Fear of emasculation weighs heavily on my mind; a fear pre-empted by my unclothed exposure to those sharp, clicking claws and raised, thorn-pricked legs. The hand I use to cup my manhood unconsciously squeezes, negating its inadequate protection with pain.
I moan deep in my throat and wish for someone other than myself to blame for this situation. Kristine would be an ideal scapegoat. At the very least she could hold this damn baby. As usual I have to do everything myself.
Slumping in sorry defeat and disgrace, my red-rimmed eyes drop to the blood-streaked child. I am cradling her awkwardly. It’s a sure bet she’d complain loudly about my inept handling if not for the mind-fog.
I examine her wrinkled, monkey face, and touch the little fist that strongly grasps a handful of my chest hair. But there’s no Disney moment; no magical fatherly instincts to lend me super-human strength so I can punch the crap out of all who stand in our way. There are no reserves left at all. Murky dregs slosh around inside me. There is there nothing left within that I can use to perform one last trick.
Well… I have got a huge surplus of fear, sorrow and self-interest. These accounts are full of emotionally charged cheques. Their dishonoured status will not be waived after my dead body rots, and I suspect this innocent kid’s insignificant death will haunt me beyond the grave. I’m so depressed I come close to tears. It’s impossible to bolster my morale, particularly when your testicles are dangling in the wind.
While I zone out in self-pity the Creep guide reaches in to take the child. I see and react; clothing myself in obstinacy, growing hot with a last ditch effort, ready to take at least one more Creep with me before I fall under those crawling monstrosity’s claws.
‘Wait! Its power stirs.’
The harsh mind-speech seethes. It occurs in my head as if heard from another room.
‘Do not take the new-birthed Meat from it. Bring the Fruiting Meat. Make it enter.’
It is the Mother’s tone, filtered through softened taffy. I’ve been careless. When I raced back into my body somehow She has tagged along. She draws on my power source, manipulates my depression, and encourages my feelings of worthlessness. Little did She know that I don’t need any help with that at all.
‘It senses Us. Suppress it further!’
The dreadful rising wrongness is instantly overtaken by a pleasant drifting sensation, reminiscent of a lithium dose. Gravity pulls at me and a malaise coils around my heart. Fog seeps through my failing shield.
Despite knowing what is happening, doing something about the intrusion is extremely difficult. I strain to manage the brain-numbing effects of Her concerted will.
Under another’s control, my body leans and steps forward. The attendant Creep smoothly returns to his imperturbable butler role, lifting the netting so I may stumble inside. Like a drunk I enter their palace, blinded by a double-vision that comes and goes. I sway on the deceptively flat and solid floor.
‘Guard the entrance. The Meat shall not leave.’
I re-read the voice–pictures gliding past my hazy inner-eyes several times before they make sense. The Mother’s covert whisper to Her underlings barely registers due to my compromised state.
Regaining an appropriate sense of urgency and danger is a laborious task. The Mother senses my struggle and switches Her attention back to me, counselling in a conciliatory tone against trading the peace and tranquillity She offers for the stress and anxiety of harsh reality. Shunning the message, I regain a handhold on unhappy fright and bitter anger.
The repellent goo I slapped all over me is slowly dripping down my overheated skin causing lubricated feet to skid on dirty tiles. Swearing, I windmill one arm to maintain balance, and grip the baby tightly.
Several Hosts enter the chamber in time to watch my impromptu dance. They are the very opposite of the horrors I expected to see in here. Regaining my balance and composure, I gawp openly at them. They are the most beautiful women I have ever seen.
Miss January does exist, and she’s stands directly in front of me; naked, blond and gorgeous. Two of her sensuous friends, who I favourably dub June and April, sashay towards me, descending a gently rising terrace of rounded, lava-like lumps and folds. They adopt catwalk poses along the way to fully absorb my wide eyes that double-time over their curves.
“Bloody hell, this is a bit… unexpected.”
The diversion takes gross liberties with my thermostat. Rage comes off the boil and simmers down towards my groin. The speedy conversion of hate into lust needs no complex alchemy on the Parasites’ part to achieve.
I’m awash with pleasant detachment once more. The straining straps that tie down my psyche are unbuckled, and fish hooks are gently disengaged from where they’ve dug deep grooves into tortured emotions. A mind full of suggestive images disregards the beasts that lie behind these women’s dead eyes and stiff faces. The suggestiveness is reinforced by a smooth voice that 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. My bare soles tell me when the floor changes from cold hardness to something softer and warmer. I don’t waste a second wondering why this is so. Doing so would mean taking my attention away from swaying breasts and tapering thighs.
A soft whisper jars my drooling mind.
‘The Meat is enamoured. Prepare the Melding.’
‘Heeeeey man! Are you hearing this bitch at all?’
Oh, fuck off, Paranoia. I’ll deal with that problem after I fulfil a foursome fantasy. A fantasy I hadn’t even constructed until a few seconds ago.
“The Mother! She must be inside you. Look for the link. You can have sex later.”
I scoff at this absurdity. There is no later when it comes to sex.
I look away for a second, but only to find a place to prop the kid while I get down and dirty with the ladies. Despite the distractions, Other-sight interrupts my insatiable need for intercourse when it shows me the cotton-thin, black thread stretching from the child’s head.
So, they are using the baby as a conduit to get into me. That’s a bit of a Bugger. Paranoia will be insufferable prick about this.
My attention is divided and the ladies’ charms spoil slightly without the Mother’ reinforcement. Less encumbered hearing returns me further towards reality as a thousand skittering legs bow the roof material of this private chamber. I heft the slippery child again and we sink several centimetres into the very soft and slightly warm floor. The women watch me closely; beckoning. Their pale skins glow against a dark background.
“I’m ready for you.”
It’s that robotic come-on from Miss June that releases me from the spell. Is that the best line the Parasites can come up with? Sure, I don’t usually need much encouragement, but these sexy husks are filled with carnivorous creatures.
“I think I’ll pass.”
Rejecting them upsets the surface underfoot. It moves convulsively, knocking me from my feet. The heavy fall displaces the baby from my arms. The second our bodily contact is broken I am instantly weakened. I commando crawl over the heaving, cushioned surface and gather her back into my arms, revelling in the rush of pure energy she delivers to me.
The child doesn’t appear hurt but I cannot check her over as the surface we stand on pulses and bulges in great waves. Also a massive beat throbs through my feet. I think I’m standing on something alive. Something huge. And something righteously angry.