?

The other potential mutation is with regard to barrier method contraception. It seems that condoms are no longer sufficient to protect against infestation. We believe that whatever the victim secretes, is now corrosive and breaks down any protective methods.  Men attempting to protect themselves from infestation by using condoms during their attacks, might find themselves infested regardless. Studies continue.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

July 4th 2017

Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero

(Transcribed).

Reports of penetrative sexual crime against women have dropped significantly throughout the country in the last month. Whatever this parasite is, it’s terrifying enough of the male populace into decreasing certain behaviours, but encouraging others. From the information we have received from Public Health, the parasite only infests if semen enters the victim’s body. Semen has to be deposited within the victim somehow for it to manifest. Penetration with any body part covered in semen, will result in parasitic infestation in both parties.

Whilst certain crimes have dropped significantly, non sexual violent crimes seem to be on the rise. Since sexually violent men seem to have no safe way to violate women unless they keep from ejaculating, they are taking it out on them in other ways. Additionally, reports of attacks on trans women have increased, and as we know, they are already significantly high. Sexworkers report that enquiries from usually aggressive clients have also dropped significantly, especially given the recent possible mutation where victims potentially secrete a corrosive substance known to melt barrier methods such as condoms.  However, sexworkers also report that they are increasingly afraid of being immobilised by men who want to take their frustrations out on them with non sexual violence. It is common knowledge between law enforcement and sexworkers that they are often the target of non sexual violence, and right now is no exception. We owe it to our working girls to provide them with the protection they deserve, especially our trans sexworkers.

Our phones have been ringing off the hook with reports from women who have had personal property destroyed by frustrated domestically violent partners. Not only has non sexual physical violence increased, but reports of increased emotional and psychological abuses are coming in. As an example, one lady reported to coming home from work to discover her car had been mangled beyond recognition. All the windows were smashed, the tyres were slashed to pieces, and it looked like someone had taken a lump hammer to every panel and light on it. When she got into her flat, she discovered all her clothes had been burned on the kitchen floor, her home comforts entirely destroyed, her carpets ruined with bleach, and every piece of crockery smashed and thrown around. In the midst of all that mess, she found a note written in her ex partner’s handwriting:

“I might not be able to ruin you anymore, but I can fuck up your stuff. You’re mine you nasty little cunt, never forget that.”

The woman had been in a long suffering relationship with a deeply sexually and domestically violent man who was in and out of prison for a multitude of crimes. Despite them no longer being in a relationship, he frequently visited and inflicted himself on her over and over again.  She had always been too intimidated to do anything about his violent behaviour until now.  If this parasite is an evolutionary method of minimising male sexual violence, then we can only hope it evolves further to halt male violence entirely.

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

July 10th 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

We can now confirm that the catalyst for the parasite is a new hormonal secretion, and that it is indeed corrosive to barrier method contraception. We had to resort to some fairly unorthodox experiments to properly arrive at that conclusion, but I feel they were entirely necessary. We’re calling it LT1 for now, until we analyse it completely. We can also confirm that if a victim is unconscious due to inebriation or the like, the body still knows it is under attack, and secretes LT1 accordingly.

Test subjects were funneled in from several high security prisons, both male and female populations. We drafted in the most violent of offenders, ones that were never going to see freedom ever again. I make no apologies for doing what we had to. I made the call, this is my facility. I’ve served my country for forty years and made sacrifices that many are not capable of making.

Our experiments gave us the evidence we needed, what is secreted, from where, the effect it has on barrier methods, and how it interacts with semen in which to manifest an infestation:

  • LT1 is produced alongside oestrogen in the ovaries.
  • During an attack, it is secreted throughout the body, where it locates the point of seminal ejaculation. It then simultaneously bonds with sperm, and absorbs into the body of both the antagonist, and his victim.
  • It contains an enzyme which is responsible for the corrosion of barrier method contraception, tests reveal all current varieties of condoms are vulnerable.

With regard to the Primary Case, accounts from medical personnel that state the parasite did not show up on imaging or indeed to the naked eye until its developmental process neared completion, are being evaluated thoroughly. All cases in our lab have shown up on various imagery, and test sampling. We can only surmise that in the initial manifestations of the parasite, it remained undetectable until it mutated further.

We currently have no way of removing the parasite from male biology, even in its early stages of development. Once the parasite infests its host, its primary areas of infection are the blood and skin. Complete blood transfusions and dialysis have no effect, as subcutaneous parasites reabsorb into the blood stream.  We further experimented with shock therapy in order to see how the parasite might react, to no effect. Our next trials will involve both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, although we do not hold out much hope given what we have learned thus far, with this parasitic penchant for survival. If it continues to mutate in order to endure, we could be dealing with a potentially catastrophic event.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

July 25th 2017

Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero

(Transcribed).

Alarming reports are emerging from the labs at Public Health. A reporter from The Guardian has a contact on the inside, who has come forward with some deeply disturbing and potentially incriminating information.  There are rumours that the lead scientist at the facility Dr. John Milton, has been using inmates from high security prisons as subjects for their experiments studying the parasite.

The reports are shocking. Subjects have allegedly been kept in isolation pods and subjected to tests involving drowning, and immolation.  Both male and female inmates from the aforementioned high security prisons have been antagonised and coupled together in order to recreate a violent sexual assault, for purposes of investigating the mechanism of infestation. There is rumour that a new hormone has surfaced, which Public Health are now referring to as LT1, which the female body secretes during a violent sexual attack. This is supposedly the catalyst when combined with semen internally. The details are a little convoluted because we don’t understand the details very well, however we have our best team analysing the reports.

The contact also leaked a short video of a subject enduring the ‘immolation phase’, which is horrific to say the least. We are cautious at this point given the advanced capability of video special effects, however every effort is being made to verify its authenticity.  Whilst the apparent attack on violence against women seems to be the core purpose of this parasite, we cannot condone the utilisation of non consenting human beings, even in the face of a biological catastrophe. Our investigations continue.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

July 29th 2017

Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero

(Transcribed).

We have received even more disturbing footage from the informant at Public Health. The informant has expressly forbidden publication of this information in the press for the time being, until they can be sure of providing enough incriminating evidence, along with an immunity deal.

The provided footage shows naked female subjects in glass isolation chambers, presumably women taken from our high security prisons. Male prisoners are then introduced and locked away, and left to do as they please. Given the violent nature of these men, it is not hard to deduce what happens in those chambers. Some of these assaults are more violent than others. Sometimes more than one male prisoner is put into the chambers, from what we can see up to six at a time. We have evidence that at least two female prisoners lost their lives during the onslaughts, whereafter a lot of yelling could be heard from the recording scientists, followed by security guards immobilising the prisoners with the use of what appeared to be cattle prods.

We can only assume that the female prisoners were to be kept alive, and on several occasions, the male prisoners went too far and killed them. I have seen some vile footage in my time, but this was beyond anything human. There was a great deal of blood, vomit, and every bodily fluid known to man. I came away from it feeling sickened and extremely shaken. When they finished with one round of prisoners, they simply hosed down the cells, and started again.

What information does Dr. Milton glean from this? I should like to pull him in for questioning, but doing this too quickly could jeopardise the safety of our informant. It is too valuable an asset to compromise at this point.

 

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

August 2nd 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

We have collected a good number of parasites from the various experiments we have had the honour of performing here. As much this parasite is having a devastating effect on us, it is intensely fascinating to be able to study it up close. There are several differences between parasites that infest male and female biology. Parasites infesting male biology are inferior to their female counterparts. They are smaller, and have only basic anatomy. They are a translucent white in colour, and at full size measure roughly nine inches in length, with varying degrees of fatness. In male infestations, whole bundles of these things form, entwined with one another, feeding off the host. They appear quite mollusc like, producing a thin yellow slime that presumably aids their movement around the abdominal cavity of its host. We are unsure of why the host expels tinier versions of the parasite in vomit and faecal matter, and can only surmise that perhaps underdeveloped parasites are unnecessary and subtract from the nourishment of the more developed. Parasites appearing in sores and boils might also be prone to expulsion for much the same reason.

Male host parasites are very plain in appearance from the outside, with a small red ‘sucker’ at one end, and a bundle of pink tendrils at the other. Under observation, parasites link together inside their host to share nutrients, sucker to tendril. The tinier superfluous worms which face expulsion, have neither sucker nor tendrils.  Internally, these creatures are simplistic and serve to produce their yellow lubrication, and absorb nutrients.  The hissing noise they emit seems to induce explosive vomiting and head pain to anyone in close proximity.

Female host parasites are singular. It is almost like the a colony forms between the antagonist, and his victim, except they’re maintained separately. The ‘Queen’ resides in the female victim and absorbs nutrients as a human pregnancy would, even mimicking its life-cycle, along with causing morning sickness, unusual cravings, hormonal breakouts, lactation, and of course steady growth. We believe the Queen lays eggs towards the end of her gestation, which flow out of her and hatch inside the inky noxious fluid that breaks in a similar manner to waters breaking in a pregnant woman. We believe those eggs hatch to produce temporary guardians for the oncoming ‘birth’ which we haven’t actually witnessed yet. We don’t know if there is actually an event similar to traditional human birth, or if the Queens burst their way out in the same manner they do from male hosts. We only know that they explode violently if removed from the female host prematurely. We will therefore begin trials to see what happens when they’re carried to term.

Since we don’t possess an intact female host parasite yet, we cannot describe its physiology. We suspect they might be significantly superior to male host parasites, studies will continue.  We need to pin down an actual gestational period, along with developmental stages and such. We believe the Primary Case as seen in Emma and Dan, will be quite dissimilar to new findings given the rate at which these parasites are adapting.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

August 15th 2017

Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero

(Transcribed).

Our informant has now provided us with solid photographic evidence that our forensic team is processing, in addition to the clips and in-facility CCTV footage previously passed along. There are…women that we believe are prisoners, kept sedated in large pods. They appear to be heavily pregnant, hooked up to gods only know how many drips for whatever reason. Some of them are visibly scarred and bruised from what we think are the violent onslaughts we saw in previous footage from the cells. Two of the women look familiar from that footage, although we have still yet to identify them from prison records.

Aside from their predicament and previous scarring from prolonged sexual assault, they look healthy. Some of them appear more pregnant than others, they are clearly at different stages of parasitic development. Given that previous victims have survived by undergoing surgery at a crucial point during infestation, we are not sure what the purpose of this sedated pod party is. Previous accounts from the surgeon who saved Emma’s life during surgery in the Primary Case, said that the parasite exploded when it was removed, so what are they trying to achieve with this?

Unless..oh. Ohgod. What if they are trying to see what happens when a parasite is allowed to carry full term? That’s..sickening. I mean, I know they need to study a female host organism, but the idea of using those women as gestational units for experimental purposes is..abhorrent.  We need more information. Fuck. Shit, sorry I know this is official stuff but, this is getting creepier and I’m beginning to lose my ability to be entirely cool about this. Get it together Valentina. You need to get into that facility somehow.

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

September 20th 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

We were right.

A full gestational period for a female host parasite, equates to one calendar month.  What we weren’t expecting, is what happens when full development occurs. Hosts go through a labour of sorts, but it is not one that produces offspring. As in the Primary Case, the same inky vile fluid gushes from the vagina, producing the newly hatched ‘guardian’ parasites which emit the vomit inducing hissing sound. That hissing serves as a preventative so the Queen can properly merge with her host, undisturbed.  The Queen, once full developed, undergoes a metamorphosis of sorts, which from what we have seen so far, spans roughly twelve hours from start to finish, some a little less, but nothing more. This is…excruciatingly painful for the host, so the fact that we sedated our subjects was for the best.

Their bloated abdomens could be seen convulsing and contorting at varied speeds throughout the ‘merge’, gradually diminishing in size down to their former un-infested state. On completion of the merge, the guardian parasites simply expire and break down into the same inky black fluid from which they hatched. The Queen reduces in size and slips down behind the uterus of the female host, her upper tendrils extending to curl around the Fallopian tubes and ovaries. Her lower tendrils secure themselves around the cervical external orifice, sitting perfectly still unless penetration occurs. Upon penetration, these tendrils protrude down through the cervix, and open in a flower like state, serving as a protective barrier into the uterus.  We do not know if this is to prevent semen from entering the uterus, or if it is simply a safeguard. Given that the victim in an attack secretes LT1, perhaps this newfound symbiosis is a secondary wall of defence. Should sexual intercourse happen as a result of an entirely consensual union, then we hope nothing untoward will occur. Naturally, we need to see what happens during a sexual assault with a symbiont in situ.

We kept our female hosts sedated for a further twenty-four hours post merge.  At that point, we witnessed their bodies go through something of a visible transformation. Any scars, bruising, or damage otherwise incurred from their sexual assault, completely disappeared. They are of course still prisoners and as such will spend the remainder of their lives here at the facility with my team, but this facility is a preferable environment to that of a high security prison. This will allow us to conduct innumerable studies to our benefit.

Female hosts or Taliones as we now refer to them, were up and on their feet with an extremely healthy appetite and notable motivation, forty-eight hours post merge. Taliones who reported any long term illness prior to their arrival, now appear to be free of any ailments. We naturally assume that these new symbiotic relationships require no extra management, dietary or otherwise, however we will put subjects through their paces to see precisely how they have been altered overall. Images and scans performed at each developmental stage throughout infestation have given us the data we need to provide authorities with answers to some of their questions, but we still have much work to do, with the male hosts particularly.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT:

PERSONAL NOTES.

September 30th 2017

Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero

(Transcribed).

I have been told in no uncertain terms, that I am not allowed to seek a warrant to gain access to the facility. Those above me aka those who are friendly with Dr. Milton at Public Health, have told me to back off and leave our investigations alone unless something significantly new happens in the public eye.  This was not unexpected, this level of bullshit, is something I am used to. I am quite unfazed at using coarse language at the moment, since we are in fact dealing with something horrific. The powers that be are happy to allow our informant to play both sides so that we are moderately in the loop, but won’t allow me to push for access based on that information. As usual, a great deal of my work is profoundly frustrating.  Unfortunately, our informant is becoming more and more reluctant to provide new evidence. They have been caught once in an area they weren’t supposed to be in, and now believe they’re being closely monitored as a result.

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

October 10th 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

Progress with the Taliones continues to be…interesting. When coupled with previously violent male prisoners, their apprehension seems to be somewhat diminished, and given the results of said couplings, it’s not hard to figure out why. We put them in cells one on one with new extremely violent male prisoners, aaaand naturally the men thought they were in for a good time. Whilst the Taliones appeared less agitated than before, they all carried a steely kind of expression on their faces that was…unnerving. They clearly didn’t want to interact with these violent men at all, however for the most part they did issue a warning beforehand, not to touch them. Of course this only fueled the men’s enthusiasm for their brand of sexual assault more, which led ultimately to their being severely mutilated, if not actually dead within moments.

What we witnessed, was extraordinary. Within seconds of another violent sexual assault taking place, we heard bloodcurdling male screams coming from the cells. Our Taliones stood naked and motionless, with long silvery blood covered tendrils slowly recoiling back inside. It seems when a man enters them without consent, those tendrils wrap around their penis, or whatever they have chosen to penetrate them with, and…tear it clean off. Another variation in one case was those tendrils pulling the penis and balls as far into the body as possible, before crushing them mercilessly.  The CCTV footage shows the Talione involved looking directly into the eyes of the man, almost as if she was enjoying what she was doing.

We attempted to reattach one member to the prisoner it was ripped from, but found that the tissue had died almost immediately. We believe that LT1 present in the yellowy trails left by the tendrils, has a detrimental effect on flesh, as a means of defence. Three prisoners bled out before we had chance to save them. The prisoner with the crushed genitals was rushed into surgery, and will now spend the remainder of his life pissing into a bag.

Since we know that prisoners are often rife with sexually transmitted diseases, we were quite surprised to find that testing on the Taliones post merge, show that they are now in perfect sexual health. This has a significant amount of potential, however it will take a little more time to ascertain if the symbiotic presence in their body is enough to reverse the likes of HIV and AIDS. We may have to draft extra prisoners in for that particular purpose. It won’t be difficult to encourage prisoners to come forward of their own volition if they think we might be able to cure them. However, we can and will use force if necessary.

A number of male facility staff are growing increasingly uneasy around the Taliones. Given the things they have witnessed either via CCTV or by direct observation outside our cells, they are aware of just how little power they could hold over them if they felt threatened. Given the mutations we have already witnessed, it is making male staff wonder if they are even safe to be around them.  We are therefore gradually rolling back the involvement of male staff working in close proximity with the Taliones. I will not be including myself in that rollback, as I am not intimidated in the slightest.

There are studies I would like to conduct in consensual sexual relationships, but finding willing subjects is difficult. Given the recovery time a victim needs after being subjected to sexual assault, it might be some time before we are lucky enough to find a couple who are willing to let us work with them. Any sign of pressure or duress, could jeopardise our purpose.  We….well I have an idea involving our Primary Case, Emma. I don’t quite know how to go about this, because there cannot be any coercion whatsoever, but she NEEDS to comply. She and Lucie have both been so helpful with our work and seem content to stay with us, but I cannot deny that they would be more useful if they would at least listen to my ideas.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT:

PERSONAL NOTES.

October 15th 2017

Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero

(Transcribed).

Our informant has now gone completely dark. We don’t know if this is because something has happened to them, or because they’re too afraid to communicate with us. We are therefore considering that a dead lead.

Unfortunately, another twist in this parasitic nightmare has taken us back into hospital. I received a call from a very panicked nurse at King’s College Accident and Emergency. She said there was a male escort who came in after he’d been sexually assaulted a month ago. He’s exhibiting the same symptoms as the woman in the Primary Case, Emma.  How the fuck is that even possible?

PUBLIC HEALTH NOTES.

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

October 20th 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

A rather peculiar case has emerged which if confirmed, might be the biggest mutation to date.  King’s College Accident and Emergency contacted our facility with something both terrifying and astonishing.   A young man, more specifically a gay male escort found his way there after he started bloating up, vomiting profusely, lactating, and displaying other symptoms similar to a pregnant woman. He arrived via ambulance in quite a severe state, mainly because he’d left it until the last possible minute to try to seek help. Hospital notes tell us that he could barely whisper because his throat was so sore from projectile vomiting, and he was so severely dehydrated that his skin looked ill fitted and droopy. He is only nineteen years old.  We unofficially removed him from the hospital and brought him to our facility, where we’re keeping him under the strictest level of observation.

Since we haven’t been able to speak to him prior admission to our facility, the only information we have to go on is that he is displaying these symptoms, and that his last client raped him.  As with the Primary Case, absolutely nothing shows up on any imaging we’ve taken. Samples we have drawn show no signs of foreign hormones anywhere in his endocrine system. He is currently in a medically induced coma on his side, to minimise the choking hazard from the waves of vomit that keep spewing form his mouth, which only seems to consist of watery bile. Having fitted him with an ostomy pouch, his waste tests entirely normal, aside from its perpetual liquid state.  Given that we are providing him with intravenous nutrients, all we can do is wait until something significant emerges. If this is indeed a mutation of the Primary Case, he will be the first male merge subject. We will not make the mistake of removing anything from the host on this occasion, assuming he experiences merging.

PERSONAL NOTES.

October 21st 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

Further to my musing on an idea involving the Primary Case, I have brought someone into the facility for the sole purpose of getting close to her. This is significantly unethical, however it must be done. The man I have introduced into the equation is someone we suppose she will find physically and emotionally attractive. After spending time with facility mental health, her profile shows her to be quite demure and submissive, although she certainly has no issue with offering her opinions when the need arises.  Her interests are very varied, some quite obscure and some mainstream, but we are aiming to pique her interest with someone who shares albeit falsely, her love of Japanese horror films, and associated lore.

Our male subject is ex military, now working in the private sector. We will bring him in under the guise of added security for the Primary Case, given that we share the facility with extremely violent criminals. He has instructions to slowly and gently get as close to her as possible, which will take time. I have neglected to give him the finer details of the situation, since it’s on a need to know basis. He does not need to know this could prove to be fatal to him if this plan should fail. Physically he is a good deal taller than her. He stands at 189cms as opposed to her tiny 152cms. His military training afforded him the typical well built and toned physique, and aesthetically, he is very well polished with dark hair and a square jaw that I am told women find very attractive. This might seem like a section in a romance novel, however this needs to be convincing. He is a very calm and confident fellow who carries himself well, has no need to raise his voice to be heard, and seems like an ideal candidate to hopefully make this work. Whilst he knows he has to work under pretence to get close to her, he is not in any way malicious, and only believes he has to get her to confide in him. I am…hoping they will couple of their own accord. This will take a certain degree of encouragement and manipulation on my part, but it is entirely necessary.

What needs to be done before that, is significantly more brutal.

Since the Primary Case was operated on during the process of her merge, with the Queen…exploding all over the operating theatre, we need to make sure she fully merges. We will have to make sure she is re-impregnated. Given the presence of sexually violent men in our cells, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

PERSONAL NOTES.

October 22nd 2017

Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero

(Transcribed).

Against orders, I went to King’s College Accident and Emergency today to request access to the young man I mentioned in my previous entry. When I arrived and asked to see him, I was told he’d been discharged. Nobody would give me any information or leads, and because I was there in an unofficial capacity, I couldn’t press for anything.  They wouldn’t even give me his name. I know this means he’s been moved. Nobody even mentioned a warrant to me, which makes me think it would be futile even if I had one.

My other concern is our dead lead. I’m also aware I’m being followed, but it’s not by anyone from the Met. I’m now writing this so that if I should go quiet or worse end up missing, someone will know what I was pursuing.  After seeing the footage from that facility, I can’t let this go. I have to appeal to my superiors and hope they will see sense. I don’t know where that will get me, but I have to try.

PERSONAL NOTES.

October 23rd 2017

Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero

(Transcribed).

My appeal did not go well. I’m now suspended. Who’s fucking pocket are they in? I’m already being followed. I might as well give them something to follow me over. I need to get into that facility. I need to find the informant, find out if they’re safe, and find out what’s going on there.

PERSONAL JOURNAL.

October 30th 2017

Emma

(handwritten).

This is the first thing I’ve written since I was admitted to the secure Public Health facility. I thought I was safe here. Lucie and I have been staying here in relative comfort and security since I fell gravely ill. I know Dan is dead. In probably the most horrific manner possible given what’s happening. Nobody will tell me exactly what happened but I know it was violent. I beg Lucie not to leave my side, not that I really have to beg her. After what happened a few nights ago, she’s more determined than ever to make sure nothing else happens. We both know we have fuck all power here, now more than anything. We really thought we were safe. I’m so broken. I can’t stop crying. I was beginning to feel human again, after several cycles of therapy and the help of medication, and now? Now I’m back at square one.

A man, someone I’ve never seen before got into my room in the early hours of the morning. They promised us we’d be safe. He came in and he forced himself on me, there in the dark. I couldn’t see his face, it was too dark to see. His hands were sticky with sweat and he reeked of stale perspiration like he’d not bathed in forever. He breath was foul, and the awful, brutal things he said to me were unrepeatable. I tried to fight at first but he felt like he was gigantic, I could barely move through his onslaught. He raped me. I am a mess. How did he get in here? Who, being so physically vile and repellent would be IN here, in here with me? I lay silent for hours until daylight, it wasn’t until Lucie came in my room that she found me laid there, reeking of his horrible stench with silent tears soaking the bed-sheets. She went berserk.

I want to die. I want to leave. Both of us do, we don’t want to be here. They won’t let us leave. Dr. Milton has put extra security on my door. I’m not allowed to leave my room. Lucie can come and sit with me, but I can’t leave. The man on the door, isn’t cold or disaffected, but he still scares me. I just want to go home with Lucie.

I vomited this morning. I’m so afraid. What if it’s happening again? 

PERSONAL NOTES.

October 31st 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

The attempt on the Primary Case was made last night. I already have the prisoner locked away in the lowest levels of the facility, isolated from the rest of the inmates. We aren’t going to do anything with him, we will simply let the cycle complete itself, and incinerate the remains after it takes its natural course. Why bother wasting medical resources on him? He’s outlived his usefulness. He outlived it once he landed himself in prison. They’re all vermin, absolutely no use to society whatsoever. They don’t even deserve to be called human.

Our Taliones did something…extraordinary during the small hours of the morning whilst the Primary Case was undergoing what was hopefully re-impregnation. We keep them apart in their own cells now, for safety. They rose from their beds, and stood upright, naked, staring directly at the CCTV cameras in their cells. The tendrils from their Queens protruded down from inside them, and started glowing a silvery white sheen in the dark. They opened their mouths and that same…hissing sound the larval parasites make when a woman goes through the merge, cut through the air to the point where it almost deafened the security guards watching from their stations. The sound grew in intensity and the tendrils slithered and glowed, dripping with bio-luminescent fluid that we later discovered to be loaded with LT1.

It’s almost as if they could sense what was happening, and felt the need to draw attention to it. I find myself transfixed by them, utterly in awe, but newly afraid. I was not initially afraid of them until I witnessed this phenomenon. Something else in that bio-luminescent fluid made two of the mercenaries standing outside the cell blocks crumple to the floor and cower like panic-stricken toddlers. One of them even started sobbing, and lost control of his bladder.  They reported being in intense pain, and several of them vomited profusely. I replaced our own male staff with these privately hired mercenaries as I hoped they’d have a little more substance to them. Clearly I was wrong.

If this continues, I don’t know how if we will be able to contain them. If they break out of the cells, we might be in serious trouble, at least the men will be.  I’ll have to draft female mercenaries in until I figure out the next move.

PERSONAL JOURNAL.

October 31st 2017

Lucie

(handwritten).

We need to get the fuck out of here. I don’t know who that man on Emma’s door is. I stay in there as long as I’m permitted to with her, sometimes I can stay in there for a whole day, and others they tell me I have to leave so they can do tests etc. I don’t know what they’re saying to her. She’s being sick again, violently sick, and it’s only been a week since that…animal violated her. How the fuck did he even get into her ROOM? Why wasn’t it on lock-down as it usually is at night?

I’ve never warmed to Dr. Milton. I’m intensely grateful that we were given a safe haven after the nightmare with Emma and what she endured, and jesusfuck that stuff with Dan was..unspeakably horrible. I don’t give one single fuck about what happened to him, he deserved it, but to get to know what happened, even the little that we know about it, how does that happen? Why can’t we go home? I have asked to see Dr. Milton several times, but he’s too busy and engrossed in research that I keep getting fobbed off. The lead nurse won’t even entertain me asking about him anymore. Everything about this is wrong. Emma is so sick, AGAIN. She’s not even trying to be a person right now, all she does is vomit, cry and stare at the floor. She’s given up. She’s completely non-verbal. She won’t eat anything. They have her hooked up to drips and gods only know what else, and she’s under observation around the clock. The man outside her room is…well. I’m not sure what he’s doing other than guarding. He keeps looking at her with a soft expression almost like he feels for her situation, he’s not like the other guards around here that seem like robots.

I asked if I could contact my parents. I was denied. We can’t use the phone, have access to any WiFi or the like. The nurses say they’ve told our families that we’re safe, but I don’t believe them for a second. We’re being kept here against our will, but given the state Emma is in, I don’t know that we should be anywhere else right now. They’re in her room prodding her again, she’s just blankly staring into space. I can’t do anything. I’m completely powerless.

PERSONAL NOTES.

November 4th 2017

Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero

(Transcribed).

I went to The Guardian offices. I had to know exactly who the informant was on the inside, and I was clever enough about it to apply the right pressure to the journalist who came forward. I didn’t really want to do that, but I needed to figure out who the informant was.  I need to know if they’re alive, and if so, what aren’t they telling me?  I have a name, but getting it was a fucking nightmare. Fortunately I had an ace up my sleeve, the journo in question was notoriously at the mercy of a close personal relationship with Mr. Jack Daniels on repeated occasions, some of those occasions whilst being behind the wheel of his car. I said in no uncertain terms that if he wanted those allegations to come to fruition, that I’d be happy to oblige. All he had to do to stop me from doing that, was to give up the name of his informant, and I’d be out of his way. He dropped a name fairly quickly after that revelation, and pleaded with me to say it didn’t come from him. The last thing a journo needs is for his informants to learn he has a slack jaw.

PERSONAL JOURNAL.

November 5th 2017

Lucie

(handwritten).

Dr. Milton is not even pretending to be empathetic at this point. We were never people to him, just experiments to study. What scares me right now is if he arranged for her to be…violated to put her back into this position. We know what’s going to happen. We know she’s going to be sick again. Why? WHY would you do that to someone?

The man on the door looks as exasperated as we are.

They told me I can’t see her for a few days. I’m not allowed out of my room. I keep trying to listen through the walls but I can’t hear a fucking thing. I have to get out of here, I have to get help from someone and tell them what’s going on. We aren’t fucking animals.

PUBLIC HEALTH NOTES.

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

November 10th 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

Now that our Primary Case is once again impregnated, I can take steps to make sure her merge takes place successfully, and hopefully push she and Tom together. I’ve sequestered her friend Lucie to her own room so she can’t interfere, and Tom currently guards between both sets of quarters. Should the Primary Case fail to comply at any point, I’ll just threaten to throw Lucie in with the male prisoners, which she doesn’t know exist yet. Showing her footage of their antics with the female prisoners prior to them becoming Taliones should prove persuasive in that regard.

I am keeping the Primary Case heavily sedated whilst she goes through her internal metamorphosis. She is kept clean and cared for by the nurses, and I purposely leave the blinds in her quarters open to Tom can see her looking vulnerable. The anti-emetics in her drips mean she’s essentially a sleeping beauty waiting for him to swoon over her, or so I hope.

The young gay man we acquired is also proving a highly interesting state of affairs. His pelvic area is slightly distended, and whilst he is still in an induced coma, his body is doing some peculiar things. He is lactating colostrum with a secretion that’s not LT1, but similar in structure. It’s not a significant variance, and so we’re calling it LT1i, for now.  He is no longer vomiting, but his skin…sweats a yellow watery liquid which feels hot to the touch, but leaves no trace of a burn behind. That too contains LT1i, although only a scarce amount. We can only assume that it’s similar to the slime that parasites slither around in when infesting a rapist. Assuming his situation develops in the same amount of time as it would in a woman, he should be ready to merge in approximately two weeks from now. Again, we are not sure if that will occur, but all we have to do is wait.

 

PERSONAL NOTES.

November 11th 2017

Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero

(Partially transcribed).

Ed Sexby. That’s the informant’s name.  I might be suspended, but I have some of my own contacts who can get me information when red tape prevents me from getting what I need. Downside is I’m going to owe this chick big time. She got me everything, even his credit report and looking at it, he’s a fucking wreck financially. I’d rather not misuse that information, but I need to get in, and he’s likely already dead when he’s found out, and not by my hand. Harsh, but not unrealistic to surmi#\££#amp;para;£&>££$~###~##¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶

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PERSONAL JOURNAL.

November 15th 2017

Lucie

(handwritten).

The guy on the door, his name is Tom. Tom Edwards. Milton barked his name demanding assistance for someone who appears to have gotten into the facility from the outside, does this mean someone out there knows something weird is happening in here?

They weren’t gentle with her either, and Milton was ranting about someone called Saxby? Or was it Sexby, I can’t remember and I’m scribbling all this down so I have a timeline of the stuff I’m hearing. I think she’s in the room next door to me, they’ve got Tom on the opposite side of the corridor watching all three of us. His eyes are usually on Emma’s room, I can see the concern in his face from here. It’s kind of sad, I loathe the fact that he’s working for that…bastard Milton, but he’s watching over Emma in a manner that makes me think she might actually be safer from Milton with Tom around. It’s not like I can do a whole lot from here, and I’m fucking worried sick. They still won’t let me see her. There’s no need, they tell me, she’s sleeping. That doesn’t mean I don’t need to fucking see her!  

I can hear crashing about and banging on the walls from the next room. I don’t think our new resident is taking kindly to her new incarceration. She hasn’t been physically hurt that I could see, but they’ve riled her up plenty.  I don’t know what the fuck she is doing in there, but given the walls are pretty thick, it’s very violent.

The lead nurse told me I can come out of my room tomorrow, IF I stop asking about Emma and demanding to contact my family on the outside.  Too fucking right I’m going to leave my room, but if they think I’m going to give up on either of those things, they’re delusional.

PERSONAL NOTES.

November 20th 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

The last few days have been difficult at best.

We are currently holding Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero in our facility. We have a leak, and it would appear she has been colluding with them in order to get in here. We don’t know how much she knows at this point, but given her pushy demands for information over the last few weeks, all of which we denied, we can only surmise that her superiors denied her requests to investigate us, which resulted in her suspension from duty. Nobody with legitimate permission would attempt to get into the facility in such a ridiculous manner. It…helps when you have the Deputy Commissioner in your pocket to manipulate the right people into keeping things going the way you’d like them to. As far as he and the rest of the force are concerned, she is using her suspension time to ‘take a much needed holiday.’

She’s going to be staying here with us for the foreseeable future. I have yet to decide what to do with Sexby, as he was their informant. He is the reason she managed to get in here.  I need to know what he told them, and how long they’ve known.

Our male host is doing remarkably well. His vitals are excellent, and aside from the changes we have already noted, the only difference is a slight increase in abdominal distention, which now pulses softly. He is we hope, due in four days. Imaging shows a slight anomaly forming around the seminal vesicle, but nothing that explains the pulsing growth.

I have had to remove the male mercenaries from guarding the Taliones.  It has become evident that when they are…agitated they are able to immobilise men completely. That is unsafe to say the least. We almost had a repeat incident when we found Cavallero, the Taliones could sense something was going on, even from deep inside the facility. They haven’t properly settled since Emma’s re-impregnation, mainly because they can sense that Lucie is somewhat stressed worrying about her. If I don’t get this under control soon, I fear losing grasp of the facility won’t be our only problem. The female mercenaries I have assigned to guard them seem to have a calming effect, although I don’t know how long this will last. I have considered sedating the Taliones, although I am unsure how effective this will be given their current abilities. Whilst I was previously unafraid of them, I am becoming increasingly aware that I might have been a little premature with that judgement. From now on, only our female scientists will work in close proximity with them, with remote guidance from me if necessary. Given that the Taliones are all convicted prisoners, I would not like to think what they might do given too much freedom.

What to do about Cavallero…given the noise the Taliones made when she was bring ‘processed’, means I can’t apply any kind of pressure to her. I can’t sedate her because then she’s not going to talk. Even though the hissing the Taliones made was in the bowels of the facility, male staff all the way up here reported extreme nausea, intense head pain, and some actually vomited explosively at their workstations. When they did the same thing during Emma’s re-impregnation, reports from all over the facility came in with similar reactions. Whilst this was unfortunate, it will hopefully give some indication as to the radius of effect. I myself felt rather dizzy and nauseous, however I assumed it was one of the migraines I suffer with when I work too hard and sleep too little. Given that I was several floors up from the Taliones during both incidents, I imagine we can safely keep our male crew working here provided we maintain a workable distance. A little nausea and head pain shouldn’t be enough to halt their work.

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

November 26th 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

The male host survived. As hoped, he did undergo a metamorphosis which was…messy to say the least. The pulsing growth around his pelvic area started to ripple and flatten out, his body oozing copious amounts of the hot yellow secretion that we concluded was part of a cooling process. His temperature rose to 110°F, reaching far into hyperpyrexia, and yet somehow he didn’t crash. His ostomy bag swelled with thick black liquid to the point where we simply drained it into an open bucket. The stench was putrid and hung around in the air like a heavy blanket, causing several people to vomit. He remained sedated through the entire process, so it is as yet unknown how painful this metamorphosis would be in comparison to merging in female hosts.

Imaging revealed a small organism latched onto the seminal vesicle, slender tendrils spiral around and through the vesicle itself, extending down through the ejaculatory duct, and finally into the testes.  Extensive testing is ongoing to ascertain what its purpose is. We have theories, but it would be premature to speculate.  Given that there are plenty of highly violent male prisoners being held here, I imagine it will be quite easy to recreate this instance several times over, especially since some of them have a fondness for other men.

I may have a use for Sexby after all.

PERSONAL JOURNAL

November 30th 2017

Lucie

(Handwritten).

The lead nurse let me see Emma today, under the watchful eye of Tom.  She looks so frail but her belly is huge. God I despite Milton for doing this to her. She didn’t deserve this, nobody does.

The woman in the next room, I saw her briefly this morning. She was ranting at Dr. Milton, and he was doing his best to keep her calm, but it wasn’t working very well. I think she’s a police officer, from the language she was using and the way she talked about her chief, it seems like she shouldn’t be in here, but she found her way in all the same. I don’t know if it was the volume of her voice, but several of the men around her started to wince and clutch their heads, one of them even gagged like he was about to vomit. It was all very strange. Tom looked a little green around the gills too, but he managed to maintain his composure.

I don’t trust what’s going on. They’re letting me bunk up with the woman, her name is Valentina Cavallero. I was right, she’s a police officer, CID in fact. I don’t like this. The nurses and Dr. Milton have gone from being militant and cold to being relaxed and open again. I can see Emma whenever I want as long as Tom is there. They’re buttering us up and I don’t know why. Valentina is as suspicious as I am and is reluctant to talk to me in any detail, and I don’t blame her. She’s constantly agitated. Ohgod I can hear screaming from Emma’s room, it’s not her, it’s one of the nurses..

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

November 30th 2017

Dr. John Milton

(Transcribed).

The Primary Case subject Emma, has successfully merged. Even sedated, it was a disgusting affair to behold. One of the newer nurses couldn’t cope, and started screaming the moment black slime started spewing out of her. Granted, the stench is quite overpowering, but there are worse things to deal with in here. Oddly, Emma actually came out of sedation after her merge completed, which we were not expecting, but she has an eerie sense of calm about her, and she looks…different.

Her eyes are now yellow much like the secretions we have seen from various hosts. Her limbal ring is an intense magenta colour, whilst the whites of her eyes are quite brilliant and seem to lack any visible capillaries. Her hair and skin have a kind of sheen to them, which intensifies when she feels threatened. We haven’t seen this on (transcription incomplete)

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT:

INTERNAL EYES ONLY.

LEAD NURSE

DECEMBER 1ST 2017

(Recorded).

We are in chaos. Dr. Milton underestimated the capability of the Taliones. Emma, the Primary Case is some kind of Matriarch, the others in the basement stirred wildly when she was fully recovered. Valentina and Lucie, started screaming at Dr. Milton, and it set Emma’s Queen off. Ohgod, the noise. It doesn’t have any effect on women aside from our hearing it, but the men? ALL of the men dropped to their knees and were incapacitated. They were bleeding from their eyes and ears, some deafened with burst ear drums, and blind with pain.  Emma dragged Dr. Milton off with Valentina and Lucie in tow, further down into the facility.

She’s letting the others out.

Dr. John Milton

December 1st 2017

(Smartphone audio).

I am locked in a containment cell in the basement. Emma, clearly the Matriarch has…released the Taliones from holding. I can hear screaming from the male prisoners, I…don’t think they’re going to survive.  They all followed her immediately, like they knew she was The First, even though she lost her initial Queen.  I don’t know what they’re going to do with me. My head hurts, so much. It’s pressurised and I can feel it throbbing all the way into my throat. My eyesight is heavily blurred. Before they left me here, Emma’s tendrils protruded and left some of that same glowing secretion behind on my neck. I cannot stand up because my legs are like lead, and trying to move makes me vomit. I am essentially immobilised.

Emma  

December 1st 2017

(Smartphone audio).

All the men in the facility are either incapacitated, or dead, barring Dr. Milton, Tom, and the newly merged man I need to locate. Tom, even when temporarily incapacitated, was helpful once recovered. The Taliones are safe and comfortable in the main staff suites at the facility. Lucie and Valentina are anxious but eager for us to leave, but we can’t. Not yet. The female staff are bewildered and concerned about the men who are still alive, but we mean them no harm; if anyone is to blame for this situation, it is Dr. Milton who is currently spending some time in a cell in the lower levels. He used prisoners to experiment on like they were disposable. He is truly VILE.

I am sending Tom downstairs to attend to Dr. Milton, with strict instructions to provide food and water, but not to talk to him. The female mercenaries from the basement are now up here with us.  Dr. Milton can’t escape his cell, as I have the remote lock-down code, and nobody else is down there for him to manipulate. I need him alive.

I have this craving to protect the others, but something specifically about Valentina and Lucie is twisting me around inside. It’s not painful, it’s more a need to be close to them. Whenever I am within five feet of either one, my tendrils stir inside me, like I need to do something. I can’t seem to settle.

Something weird is going on with my hands. There are two small growths in the palms of each hand. They’re not painful, but a small opening almost like a lip is forming, and it’s leaking the same glowing liquid like the tendrils of my Queen. They itch when I get close to the other women. The Taliones don’t seem to have them yet. Is it just me? I should be afraid, but I’m not. I haven’t felt this secure in a long time. They have the same yellow eyes at I do, but only I have the magenta ring.

Dr. John Milton

December 2nd 2017

(Smartphone audio).  

Tom came down to me with food and water, but despite my attempts to talk to him, he wouldn’t speak. He shot me a look of pure disgust, and walked away. If they’re feeding me, they must need me for something, there’s no point in feeding someone you don’t want alive.

I am exhausted. Whatever Emma left on my neck isn’t weakening, and as much as I need to eat, I cannot stomach the food I was left with. I can manage water, but I cannot e..(broken audio)

Detective Chief Inspector Valentina Cavallero

December 2nd 2017

(Smartphone audio).  

The Taliones are amazing. The female mercenaries that were guarding them were given permission to leave, however they all declined, and wanted to remain with us at the facility.  The previously incapacitated men have been dealt with by the nurses onsite, and Emma had Tom drag Milton back up here to keep in a secure room. He needs to tend to Jack, the poor male sexworker who was horribly sexually assaulted. He’s only nineteen years old, and gods only know how many more like him are out there, lost and alone. I..(sound of phone clattering down to the floor with muffled voices)

Emma

December 4th 2017

(Transcribed).

Lucie and Valentina are in some kind of torpor, or that’s what Milton called it, god I hate having to keep him around the fucking horrible bastard. Tom watches him like a hawk. It’s been three days since anyone in the facility had contact with the outside world. I forbade Milton or any of the staff from contacting anyone until I figure out what to do with my Taliones.

When I touched Valentina to get her attention whilst she was dictating something into her phone, one of the growths from my hand shot out a fine tendril that quickly wrapped itself around her wrist, burrowing through the skin on her palm. It was so fast, I don’t know if it was painless. She collapsed to the floor and has been out cold ever since. Lucie came running and before I told her to stay away, she reached for me and the same thing happened. I couldn’t stop it.

The Taliones gathered around me and softly told me not to worry. They held out their hands and showed me they have the same tiny little lips forming in their palms. They said it’s okay. They say we can fix things now. What do they mean fix things?

Jack came out and told me the same. It’s the first time he’s spoken since he stabilised. He’s so quiet and gentle, I don’t know if he was that way before. He’s got the same growth, but only on one palm. Milton referred to his symbiotic organism as a consort, because it’s much smaller than our Queens.

What am I supposed to do with this?  

Tom came to tell me that fucker Milton somehow got a message outside. They’re coming for us. The country is in crisis, and they’re coming for us.

Jack

December 5th 2017.

(Smartphone audio).

Our Queen is giving Milton to my sisters..

They’re closing in on him now, all of them with their tendrils glowing and that beautiful hissing they make, I thought it would hurt but it doesn’t. Not now I have my little friend inside me. I feel so much better. They’ve gotten to him and they’re shredding his clothes, and now they’re clawing and ripping him away in great bloody chunks of flesh and sinew. His innards are fatter than I thought they’d be, how did they all fit inside him? His skin tears like wet tissue paper, and his screaming has gone from high pitched bloodcurdling, breathless shrieking to wet gurgling and…oh..

He’s dead now. They de-fleshed him in less than five minutes. I can see his broken and mangled bones glistening in the harsh light. I think I would have been sick before. Not now, not now. Everything is good now.

Bye bye Dr. Milton..

SNAILS

Part two.

You know those really popular snail jelly sheet masks from Korea that are all the rage right now? If you’re into advanced skin care, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Depending on where you are in the world, depends on how easy they are to get your hands on, and that also depends on how much they cost. I was dying to try one, but being a poor student, I didn’t really have a lot of money to spend on them.

I scoured the Internet for a bargain as I am wont to do, it’s part of life as a broke student. It was the early hours of the morning, and I was clutching a cup of lukewarm coffee during a break from one of my behemoth essays due by the end of the day. I was exhausted. Coffee wasn’t really cutting it, and because I was snatching naps of two to three hours at a time but not getting any real decent sleep, guzzling caffeine and surviving on cheap trashy food was my mantra. My body was taking a real hit in terms of being healthy. I looked drained and worn out. I WAS worn out, my skin was grey and scratchy because my diet had gone to shit, and I hadn’t felt fresh air or daylight properly for a couple of weeks.

Lazily browsing one of my usual Internet bargain haunts, an offer flashed up onscreen for a pack of five low cost snail sheet masks. They were the cheapest I’d ever seen, and in my sleep deprived and needy state, I quickly added them to my basket. I checked the horrific state of my bank account, and saw that I had just enough to cover the cost of them, especially since shipping was free on that site. I actually yelped with glee, and yes I know what you’re thinking; a typical girly girl freaking out over a skincare product win, nothing sadder right? Well see, I’m not usually the type. I don’t really care about accessorising or manicures, if my hair is in the current style, and whether my clothes are in fashion. I don’t really have time, and I definitely don’t have the money. However I do know when I need to do something to treat myself, and I was very badly in need of some self care. I felt I was allowed one small victory after the last couple of weeks slogging my way through this mind-numbing essay. I knew the masks would be with me in a couple of days, as they were really fast with their shipping.

Feeling inordinately pleased with my find, I set my coffee cup down, and decided that rather than trying to write a couple more hours into the night, that I’d actually go to bed before 4am for once. I felt hollow inside, a shell of myself floating between uni and my flat with occasional trips to the pound shops for craptastic food bargains. As soon as my face mashed into my pillow, I sank down into a deep, heavy sleep that not even the strongest coffee could have kept me from.

A couple of days later, they were laying there on the floor behind my front door in a dishevelled brown envelope. Again with the excited girly girl squeeing thing – I will admit I did it, but it was so out of character for me. Even in my exhaustion I was way too excited. I’d met my deadline, and decided that I very much deserved an evening of pampering and relaxation. My flatmate was working evening shifts, and so it meant I could hog the bathroom for a while and have a soak until my skin went wrinkly. Running a bath and tossing a home-made bath-bomb into it, I turned a mask packet over to read the directions, after glancing through mostly unrecognisable text to find English:

“Apply at clean face, leave for fifteen / twenty minutes maximum. DO NOT LEAVE LONGER TWENTY MINUTES.”  

I figured there was an error in translation, but understood what it was driving at.

That part must be really important, I thought to myself as the bath was filling up and scented steam was swirling around the bathroom. Putting the packet on the corner of the tub, I dipped my toe in to test the temperature, and stepped in, sinking down into the deep purple bath-bomb glittered water. It felt heavenly. I’d been taking super-fast showers every morning for the last few weeks, and had forgotten how wonderful it was to just spend time relaxing in a steamy room in hot water. I went through my usual cleansing routine, and finally unwrapped the mask. Unfolding it was a little fiddly, but I placed it over my newly washed face, pink from the steam of the water. It felt cool and soothing over my parched skin, and I closed my eyes and reclined against the back of the tub for the time it would take for it to take effect. Just being able to relax there in the quiet without having to worry about writing anything, and finally being able to reward myself, made me feel very content.

…which is about the point that I very stupidly fell asleep.

You didn’t see that coming? I’m kind of surprised. Add one exhausted student with suffering skin, to one gloriously deep and hot bath steaming with a combination of sandalwood and lavender scents from a bath-bomb, along with a soothing face-mask she’s been dying to try? Yeah. That’s not going to end well, is it?

I came round a couple of hours later, in a bath full of cold water by waking myself up snoring. My only saving grace was the fact that the tub wasn’t very long, so I couldn’t actually sink underwater and drown. I was freezing cold, and so any relaxing effect of the bath was now long gone, and my skin? My skin was not only wrinkled to allfuck, but it felt prickly and oversensitive because of the cold. Swearing to myself harshly, my hands flew up to my face, and I peeled the mask off my skin carefully. How long had I been asleep? I’d kept it on for waaaaay longer than was directed, but I didn’t think it would be THAT big a deal, right? Ohgod was I ever wrong..

The only part of me that actually felt good, was the skin on my face. It certainly wasn’t dry anymore, and though I was shuffling around the flat looking for layers of clothes to wear to get warm, I kind of saw it as a partial success. Sure, I might have been a weapons grade pillock and fallen asleep, but I did get to try the mask I’d been wanting to try for a while, and I DID deserve it.

Thirty minutes later, bundled up in two jumpers, a set of leggings, some thick striped socks and armed with a mug of hot chocolate, I was tucked into bed laughing at myself, and flicking through social media mindlessly before drifting back off to sleep. I was worried that I might have wrecked my sleeping pattern, but I was so exhausted that all it took to send me off again, was a belly filled with warmth. I didn’t stir until the following morning when my alarm shrieked viciously at me to wake up. I knew the moment I felt it rip through me that something was very wrong.

My head was absolutely killing me. I figured it was a side effect of falling asleep in the bath, and waking up cold and tense as fuck. Scrabbling around in my bedside drawer for some painkillers, I blearily crammed them into my mouth, and swallowed them with the remnants of the hot chocolate that was now stone cold. Nice breakfast there, champ.

I lay there for another hour, feeling quite dizzy and hoping the painkillers would have at least started to take the edge off, but no. I slowly pulled myself up, and felt profoundly nauseous to the point where I gagged, but nothing came up. Reaching up to my face to feel my forehead, my skin felt slightly clammy and weird. My temperature was way up, but my skin felt like quite the opposite. I moved very carefully to the bathroom, and peered painfully into the mirror without switching the light on. Light was too painful for my aching head.

My skin looked…textured in a way that wasn’t normal. It was still the same colour, but it was peeling a little bit, in the way that the soles of your feet do if you’ve been wearing trainers on a hot day with no socks. I winced at the pain in my head, and figured that this was just a side effect of leaving the mask on for far too long, and that I was just tense from coldness of the bath which was likely what was causing my headache, and subsequent nausea. I relegated myself back to bed, and moaned into my pillow, grateful for the fact that I didn’t actually have anywhere to be that day.

Several hours later, my headache hadn’t disappeared, in fact it had gotten considerably worse.  Clutching my head and fumbling around for my phone, I decided to text my mother, because I was feeling utterly rotten. Texting was interesting, because my eyesight was blurred, but thank fuck for auto-correct, right? Somehow, I mashed the right combination of letters in to ask for help, and waited in bed like I was expecting to die of a headache.

Half an hour later, and she was rattling at the front door with her keys, and clomping up the stairs in her shoes. The skin on my face felt weird. It was cold and sticky, but I just assumed it was residual from leaving the mask on to long, and also because I was getting sick. Neither my mother or I were prepared for what we were about to see. She pushed the door to my room open with the creak it makes, and quietly approached my bed, leaning in to get a closer look.

“What the…OH MY GOD Francesca, what the fuck is that?!”

It’s worth pointing out that my mother never swears. She just doesn’t. If she does, it means something is terribly, hideously wrong. She lost grip of her handbag and something else she was carrying, and dropped to her knees on the floor. She fought for her phone from her bag, and immediately called for an ambulance. I was quite delirious at that point, and had no idea what she was shrieking about. Her horrified protestations and tears were ripping through my head and causing me more pain than I’ve ever felt in my life.

I can vaguely recall being lifted downstairs on what I thought was a stretcher, and loaded into an ambulance, but that was it until I came around in what I assumed was a hospital unit. It was not. My mother was sitting in a chair in the corner, her hands wringing, with an expression of horror and tired red eyes that told me she’d not slept and had been crying heavily.

“Whereami..?” I tried to mumble but my voice cracked and broke.

My mother didn’t answer, but sniffed tearfully and pressed the button to summon a nurse. She stood over me, wanting to touch me, but being afraid to. I tried to open my eyes, but when I did, everything looked slightly milky like I was trying to see through fine wet muslin or something. I tried to lick my lips but they felt weird, and my face still felt sticky and cold when I went to touch it. A nurse quietly came into the room with an interpreter.

“Where am I?” I tried to say again, it not quite sounding right.

A woman’s voice spoke up, clear and sincere. I could hear another language that I didn’t recognise and flinched when I realised what the translator was for. I’d been sedated for the last week, after being flown out to Seoul, South Korea. I could hear my mother sobbing in the background whilst the interpreter explained the situation to me. The masks I’d purchased were cheap for a reason. They were not genuine Korean snail sheet masks, and were in fact some dodgy knock offs made in RUSSIA. FUCKING RUSSIA.

I remained silent as I listened to the explanation that the masks had some seriously unpleasant side effects if left on for longer than twenty minutes. They…do something to the skin, making it slick and produce mucous that resembles that of a mollusc. I hadn’t cause sight of myself since the day I blacked out in my own flat, so I had no idea what they were talking about. Everything muted around me, my head was filled with white noise and panic.

“Mirror..” I mumbled, or tried to.

Nobody moved. Absolute silence.

“MIRROR!!!” I squealed, with something sounding more squelchy than I’d like.

My mother hurried over with a small compact mirror she always carried with her, and slowly opened it, handing it to me. She told me not to scream, that it was going to be okay, and that they were treating me and things would go back to normal soon.

I didn’t hear any of that of course, because as soon as I caught sight of myself in the mirror, milky sighted or otherwise, I screeched in a way that wasn’t human, and it certainly wasn’t me. The nurse mashed the button above my head until two larger nurses came in to help ‘calm’ me down. My skin was…a dirty greenish brown colour that felt squishy and slimy to the touch. I was hyperventilating, and felt myself going lightheaded, involuntarily wetting myself with the stress of it all. The noises coming out of what I am guessing were my mouth were not human. What do snails sound like when they scream? Has anyone ever heard that? Are they even capable?  

I felt a needle enter a point on my neck, and moments later I was sinking into unconsciousness. In hindsight, that was probably for the best given my situation, I mean it’s not every day you find out your face resembled the texture of a snail.

I was not the only one.  Clueless westerners were buying these cheap fake Russian-pretending-to-be-Korean snail masks, and every so often one of us would have an accident and leave them on too long. It makes sense that the people who can fix it are none other than the brilliant people of Korea, of whom manufacture genuine high quality masks that give our skin a treat.  I was fortunate that my mother could afford to fly me out to their clinic, because there are some people who haven’t been that lucky and now have to live out their existence looking very peculiar indeed. I might be a poor student, but my family is not. I was the one who wanted to stand on my own two feet and not be a spoiled middle class white bratty kid who’s life was paid for by wealthy parents.

I’m told I’ll be fine in around six months. The treatment? I am sedated whilst dozens of snails ooze around my face, eating away the tissue that feels familiar to them. Once they eat through that, my own skin has to granulate and return to its normal state. This is a gradual process, the snails needing around ten sittings to do their miracle work. I am almost constantly sedated, because you really don’t want to be fully conscious whilst snails eat your face off, nor do you want to be awake whilst it grows back.

Please don’t ever buy cheap snail masks, no matter how good a deal they might look at the time, and if you do? Please make sure you take them off on time. I’m not quite the same. I can’t have any salt in my diet, it burns my skin. I have to keep my face moisturised with specially propagated mollusc slime to prevent skin desiccation, which isn’t helpful because now I’m absolutely fucking terrified of snails.

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.

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.