A monster travels from body to body doing it's dirty job of learning people's secrets.
I am monster and I love it. I've always been a monster, but I'll admit I am not the biggest fan of the word monster, per se. When you guys hear it your mind jumps to scales and teeth and claws and tentacles. I like to think of myself as a parallel life, a companion of sorts, if you would indulge this rather cruel comparison.
It's been years since I had the luxury to think, but I finally got a break with old Ms. Donnelly. I attached to Ms. Donnelly in March or April, something like that. It was still a bit chilly, but I remember she wore a wool sweater at all times. As soon as I clicked I knew I was up for some restful time. I swear... her mind was so clean--I haven't been in such a clear mind in years. I mean, she had her Bible reading and watched a ton of game shows, but that's nothing compared to the horrors I've been through in the past.
She lived alone, Ms. Donnelly, in a tall townhouse that she kept sparkling clean. She was up every day at the crack of dawn and she wouldn't sit still until sun down. Up and down the stairs, outside, inside, market, pier. No wasted time.
The moment I got in though, I knew it wasn't gonna last a long time. After all, her body was decayed. I could see it and feel it--her body was eaten from the inside out by years of restlessness, I guess... Her face was smooth as silk, no wrinkles, believe me, but on the inside--quite rotten. I tried to keep the spawns in check, let them loose slowly, but, unlucky for her, it's not easy to control them once they're out. They know one thing and one thing only and there's not a lot I can do about it.
But I tried to keep her happy at least. I left the brain alone, for once. It was way to clean, even for me, to mess it up.
But at some point she did start to feel bad. Progressively worse as days went by. And that's when she went to see them.
Oh, I hate them, hate them with a passion... They mess up our act pretty badly, and not in a good way, not for anyone. Just a few years ago, I spoke Zygon, a friend of mine. The poor thing was terrified. He told me he was almost extinct. He was totally freaked out, so much so that he basically decided to attach to animals exclusively. I can understand him, he's only a level seven. I don't have to worry about it too much, they just slow me down, but it does get a bit annoying at times.
She went there on a dry morning when I knew she must've known something was very wrong with her chest. The spawns were relentless the night before. So she went to see them, or in this case him. I faced him a few times before. Nice guy, completely useless. Dr. Gray, MD, PhD, what have you. You know how it is when you have a secret and you are dying to tell it to someone? If I could only talk or communicate with him, I swear I'd so tell him that he's going about it totally the wrong way. I've seen him all my life, trying, researching, experimenting. So hopeful, but way off base...
But, as I was expecting, they went on and did the whole drill. Needles, blood tests, urine, the whole nine. Oh, I forgot to mention that I do feel your pain. Not physically, of course, but as a cloud over my conscience. When you hurt, I go in different stages of black-out, for a lack of a better term... So, I went through the full pain treatment with poor Ms. Donnelly. Her veins were so frail, they had to poke her about seven times until they found a good one. And Dr. Gray kept pushing on her liver and sending thunders through her fragile body.
And then they put her through the big scan. Oh, how we hate the big scan. It immobilizes the spawns, for a few days actually. During that time I am in a sort of a comma. I can't read you and I can't learn. It's just awful.
Once all results were in, Ms. Donnelly returned to the hospital. At this point, it took her twice the time to get there. Her legs were boulders and her breath like a rusty locomotive going uphill. She coughed a lot and kept telling herself to stay out of the draft or she will catch a real cold. Poor woman. Even I feel for her, I do... And remember, I am a monster.
Later that day they had the talk. I hate the talk. Imagine that, I hate the talk. That's because just like pain, I feel your ups and downs. And the talk is always a downer.
"Ms. Donnelly," the good doctor said. "I'm sorry to bring you this terrible news, but..., you have cancer."
I felt the shock immediately. I hit us like a thunder followed by the shiver of disbelief. I always capture those tiny thoughts that pass through your mind so fast that you don't even acknowledge them. But they're there, I get them. You first think it's a dream, then you think it's a joke. Then you hope for the good news, which usually never comes and that's when you sink into the depths of the darkest depression.
"Yes, it's stage four. There are metastasis in your lungs and liver. Unfortunately there is nothing that we can do at this point. I am really sorry."
And then comes the real shocker. I've been in strong men, powerful men, those who lead you and whom you look up to. I've seen them crumble and slide down into the darkness when they hear it.
"You don't have a very long time left, Ms. Donnelly. Three weeks, maximum. I am so sorry."
And Ms. Donnelly sobbed. She didn't cry, just sobbed. I almost got a glimpse of happiness, which was rather unique. Maybe she had enough? Enough of being alone in that sparkling clean house? Enough of running chores all day long just for her own sake and knowing that all her friends are already dead? I don't know, but I felt it.
She took her frayed purse, put on her red hat, arranged the ridiculously large white flower on its side and shook the doctor's hand. "Thank you, doctor, it was very nice knowing you." And she left. Just like that.
I almost felt guilty. I wish there was a way out, but once I attach I can't leave, not until it's all done. Those are the rules and I don't make them...
After the news there's usually an avalanche of thoughts and most of them are dark and disturbed. So dark that I get dizzy sometimes. Even Ms. Donnelly's clean brain was overloaded that day. The funniest thing was that she kept worrying about who's going to cut the grass when she's gone. If the grass grows Mr. Gurtz across the street is going to be mad. In fact I knew he won't, at least not for long, but that's a different story.
About two weeks later I felt it coming. For me, it comes like a cozy warmth followed by a sharp pressure, sort of how a baby chicken would feel if you were to squeeze it in your fist. During this time, I tried my best to ease her pain, I pulled back as much as I could. The work of the liver spawns was complete. The body was poisoning itself. It became obvious with her breath. It started to ran fast like a broken pump. She gasped for each breath and held tight to the air as if it was the last. Then, every other breath became a wet cough, dirty and rusty, like a broken saw cutting through iron. Her lungs were filling up with blood slowly, drop by drop, and the heart... the heart sounded like a deflated balloon abused by an angry child.
Later that morning, we looked at the clock. It was 6:45 AM. The nurse won't be here until 8. She tried to move her hand but she couldn't reach the phone. I knew she won't make it till 8. She knew about 15 minutes later. That's when she let go.
I felt the pressure disappear and the heat dissipate, as if somebody opened a valve... She finally let go. As fog grew thick over her eyes, there appeared her last image. Not a flash of her entire life, like you guys keep saying. That's a beautiful lie, take it from me--I am almost always there. It's usually one image. The One.
For Ms. Donnelly, it was Sabina. Beautiful Sabina. Long blond hair, blue eyes, perfect skin. Her pride and joy, her little Sabina. The image I see is how she remembers her from 15 or so years ago, right before she left and never looked back. As the image faded in and out, undeniable love filled the old body like a hot beverage poured in a cup. I felt it too--love and pain. I can't see any memories of Sabina except the one from 15 years ago. I have no clue where she is. We never got a letter or a phone call... But she did cling to that final image, the last vision of her daughter, glued forever to her retina, the one last thing she held on to.
When she let go, she said goodbye, to Sabina, to the world... Her lips didn't move, but I heard it.
And then Bam! It was done. Like a switch. Dark. Cold. Final.
I decommissioned the spawns immediately and reclaimed the energy. I knew Ms. Donnelly was in the care of the state, so I have one day tops to find a new host. I can't linger for too long, so I quickly detached. As I raised above her, I could finally see her entire body. A thin specter vaguely resembling and old lady, bald and staring into the ceiling with glass eyes. She even made a mess in the bed... they always do. I wish I could be proud of my job, but I felt sick this time. I couldn't think of a simple way to say good bye, so I just fled, like a coward, leaving her to rot alone.
After this experience, I felt a bit disoriented, so I first leaped into a cat. Ms. Donnelly loved that ugly cat for some reason. I thought I'd hang in there for a while and get to rest my mind and still feel close to the old lady, but I stumbled over Jaggen. Apparently he's been here for a few years. What a moron. I tried to explain that we had very clear instructions to gather information and get back, not to chill inside a stupid animal. He claims he's a part of a special project, trying to control the animal from inside out. Maybe true, but I can tell you right now, I saw that cat swallow a nail and vomit for two days straight. If Jaggen is controlling it, he's controlling it into stupidity. I don't know what they're thinking. How is this going to be useful for the final invasion? No idea, but it's not my place to judge, is it?
Anyway, I jumped off a few blocks down. I hovered over a dinner table. Nice family... Who to pick? Not the kids. I don't do kids and I hate those who do. You don't learn anything and there's too much drama. I won't do the mother either, also because of the kids. That leaves the father, I guess...
Good morning, Mr. Haggen. Click-Click. Nice to meet you on this lovely day. As soon as I attached I knew my vacation was officially over. Mr. Haggen was a biochemist. Now that is one fruitful mind for me to harvest. Maybe I'll get to retire early, who knows... Either way, jackpot!