A desperate spin in the full three hundred and sixty degrees tilts and turn a sad face in every direction. There are no escape routes around the cresting wave of scuttling terrors.
I reaffirm nakedness increases the fright brought on by clicking claws and spindly, thorn- pricked legs. Covering my genitals with a free hand adds a fear of emasculation when a moment passes while I locate everything in its proper place.
I wish for someone other than myself to blame for this situation. Kristine would be an ideal transferee of responsibility. At the very least she could hold this baby.
As usual I have to do everything myself.
Slumping in sorry defeat, my shamed eyes drop to the red-skinned child. I’ve clamped her between an aching forearm and stomach to prevent her falling. She’d complain loudly about my inept handling if it weren’t for the mind-fog.
There’s no Disney moment when I examine her wrinkled face and touch the little fist grasping a handful of my chest hair. No fatherly instincts to magically channel Joe Bugner’s boxing prowess to enable me to punch the crap out of all who stand in our way.
To be fair there’re no reserves at all. I slosh the murky waters around inside me, looking for one last trick. Other than an excess of self-interest and a desire to hand this tiny, defenceless being to someone else, I’m quite empty.
The kid’s insignificant death will haunt me.
Not that the time span between her exit from life and mine will be protracted.
God, I’m so depressed my eyes tear up. It’s impossible to bolster morale when your testicles are dangling in the wind.
Clothing myself in obstinacy, I slap the Creep’s grasping hand away. The smarmy prick would be smirking at my about-face if Parasites could work human facial muscles. He persists in grappling for the kid, raising my ire.
I grow hot and energized, ready to take at least one more Creep with me before they get me.
‘Wait! His power stirs.’
Who the hell said that? I hear the word in mind speech.
Confusion seethes in my head but I know every voice that endlessly harps at, berates and ridicules my every move. This new voice is not a creation of my cracked mind. It is an intruder, muttering commands to a third party.
‘Do not take the new-birthed. If the meat enters of its own will, allow it passage.’
It’s the Mother’s tone heard through softened taffy.
Had the disconnection cut her off on the wrong side?
My body doubles in weight at the thought. I’m packed with cement.
Jesus, what the fuck...!
‘It senses us. Suppress it.’
The dreadful wrongness is instantly overtaken by a pleasant drifting sensation, reminiscent of a lithium dose. Gravity pulls at me and a malaise strikes swiftly, coiling around my heart.
The fog seeps into my shield!
Knowing what is happening and doing something about it are two different things. Overcoming bad trips from past overdoses partially allows me to manage the dizziness. I duck under the Creep's outstretched arm as he lifts the curtain, smoothly returning to the role of imperturbable butler. I stumble like a drunk. Blurry double-vision comes and goes. I find balancing difficult on the deceptively flat, solid floor.
‘Guard the entrance. Leave the meat to Us.’
I re-read the voice–pictures gliding past hazy inner-eyes several times. Believing my powers of deduction are more compromised than they actually are, the Mother whispers covertly to her underlings from behind my ears.
Regaining the lost sense of urgency and danger is a laborious task. I’m obstructed by a conciliatory voice counselling against trading its peace and tranquillity for stress and anxiety. Shunning the message, I slowly regain handholds on unhappiness and anger.
Goo lubricated feet skid on dirty tiles making me windmill an arm and grip the baby tightly before seeing the very opposite of horrors await a return of my composure. My mouth drops open and I stare.
Miss January does exist, and she’s standing in front of me, naked, blond and gorgeous. Two of her sensuous friends I dub June and April, sashay towards me, descending a gently rising terrace of rounded lava-like lumps and folds. Their catwalk poses along the way fully absorb my wide eyes that are double-timing over their curves.
“Bloody hell, this is unexpected.”
Paranoia is as dumbfounded as am I.
The fog uses the diversion to take gross liberties with my thermostat. Rage comes off the boil to become simmering irritation. The subsequent conversion of irritation to lust is undoubtedly explained by avarice for the female form rather than complex or clever alchemy on the part of a Parasite.
I’m awash with pleasant detachment once more. Straining straps that tie down my psyche are unbuckled, and hooks are gently disengaged from where they dig deep into tortured emotions.
Suggestions that I disregard the beasts behind these women’s dead eyes and stiff faces are readily accepted. Especially when the smooth voice flatters my prowess, and encourages me to lie with them; to be loved; to be fully satisfied.
Overcome with their beauty and promised orgasmic delights, I sleepwalk towards a four-way embrace.
The flooring changes from cold slippery tiles to something softer and warmer beneath my bare soles. I don’t waste a second to wonder why this is so. It would mean taking my eyes from swaying breasts and tapering thighs.
A soft whisper jars my drooling mind.
‘The meat is enamoured. Prepare the Melding.’
“Heeeeey man! Why are you still hearing that bitch?”
Oh, fuck off Paranoia. I’ll deal with it after I fulfil a foursome fantasy. A fantasy I didn’t even know existed until a few seconds ago.
“The Mother! It’s inside you. Look for the link. You can have sex later.”
But there is no later when it comes to sex.
Despite my distraction, the wavering Other-sight picks up the thin black thread stretching from the child’s head. I’ve only looked down to find a place to prop the kid while I got down and dirty with the ladies.
Bugger. Paranoia will be insufferable about being right again.
My attention is divided between the ladies, the baby’s freeloader and a new development of a thousand skittering legs and bodies bowing the roof of this private room.
I heft the slippery child again and sink several centimetres into the very soft and slightly warm flooring.
The women watch me closely, beckoning. Their pale skins glow against a dark background.
“I’m ready for you.”
It’s the over-used, robotic come-on from Miss June that releases me from their spell.
They aren’t women, they are sexy husks, filled with carnivorous creatures.
“I think I’ll pass.”
My regret is real though it does not fool the bulk underfoot which moves convulsively, knocking me from my feet. The heavy fall displaces the baby from my arms, deciding the matter once and for all.
The bloody baby comes first and the rest of these bastards can go to hell.
I commando crawl to the child as she rolls loosely on the heaving, cushioned surface. Gathering her into my arms strengthens my resolve.
Whatever we are standing on moves in waves. A massive heartbeat throbs through the skin under my feet.
I’m standing on something alive.
And something righteously angry.