I’m back in the moment, things are beginning to gel. I’m quite alert, quite high, and I’ve got my head stuck deep in the pack while I poke around considering what to dump. No more rifle means no need for these rifle cartridges. I toss several boxes out.
Can’t see shit in this helmet.
I pull it off, feeling guilty about breaking Rule 18. ‘Do not proceed outside without protection.’
Ah yes, much better. The cool breeze in my wet hair is incredible. Screw Rule 18.
I find bullets for the pistol and squat against the shop wall to reload, scanning the overgrown car park for movement every few seconds.
Rule 1: ‘Never travel with an empty weapon.’
I had a lot of Rules. Mostly I just made them up on the spur of the moment. Rule number one had a sound background. Stupid to carry ammo on your back if your weapon was empty.
I take out of my squeeze bottle and gulp from it. The second mouthful is harder to swallow than the first. Straight vodka with a bit of lemon juice. I hadn’t packed any water. If all had gone to plan I’d be home getting wasted by now, not lost in the suburbs.
This would have to do, I’m damn thirsty.
A sound interrupts my impromptu piss up.
A nauseating, wet, tearing sound. And it’s coming from that dead body.
Granny’s head rolled over to face me.
I eyed her closely. She couldn’t be alive, could she?
My throat refuses to swallow. Vodka spills down my chin. I slowly lower the bottle and reach for the Ruger which I point at her. I sneak in for a closer look. She stares at me with dead eyes. I stare back with scared ones.
Woah, what the fuck was happening to her neck. Her wrinkled throat swelled until the skin stretched tight. Something moved in there, struggling upwards.
Her lips open.
I try to blink and can’t. My eyeballs aren’t willing to miss a single second after they spot the woman’s teeth shift. I realise they are dentures. This does nothing to quieten my fear. SOMETHING is behind them pushing them out between her lips. The top plate tumbles to the ground. A grey growth covers them. The bottom plate works its way out in a similar fashion and clatters next to its twin.
I couldn’t draw a breath, this was too much. I should shoot her in the face, but it didn’t seem right to just blast away.
Two slimy, black, miniature pincers slide between her gums. They grip the upper and lower lips and lever her mouth open. I see them cut into soft flesh. Her jaws spread wide in a silent scream.
I join her with one of my own. My throat is still locked and won’t release the real scream that’s building in there.
Nasty looking spiky legs extend, the pincers hook into her soft cheeks and pull hard. The claws release leaving tiny incisions then renew their grip further out. The exposed pencil thin segments are now longer than my fingers.
It stops pulling and waves its legs around like antennae. They are waving in my direction.
Could it sense me, or was it stuck?
I took a step closer. So this was the infamous Parasite. The world destroyer. The first one I’d ever seen. I’d always imagined they were slug-like animals or something like an octopus. This thing had legs like a...well, like a spider.
I don’t like spiders much. Hate them. I’m terrified of them in fact. Judging by the legs on this one it was a very large spider.
I leaned really close in sick fascination. Who wouldn’t want to know what mankind’s most dangerous enemy looked like?
Right now my brain is failing to do its job. It’s supposed to remind me what happens to overly curious cats. I’ve got a feeling it was paying me back for warping it with drugs and alcohol.
My face twists in revulsion yet I feel safe enough. I move the Ruger closer to the dead woman’s gaping mouth. As soon as that slimy presence hunched in there shows itself, I’m blowing it away.