A few days later, despite my reluctance to move, a roof visit is forced on me. Kristine runs into the lounge room, flustered and scared. I’m filled with foreboding as I lumber after her, shouting questions she won’t answer.
I catch up with her at the telescope which she directs at the activity outside our gates. A constant flow of Creeps are passing in both directions. A civil demonstration, less placards and bullhorns. After several minutes of hard examination we agree they aren’t attacking. They don’t even know we are here, although most probably they are searching for us.
I imagine their response is similar to bashing in an anthill. The soldiers have spilled out and are scouring the area for enemies. I lay this analogy on Kristine.
“We went into their nest and came out again. I bet no-one else has ever done that. Must have made them mad.”
Over the next two weeks we keep a close watch on the numbers. Each day we record less of them, though we remain very cautious and on edge.
The air hangs heavy with tension.
For two very dissimilar people, thrown together by circumstance, we manage to coexist without too many fights. It helps that Kristine makes more allowances for me than I do for her. That’s not to say she doesn’t have her own annoying quirks. One of those includes an insistence on discussing subjects I would run a mile to avoid.
The Parasites and I have come to a one-sided agreement. They stay outside, we stay inside and all will be well. Kristine won’t be satisfied with this status quo. She pressures me to participate in brain-storming sessions which, to me, involve a lot of internal thunder and lightning and staring off into space.
“Why do you think infested people hang around places they know from before? Do you think they might have some sort of residual memory?”
“I do. You said you saw nurses at a hospital, a cop still in uniform standing next to a police car...”
“Do you take notes of stuff I say or something?”
“I was reading your notes, actually. Some of them are very interesting. It could be important.”
“That was a long time ago.”
“I want you to think about it Sam. Your brain can be useful, even if you are trying to wreck it.”
“It’s pretty wrecked now, so don't expect too much. OK. If you’ll leave me alone afterwards. Where did you find my diaries, thought I lost them ages ago? Mind you I can’t find anything now the place is so tidy?”
“I’ve sorted your notebooks into date order and put them into the bookshelf where they belong. Here’s the one I was reading.”
“Give it over. Right, yeah, I remember this… ‘I have come across several Hosts who stand very still. They invariably move towards me on sight but they’re slow and easily outrun, or dealt with by headshots.’ No, that’s not it. Here we are. ‘I have noticed fresh Hosts gravitate towards their old places of work or a place they lived, as if seeking something familiar. The Host may stay close to this place for months, being fed by other Hosts until they eventually trot off somewhere. Perhaps they are made immobile until the Parasite inside them takes full control.’ That’s all I wrote. I never really followed up on that.”
Kristine grows quiet, very distant in deep thought. I approve and surrender myself back into my own swirling mind.