The funeral was a quick affair. Grady and Amy were presented with an urn, filled with the ashes of Brett. He had never been a religious man so they simply spoke about him. Afterwards Grady and Amy mourned him together, listening to music he liked, drinking and sharing stories about him. During the presentation of the urn they saw the new Brett, he was scrawny looking, almost emaciated. He didn’t look at them, it calmed Amy to know that the creature inside could feel shame, even if there was no real remorse. The others were brought out too, excluding Simon and Joey, though none of them knew Brett as he was.
When it ended, Amy had made her decision. Frank had been talking about sending them out on a mission soon, though he wouldn’t explain exactly what that would entail, he had stopped their training sessions a few days before and since then Amy was surprised at how tense she was, she hadn’t realised that the training provided an outlet for her stress and fear, Grady too was on edge with everyone, snapping at them and yelling about almost anything, as though she was trying to get someone to fight her. Amy had been trying to spend time with Joey, as he seemed to be more withdrawn and quiet, he had been allowed to see his father regularly, though Joey confided in Amy that his father mostly sat around during the visits, Amy suspected he was being drugged. Grady continued to pull away, seemingly becoming more and more enamoured with the whole place. Things had been tense between them since Frank had introduced an element of competition during their training, pitting them against one another in faux battles, Grady had won some, Amy had won others. Grady seemed to have difficulty throwing off the losses, seeming to hold it personally against Amy. Amy found it difficult to just let Grady win, during the scenarios it became intense, but she could let it go afterwards.
Frank was starting to feel more comfortable around Brett, each time he visited he would give Brett new, permanent commands to ensure loyalty and to prevent Brett from perverting any orders. He wasn’t ready to let Brett out on his own for things, but he was getting closer to it. It would be a simple matter to insert a tracker into Brett and once he was out with a command team they’d be able to report back on his actions.
They had been gathering at the doors more frequently now, Brett had noticed it when he woke in his new body, before he had been too distracted, every time someone walked in or out of the door he caught a glimpse of at least one. Of course it wasn’t like they could harm the people, but it was a worrying development. He wasn’t supposed to be trapped like this for long periods, neither were the others. The creatures must be sensing them. The creatures couldn’t kill them of course, but they could cause a lot of damage, particularly if they were not caught in time. He’d need to be careful, damn parasites. He considered talking to Frank about them, but Frank would probably think he was lying, or that it was some kind of trick. He had been feeling tired and sluggish in the new body and he wasn’t sure why. Sure it was going through physical withdrawals but he was able to deal with that easily, it wasn’t a physical tiredness, it transcended that. He felt it in his core. The body was damaged already, weak, as was the mind, usually the people he chose were strong, he hoped that the body would begin to improve with good diet, though he planned on getting a newer one as soon as possible. Of course that wouldn’t be possible for a few months at least, not with Frank being so overly cautious.
He shivered slightly as one of the nurses entered, he could feel it inside her just barely. A small bandage was wrapped around her hand. He wanted to reach out and touch it, stoke the pain, making it blinding, but he couldn’t. He sat quietly as she took more blood from him.
“What did you do to your hand?”
“I slipped with a knife, pretty silly really. It’ll be fine in a few days.”
she placed the vial of blood onto the tray she had carried in.
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m not surprised really, you’ve been through a lot.”
Brett wasn’t sure if she meant the body or himself.
“Let us know if the withdrawals get too much, we can give you something to ease it.”
Brett wasn’t going to request anything, he wanted to be clear headed. He could feel the stirrings inside, smiling, he waited until the nurse left then he lay down on the bed and closed his eyes.
He found the dark chamber. When he entered a wave of pain and nausea hit him, the junkie was realising what was happening, that he was trapped. The pain was delicious. It wasn’t quite the same as going for someone outside, but it would have to do. The junkie started to scream, it would be a long, long time before he’d be allowed to stop.