The ‘food pit’ images have such unfavourable connotations.
It’s a cosmic joke at my expense. Won’t destiny ever allow me a choice of death? I mean, I really think living under the Parasite’s heel at the cost of servicing several hundred luscious ladies is doable.
At least give me the option.
I send an arrow of dissatisfaction at the complacent beam which has decided my fate. I’m surprised when it recoils as if slapped. I chuckle shortly as it runs away, but it doesn’t go far. A foreboding precedes its return under the wing of something very powerful and distrustful.
Whatever has been fetched, squeezes painfully into my head through a hole too small. Once inside, my essence is crushed to immobility by its bulk. This dark entity holds me down with clawed feet while other talons strip my mind apart, rummaging for the weapon that hurt its underling.
Of course I scream uselessly. I scream inside my head and I scream outside too. It is death of a thousand cuts. The pain of every injury and negative emotion I have ever felt in my crappy life is revisited.
The creature ignores these sounds. It doesn’t even gloat over a victim’s cries.
With strength dwindling I summon a last thought and load it into a catapult not yet smashed.
‘This is MY head, get the fuck out!’
The interrogator lifts a dripping snout as the echo of a mind-shout bounces off its scaly hide. It isn’t harmed in the slightest, yet the hesitation and fear I sense before it swiftly departs is extreme.
The stretched hole at the crown of my head slows a rushed escape. It calls urgently for support and retribution while struggling to free itself from the constriction.
Why was it so scared?
Before an idea of what just happened can be formed, I am smothered by other forces slamming through the abused brain-box entry. They bring whips to thrash an offender who dared lay hands on their master. An accumulated layering of cold minds crash onto mine, flattening it pancake-thin while they finish the job of mincing my brain.
Bitterness heats my guts. I’m a goner this time. I can’t possibly throw this many off. A block of metallic-tasting bile coats a tightening throat. Holding it in will only make the begs for mercy louder in the end.
Somewhere inside my head, an unsafe vessel strains to contain the extra volume of distilled emotion. Internal fireworks sputter and whizz about, striking powder-kegs of terror and hate. Flames normally dampened by desolation and fear flare with nitro-glycerine rage until infernos erupt around the vestiges of thin detestation.
The mind violators are also scorched. They squeal but do not flee. Their duty, to suppress me or die trying, is too strong.
Strangely, an effeminate, sane facilitator I don't have much use for is free to hurry about. Instead of helping, it wastes time pointlessly petitioning against the Parasites destruction and patting ineffectually at the burning embers of demolished brain functions.
I’ve always thought sanity would be useless in a time of crisis.
The Parasite minds are in a frenzy of destruction. They can’t find my off switch. All the partitions are down and they’ve ballsed up a haphazard filing system. Now they start on the floor, digging into parts I didn’t know existed.
They find something down there. One runs to tell the master.
A giant force peeks into my skull but will not enter. I feel its fear and impatience, and then hear the liquid voice boom in my ears.
‘Leave the meat. It is too dangerous. Leave. Have it torn apart and fed to the lowest.’
They are hasty in their departure.
Torn apart. Teeth and fingernails in my flesh. Nooooooo. Please, won’t somebody do something?
No, I don't suppose they will.
Although badly rattled by the disassembly, I drag myself to the hole dug into living memories. There’s something flashing at me at the bottom of the bloody mess. The depths of old levels no longer needed flash by and more that have never been used are exposed. So much wasted space.
Deep within myself I discover the metal-skinned balloon they find repugnant. Its exposure by sharp claws has not dislodged it from the tight hold of fleshy veins. It swells with pressures well outside a safe working range.
There is a button on the top. A glowing red one. A self-destruct I’d rather press than feel the tearing of my limbs.
I punch it with a choked cry of defiance.
A mental explosion rips through me. The violence would rival a nuclear bomb.
Something vitally important gives way before my comprehension whites-out in a blast of screams and hoots.
Then... I am floating serenely outside my body. Spinning slowly in the aftermath of brutal expulsion. Yet I remain tethered to the sack of meat being laid on the ground below by Creep carriers.
Well! Ummm. Jesus Christ!
This is a new experience. No drug tried so far has replicated this feeling before. Now what do I do?
Bug-eyed I watch my body convulse, shocked by brain damage and the shedding of its driving centre. My red face is upheld in a rictus of a silent scream.
More Creeps are closing in to do the butchery ordered. Their blank glances at the misbehaving carcass are telling. Prisoners are expected to display a more subdued demeanour at this point in the proceedings.
Whether I’m alive or not, I still don’t want to watch myself be eaten.
Should I get back in there and fight, or leave to find a better place?
No instructions are forthcoming from a higher power so I adhere to the old adage of ‘it’s better the devil you know’.
This ghostly outline I inhabit has no weight. Breast-stroking spastically seems to move me towards the twitching body. I redouble these efforts, ‘swimming’ towards myself with the thrashings of a drowning man. As I touch the centre of my chest, the place the tether is attached, a sucking sensation draws me inwards.
I am slammed home.
The transition of deep calm to the party raging inside is disorientating. The stuff of my make-up so recently torn apart is being remade with wild abandonment.
A blast of bad memories becomes festive confetti that sprinkles about the new works.
A cold raging fire lights my upper reaches.
A streaming, raw flood of emotion washes ragged wounds.
It’s on par with a first orgasm. Frightening contractions that never seem to end. A mind-quake in shattering technicolour sound.
I release myself to the festivities, throwing up hands to revel and frolic in chaos.
The binding honey and silk ropes of the Parasites mind-net are confounded by the turmoil. Its soothing siren call is ripped from tight handhold by an uncontrollable emotional cyclone.
Filaments connecting brain to body are torn by these same winds. They whip, crack and twang. A vast and ponderous breakaway takes place. A bridge of neurons swinging over an endless gulf docks at a station never before used, yet made specifically for it. Traffic resumes into a new part of town. Nerves react to high-voltage currents arcing along fresh connection.
The repressing, outside force is suddenly gone. I am instantly becalmed in a sea of wounded nerve endings. The detritus of riotous celebration flutters away in the sudden stillness to find roosting places.
Awed, I open a brand-new mind’s eye and see the world as never before revealed. A dark fog rolls away and is held at bay by the invisible pressure of thought alone. Using an intuition previously unavailable, I recognise the substance.
A mind-cloaking device. A Parasite construction.
I notice the Creeps coming to tear me apart seize when cut from their drip feed of reinforcing orders by this clear wall of exclusion. I experiment, pushing the barrier outwards then sucking it in to expose and isolate the Creeps who are keen to partake in the impromptu feast. They falter and run down like confused clocks suffering reoccurring power outages.
For a moment I lie still, surrounded by halitosis, demanding hands and staring eyeballs. Above us the sky is filled with an alien sight. Tens of thousands of skinny black tendrils, kilometres long, wave delicately in the fog. They dip to drill into the head of every Creep within its radius by turn, delivering messages and receiving information. The tendrils gulp data, delivering it to the root of a massive central trunk that disappears into the shopping centre’s roof.
The one that hurt me lives there.
Creeps really do have stinky breath. My nose hairs are shrivelling.
‘Go away. The meat is all gone. Go about your business.’
I think this inept command at the closest Creep. He stands up straight and walks away. I am pleased beyond belief at the success and direct the thought at another and another until all but the four closest to me are gone.
A tendril plunges into the heads of each expelled guest as they leave my sphere of influence. Their belief they’ve eaten the troublesome meat is relayed and new commands are given.
Some say imitation is the fallback position of the unimaginative but I’m too tired and hurt to worry about originality. As such, I form a copy-cat tendril which snakes to the barrier protecting me. I poke its tip out into the menacing fog, ready to pull back at the slightest provocation. Nothing happens. I wave this octopus arm around and determine there is no strong intelligence behind the dark substance.
It is a passive measure, a blanket thrown over all and sundry. Interestingly it doesn’t have a reporting mechanism. Presumably, as long as I don't cause too much fuss, this mind-cloak emitter’s boss will remain ignorant of my survival.
Released to my own devices I’m unsure what to do. This incredible discovery requires dissection and closer examination but right now I should be exploiting my sudden good fortune.
I’m almost too scared to take the risk.
Except, I’m too scared not to.
Closing physical eyes enhances the all-seeing one. The world overlaying this material one sharpens as the other dims. The filmy mass that does not belong fills space in every direction. It flows outwards very slowly from an unseen broadcaster.
I expand awareness in the direction of its source, stretching out a sneaky, psychic probe, instinctively fashioned in watery silver. The malformed object bumbles off, nosing cautiously between the tendrils like a kicked, hungry dog sniffing around the circumference of a leg’s swing.
A tendril waves too close and touches the clumsy probe. They spring apart with shared shock. My probe scurries back along its tether, ignoring attempts to shoo it away. I reabsorb it thanklessly and we are revealed.
Learning witchcraft on the fly is bound to be riddled with mistakes.
The Parasite tendril investigates. Deliberately I enfold myself like a flower retracting petals for the night, and try to convert tiresome terror into commonplace fright.
The fog rolls in on the vacuum left behind and the remaining hosts rise from their crouched positions.
A questioning force taps at my armour.
I look inside myself for more bombs. None of those left. I have a plentiful supply of boiling hate, why not use it? With difficulty, this stuff is malleable enough to roll and compact into a tight ball. Held suspended in my mind’s eye it glows threateningly. I open the shield and throw the globule out.
A grenade into a mind-field.
The waiting tendril lashes in to grab the offer and withdraws to examine its find. I detonate the substance with another hard thought. The tendril’s tip is blown apart, disintegrating along its entire length to the trunk. It falls as black rain, evaporating before hitting the earth.
Hooray, I killed it! And I’m a telepath! A real live psychic warrior! Me!
“I AM A GOD!”
I shout at the world.
“Let there be LIGHT!”