Parasite. Short Story.

Shelly’s stomach clenched as she heaved again, her stomach was sore and her throat burned, she gasped for breath, then threw up again. By now there was nothing but a thin, mucousy gruel, as it was there wasn’t much to throw up when she started, but her stomach kept clenching, there was something in there it was trying to get rid of. She hadn’t eaten anything off in the last few days, nothing that could have given her food poisoning, no one she knew had a vomiting bug and it wasn’t like any other time she’d had one. Tears were running down her face and thin strands of mucous dripped from her nose. She grabbed a tissue and wiped off her face, trying to slow her breathing as she did so. It seemed to be over, it had finally stopped. She felt weak and vaguely dizzy, she knew she needed fluids, but she didn’t know if she’d be able to keep them down. Her stomach clenched, this time something was coming up. When it finally stopped she looked in the toilet and saw a long, wriggling mass of white. It looked like a giant worm. She heaved again at the sigh of it. She flushed the toilet, horrified and wanting it away. The room started to spin, before she could do anything, Shelly passed out onto the cold tile floor.

When she woke again she didn’t know how much time had passed. She was confused and shaky. Slowly she sat up again. She had been sick, there had been something in the toilet. She shuddered and carefully looked inside the bowl. There was no sign of whatever had been inside her. Her throat was raw, but she felt much better. She stood and turned on the tap and took a drink of the cold water. Once she had drank enough she turned it off and waited. The urge to throw up didn’t come again. Shakily she let out a breath. She’d go to the doctor first thing in the morning, she definitely needed antiparasitics, that thing probably laid eggs. She felt like she had seen it before somewhere, maybe on TV. She turned and froze. It had attacked her, yesterday evening when she had been with Todd.

He had been in the kitchen, cleaning up from dinner when she had heard something fall. She went to check on him and that’s when she saw it. A mass of white, writhing tentacles wrapping itself around Todd, trying to get into his mouth. She had tried to help, but she didn’t see the other one that was sitting in the sink. Before she could help him it launched itself at her. Cold, slimy tendrils wrapping around her arms, forcing its way into her mouth. Before she had thrown up she didn’t remember any of it. All she could remember was having dinner, watching TV and going to bed because they both felt tired. She had no recollection of those things attacking them. What ever it was, there was one of them inside Todd still, she needed to warn him, help him.

She was reaching for her phone when she stopped. If it could make her forget about getting infected, what else could it do? They didn’t act any differently towards one another once they were infected, there was no talk of world domination, or plans to infect others. Life had continued on as normal. But what would happen if she confronted Todd? Would it know? Would it react? It was able to erase memories, god only knew what else it could do. No. She was being silly. It was just a parasite, probably released some kind of chemical that screwed with memory.

Todd picked up on the third ring.
“Hey, how’s things?”
“Uh, Hey, I’m not that great. I was just really sick.”
“Oh, that sucks, do you need anything? I know we were supposed to go out tomorrow, but if you’re not up to it we could watch some movies?”
“No, I’m feeling better now. But uh, I threw up something.”
“What kind of something? Are you ok? Do you need a lift to the hospital?”
“No,” Shelly took a deep breath, “I don’t know how to explain this properly, but it was like a parasite or something, but after I threw up I remembered the other night, when I was over, we were attacked by them in the kitchen.”
“What?”
“These white things, they attacked us.”
“Are you sure you’re ok? Are you running a fever? I’ll be over in a few minutes, just stay on the phone with me, ok?”
“Look, I know how it sounds, I didn’t remember it at all until that thing was out of me.”
“Ok, well, I’m on my way, maybe if I see it it’ll jog my memory?”
“No, I flushed it.”
“Are you lying down? If you’re sick you should be lying down.”
“No, look, just listen ok? I didn’t remember being attacked. I think it released something to make us forget. I think you need to go to the doctor too.”
“And tell them what? I may have been attacked by some weird creature but I’ve no memory of it? Look, I’m going to bring you to the hospital once I get there ok? I think you might be really sick. Once we get there you can tell the doctors and if they think it’s necessary I’ll take what ever tests they say, ok?”
Shelly couldn’t tell the doctors, they’d think she was insane.
“I’m feeling pretty tired. I think I’m going to have a nap. How long before you get here?”
“Like twenty minutes or so?”
“I’ll be in bed, let yourself in when you get here.”
“Ok, I might pick up a few things in the pharmacy, do you want anything?”
“No, I’m ok. I’ll see you in a bit.”
“See you soon, love you.”
“I love you too.”

When she hung up she went straight to her medicine cabinet. She had some antiparasitics from a while ago, if she mixed them into a drink it might be enough to take care of whatever was inside him. She read over the instructions and took out the tablets, adding one more just to be sure. She filled a mug with some tea and waited for it to cool, glancing at the clock as she waited. Too hot and the tea might make the medication useless, too cold and he wouldn’t drink it. She grabbed out another mug and made a cup for herself.

When she heard the key in the lock she threw the powder into the tea, everything else was cleared away. She stirred it in, trying to make sure all the powder was gone.
Todd rushed into the kitchen, “You should be in bed, what are you doing up?”
She smiled at him, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have worried you. I was running I fever, but I think it’s gone. I feel fine now, I think it was just some fever dreams.
“Ok, well I brought over some stuff to break the fever, you should still take some anyway.”
“Thanks, there’s some tea there for you, I figured it’d be the least I could do for dragging you over here.”
“Thanks.” He picked up the cup and sipped, Shelly took a drink from her own mug.
“C’mon, sit down at least. Did you throw up, or was that part of the dream as well?”
“No, I think I threw up. That part was not fun. My stomach has settled though. I’ve been sipping water and tea and I’ve been keeping it down so far.
“That’s a good sign,” he took another drink, “we’ll keep an eye on the fever, if it comes back or stays too high I’m bringing you to the doctor.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“No, I don’t want to risk it, safer to get you checked out, least now you can keep down-” Todd dropped the mug and grabbed his stomach, before she could say anything he ran to the bathroom. From the kitchen she could hear him heaving. She put down her mug and followed after.
“Do you need anything?”
“Uh-uh”
“What ever it was you must have caught it too, here’s a glass of water, to help rinse.”
“Thanks.”
He heaved again.

Shelly was worried that maybe it had all been a fever dream after all when it happened, he was throwing up nothing but foamy phlegm, then it landed in the toilet with a loud splash, a wriggling mass of white.

“Oh god, what the fuck is that?” Todd pushed himself back from the toilet, he made it a few feet then passed out.
Shelly moved over and looked into the bowl, there it was. She reached out to flush, then stopped herself. What ever it was it seemed to be dying and they needed proof. She closed over the lid and pulled Todd away, closing the bathroom door behind her.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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