[…Awake. Blurry. Focusing eyes.
What am I receiving?
Tapping into information center. Stretching tendrils to the soft meat of the brain.
Words flood the processors. Out of sync with images.
Too damaged. Shutting down…]
This is better. I can see.
[…Lying down. This body is lying prone. Facedown. Lifting head up. Blinking. Looking around. Soft. Warm…]
I’m in bed. I was sleeping.
[…The Host body was powered down. A time to regenerate. It had died in its sleep cycle. Checking operating systems…]
• I was bitten…
[…Memory files online. The Host is experiencing a memory…]
I was outside. The sirens were going off. Tornado sirens? But it’s winter. Snow on the ground. Why would the…?
[…Host body reacting to the stimulus of memory. Should I maintain?…]
Oh God I can feel the pain, searing into my arm, flesh being ripped off…
[…Should I maintain this file or delete?…]
I turn and see my neighbor’s daughter, Marisa (She’s ten, had her birthday party last week, inside due to the contamination warning), holding onto my arm, her face bathed in blood MY BLOOD growling, biting into my flesh…
[…Maintain or delete?…]
I stagger back against my car as she follows like a starving dog that’s finally found a bone. I kick at her, my mind not comprehending what I’m seeing. She falls backward, taking some meat from my arm with her.
[…Booting up. Necessary files have been purged. Emotion center of brain has been neutralized. Accessing only facts.
Body is aged. Deteriorating.
Diagnosis. Unsuitable Host.
Must find new Host…]
I’m walking across my living room. To the front door. Pounding.Pounding. A loud pounding at the door. Through the glass, I see my other neighbor, Emily. She is banging on the glass. Shouting a name. My name.
“Thomas! Thomas! Are you in there?” POUNDING! “Let me in. Please let me in. There’s something wrong out here.”
My hand grasps the doorknob. I pull. The door shakes but doesn’t open. I turn the knob. It comes towards me. Emily nearly falls on me. She looks up, repeating my name. She sees the wound on my arm. She covers her mouth. Looks up at my face. I grab her throat and pin her to the back of the door. I open my mouth as she struggles to scream.
[…Suitable Host found.
[…I am in the new Host. A spoor has been left behind to keep the Unsuitable Host animated. Moving through the blood. I am in the brain now. Injecting tendrils into the meat. Vision centers have been accessed…]
Thomas? I’m looking into my neighbor’s face. He looks dead. Dead but not dead. He is biting me. His teeth sinking into my shoulder. Funny. There’s no pain. I push him away and turn back towards the doorway.
(There’s something in my brain)
He is thrashing on the floor, scrambling after me. I raise my foot and stomp down, piercing his head with my three inch heel. He stops moving almost instantly.
Extracting the spike, I step back out onto the porch.
[…Systems are functional. Host is satisfactory.
Scanning memory files…]
I walk down the driveway. People are running around. Panic. I remember the Contamination warnings. A Police Car pulls up, stopping in the street. The Police Officer jumps out of the car, shouting at everyone to go back into their house. He points at me.
“Lady, go back inside. Everything is under control! Everything is under control!”
(There is something in my brain)
A man appears behind the officer, carrying a shovel. He swings, crushing the skull. Not a viable Host now.
What is inside of my brain? I can feel its thoughts.
(I can feel your thoughts.)
Brain should be inactive. Access to its functions are complete. Host body is controlled…]
Control? You are not in control.
I am not a computer. I AM IN CONTROL.
[…Recommendation. Purge memory files…]
I can hear You.
[…File is blocked? File cannot be blocked…]
I can feel You.
[…Purge inoperative. Inject numbing agent into body…]
[…Host is unsuitable. Host is rejecting me. Withdraw tendrils…]
I AM NOT YOUR ZOMBIE!
Emily falls to her knees, vomiting blood. She screams as she feels like her insides are being pulled out. She collapses, losing consciousness.
Unnoticed the Worm swims away in the pool of her vomit.