The exuberant shout turns to pain when eyes open to a blinding light not of my making.
I’m staring straight into the sun.
Shit, now I’m a blind God. Flaring spots accost my sight, obscuring the other-world vision of Parasite mind fog and angrily writhing tendrils.
The sheepish fall from Godhood couldn’t be more embarrassing. Fortunately my audience consists of unimaginative hosts and a few dopey victims who are too preoccupied to point and laugh.
The disturbance inside my head tapers off, though the brain is bothered by an unscratchable itch. Parts of my skull feel pressurised, others feel empty.
A fairly severe migraine headache also thuds on the left side. Blood pounds so hard I feel the pulse down to my groin. Next thing I know a raging and inappropriate erection will increase my discomfort.
However, I am somewhat uplifted. I’ve struck a blow for the little man, and I resolve to give this gift a workout, even if it does pinch a bit.
Putting expectations of the penis aside, I consider my position. An attack on, and damage to, something connected to the Parasites is bound to be scrutinized. Not to mention we are a conspicuous rock in the stream of hosts forced to flow around us. Sooner or later the wrong sort of attention shall be drawn.
A glorious walk out of here, sweeping aside adversaries with idle thoughts is tempered by a worry that my untested powers have a short expiry date. Even at the height of optimistic promise I take the long, pessimistic view. This unearthly phenomenon could abandon me just as quickly as it dropped in.
Stands to reason that an endowment of good luck, after all the bad luck I’ve had, should be viewed with the utmost suspicion.
My patient, motionless carriers adjust their grips again as their hands slide from dampened cowskin. Lightly spitting rain makes me slippery, but regretfully I retire the plan to disengage and run madly for my life.
I’ll have to do away with the six ‘P’s’. Prior planning may well prevent piss-poor performance but I would be winging it as usual.
My holders await orders deflected by my shield. Maybe I can give them the orders they hunger for. Getting us out of sight so I can consider my options would be a good start. A person of my stature certainly shouldn't be using the front entrance with the rest of these poor bastards. I need a special, superstar’s entrance, and I need it before the Parasites Paparazzi comes out to check why four hosts and their food have stalled in the parking lot.
The shopping centre is a sprawling affair covering several dozen acres. There’ll be plenty of back or side entrances.
I focus on my hosts and think a command.
One of them jogs right and I sense a silent rebuke from the others to realign his steps.
Not even tight, hot leather can contain the cold shiver of pleasure that runs through me from the partial success.
I try again, this time folding the command around each host simultaneously. They like group orders much better and trot off, veering in the direction I suggest. Ecstatic, I can’t help cackling madly. Other victims lift their heads with brief wonderment. Their interest is short-lived; lulled to indifference by an overbearing force I’m no longer affected by.
I prod my crew along, away from the packs and loners littering the wide open area around us. We trot around the shopping centre hugging the wall. I breathe a little easier as rusting sea-containers and overgrown fences hide us from scanning observers.
A hidden door hanging ajar from a long-ago break-in is discovered behind several concrete planters. Just the thing for a clandestine entrance.
It’s either a brave or stupid man who willingly steps into the lion’s den. My back decides the matter for me, screaming to be relieved of the sagging pressure my guts puts it under. If the interior contains horrors, at least I could face them on my feet.
Wow, where did that thought come from? Has this new power inserted a rod up my backbone. Might come in useful to keep me upright when I flee instead of cowering tearfully on the floor.
I express a kingly wish to pass through the bent door.
My lead man wrenches it fully open, grinding it noisily across the paving. There’s no subtlety in these beings. Inside is quiet and dark. A cool, dusty corridor stretches away ahead. The walls are lined with notice-boards and closed doors. Papers curl with age, printed with instructions to employees dead and gone. We tramp past too fast to read their proclamations.
“Hey! That’s far enough. Stop. Put me down.”
I send the thought command hastily, speaking to lend extra authority. My squad, unused to verbal orders, stumble then resume their march towards the public access areas.
Son of a bitch. I don’t want to be thrust out there into a throng of hosts. Pupils dilate to show shadowy movement and keen ears hear the whisper and echo of a thousand footsteps filling the wide thoroughfare.
We’ve reached the mouth of the corridor. One of us is in a panic.
I think the command very hard. My four come to a dead stop and all sound ceases. I unsquint my eyes and look up. Every single host in sight has stopped as well.
“Oh shit! You wankers have dropped me right in it.”
The prevailing fog returns unbidden to my second-sight. It is disturbed. I close real eyes again and see concentric ripples flowing outwards with me at its centre. I’d have to work on my subtlety too.
A black, snaking tendril appears, tapping each host in swift succession. Very slowly they resume previous orders, first with halting steps, then with more conviction until once more all bodies move about their assigned duties.
I whisper a think at my four. They reverse, moving feet in concert until we are wrapped in the corridors dimness. Almost immediately another questing psychic tendril, black as sin, enters our space, seeking the source of the disturbance.
Last time, closing myself up only brought the damn thing nearer. I try a different tactic, remaining motionless in thought and body. As I let go I feel drawn to the mind of a leg holding host, the susceptible one who moved before the others at my first command. I enter like a house-breaker who finds all doors wide open.
Inside, is peaceful. An emotion-free zone. My headache lifts in the atmosphere of no concerns, boredom or excitement. Ensconced in its host and adequately fed, the Parasite wants for nothing.
I feel for its hovering presence. A still and deadly watchfulness withdraws deferentially when I reach inwards.
A youthful Parasite regards me with total submission from a grovelled attitude. Its lack of malice suggests it is unaware of my humanness. My existence must resemble one of its superiors. One who makes house-calls. To keep the status quo I do not address the low-ranked Parasite, turning arrogantly away instead to peek out the host’s eyes.
I am treated to a view of my Ball of Clearness holding fast around us as the tendril brushes against it. The smoky appendage caresses the impenetrable covering without pause and I am certain the shield is not a unique creation of mine. The tendril withdraws, seemingly satisfied.
One of the front hosts breaks the breathless silence with a fart. A long, loud, and wet sound accompanied by the foulest smell. I am drawn back into my body to choke on it.
‘Put me down! Put me down!’
They don't want to.
Crawling into my pet host’s mind again relieves me from the smell and I sense the Parasite inside waiting for a specific reason to do as I bid.
It appears they’ve never been told to free meat before and, being creatures of habit, they are reluctant to change.
It’s a problem I overcome with my old standby, brute force.
The next time a leg holder loses his handhold I kick out with all my pent-up aggression.
The back two drop me. My knees crash to the concrete on padded leather. Smashed toes strike the ground a lot harder. Angry now I bear down with my arms to pull free from the front two.
‘Let go, motherfucker!’
Either I am more weight than they can handle individually, or my abuse has some effect. Whatever the case, I am free to massage my sore shoulder joints and groan a bit.
Kneeling in the middle of four hosts is unnerving. I stand and sidle between them, keen to reassert some personal space between us.
The biggest host ruins my slinking abscondment by taking hold of my shoulder in a meaty fist.
He squeezes hard into the nerve bundle causing untold pain and leans in with teeth bared.