The slurping sound echoed around the stark surgery. Only the hum of the overhead lights competed with the greedy sound. Every once in awhile a grating sound of bone against bone traveled down the hall.
“Must you be so noisy?”
“Of course. I always do as I must.” The creature spoke soft, and slow. Deliberate, with a hint of breathlessness, masculine in timber. It didn’t have a mouth and I couldn’t quite tell if it was my ears that heard it, or it spoke into my brain.
“If you’re too noisy, the guard might come. Then what would we do?”
“I could have another meal, a fresh one.”
My stomach flopped. How did I get into this situation again? That’s right, my ex, Ginger, bet me and rigged it so he would lose. What I didn’t know was the care of this worm alien was the prize. Bastard. Double bastard because he never paid me the hundred bucks he owed me from the same night.
“What is that… white crap?” Around the creatures open end, which was attached to the eye socket of a John Doe at the morgue, there was a spreading layer of thick white goop.
“Am I drooling? Sorry. Ginger never let me have them this soon.” It was a matter of fact statement.
“What did he do?” I didn’t mind giving the creature food, it’s not like we needed corpses after the person was already dead. Breaking into the morgue had been easier than I thought too, kind of exciting.
“He was good at digging in the dark, opening your dead people carriages of metal. Most were barely edible. The only thing better than this one,” the creature made a particularly loud slurp,” was the one time we happened upon a traffic accident and I got a brain meat that was still active. A delight.”
A involuntary shiver traveled up my spine. “So we’re just food to you?”
“Then what else?” I knew I shouldn’t have asked, but couldn’t help it. In for a penny…
“I’m looking for a good host. I have… eggs. They need the proper environment.”
“I shouldn’t have asked.”
“Will you continue to help me, or pass me on?”
Something about it’s confidence was irksome. Why did it trust humans so much? Why couldn’t I even visualize smashing it’s wormlike body? Anytime I willed that type of image into my mind, a flash of pain drove it from my mind.
“I haven’t decided.”
Something in it’s tone made my skin crawl, the hairs stand up on my neck. I saw a flashlight come on down the hall.
“Oh shit,” I whispered. “The guard is coming.” I reached toward the worm’s body, the thickest part about as wide as my palm.
“Do not touch me.”
“But the guard.” I found I could not actually grab the thing, no matter how hard I yelled at my hand to close on it’s body.
“Throw that white over us, I’ll pause the eating until the guard leaves.” I did as commanded, and that sent all sorts of alarms off in my mind. I’m not compliant. I’m my own person, have been all my life.
I ducked under a cabinet, and waited for the guard to poke his head in, sweep the room with his flashlight, and leave again. The keys on his hip jangled as he walked away, down the hall and back to another part of the hospital.
I rushed at the body, and threw the sheet off. The worm was bloated, more grotesque.
”Gently pick me up, and carry me to the suitcase.”
My body obeyed, even as I told it to stop, pause, try to figure out what was happening. “Why am I under your control all the sudden?”
The creature laughed, and it echoed off the stainless steel. Gooseflesh erupted all over me.
“I’m your progenitor. Human’s like to think they have science all figured out, but there’s a few steps they’ve missed. Also Ginger was smart enough not to give me a good meal, because my control grows exponentially when I’m full. If I keep you as my pet, I suspect you’ll try to starve me like Ginger did.”
“You sound different. Talk better.” My jaw was loose, and it was difficult to get it to behave.
“I do sound different don’t I? Brain matter transfers information as well as nutrients. Ginger never let me at a modern brain, smart one that one. I understand the internet, and a delightful thing called a meme. This society is all set up for my kind, distracted and full access to all history. Ripe.”
“No.” I planted my feet, and refused to take the last two steps toward the suitcase. Every fiber of will power resisted the irresistible urge.
“Oh, little Ima. Don’t misbehave.” The creature’s voice transformed into my stepfather’s, and I flinched away from it. It fell onto the polished concrete, with a satisfying squish, followed by faint wobble sounds that faded in a second. “Now, pick me up.”
Rage at my stepfather cleared my mind, and the creature instead using that voice. I grabbed the closest thing, a bedpan on a low shelf, and began to pound the worm into the ground. Each word punctuated with a sloppy smash. “Little. Fucker. Picked. The. Wrong. Voice. Didn’t. You. Die. Just. Like. He. Should. Rat. Bastard.”
The bedpan slipped, and instead of a thud, it crashed across the floor until the stainless steel cabinets. I glanced at the bloody, grey matter on the floor. Was the crash loud enough to bring the guard back? Boots ran into the hallway, and I made a beeline for my purse. I grabbed it, and sprinted to the back door. I had insisted to unlock it before I let the stupid worm feed, and I was able to rush out, quickly close the door, and then I went to work locking the door behind me.
It went off without a hitch, and I got into my car three blocks away. I took off my gloves, and removed the prosthesis across my forehead. I drove to the closest park, which was a make-out point. Three cars were there already.
A man dressed in all black got out of his sedan, and smoothly moved into my passenger seat.
“I killed it. They made a mistake.”
“Traces that can lead back to you?” His voice was low, and I wished we weren’t on duty. I resisted the urge to kiss him. Own underground organization had feared aliens would take over the planet for about a decade. It was serious business to us.
“Variable. No obvious traces. Depends on who investigates as usual. Ginger blindsided me.” I kept the tone professional, but inside I seethed as I thought about Ginger. It kept my mind off touching my partner.
“What was the tipping point?”
“They used my stepfather’s voice.” I stared out the windshield, the view of the city was quite nice up here. Lights shown through the ever present haze.
As the silence built between us, I felt the familiar shiver up my spine. I glanced over, and my lover glared at me, his hand, palm up, held another worm. It’s colors and patterns were different.
This time I couldn’t resist. I saw my lover’s lips, his tongue licked in enjoyment, as he fed me to his new master.