Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Flash Fiction: The Parasite

Every Friday Kurt posts a new piece of flash fiction. This week...

The Parasite
Word Count: 600

Do you know why you’re here?

Because I tried to saw a man in half, obviously. Where am I? Why can’t I remember anything?

What’s your name?

I don’t know—what’s yours? Why won’t my arms move?

I’m Dr. Nasmith. You’re in a hospital. You’ve been restrained.

Why can’t I see? What happened to my eyes?

You don’t remember?

What happened to my eyes? Tell me what happened to my eyes!

Your name is Kevin Charles. Is that familiar?

Maybe. A bit. What happened to my eyes?

You removed them.

I… I did what?

You removed your eyes with a paring knife.



Mr. Charles?

That’s impossible.

You don’t remember?

No.

But you remember trying to, as you put it, “saw another man in half”?

Yes. Sort of. Bits and snatches. Images. It must have been one of the last things I saw.

Well, I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that none of this was your fault. So, no one’s going to press charges.

I suppose that’s good news. How is that even possible?

That’s where the bad news comes in. You have a parasite.

Like what? Like Hookworm or something?

Have you ever heard of leucochloricium paradoxum?

Should I have?

It’s a flatworm that infects snails. It makes them climb up to the highest point possible, where they’ll be vulnerable to predators.

I don’t understand.

To complete its life-cycle the paradoxum has to be ingested by a bird.

Ew.

What you have is…similar.

What I have? Does it have a name?

Not yet.

But it’s curable, right?

Well, it wasn’t easy, but yes, we were able to isolate and kill it. We nearly killed you in the process, but we killed it.

That doesn’t sound so bad.

I wasn’t finished with the bad news. You see, the parasite that you have spreads through blood. Our hypothesis is that it made you want to hurt yourself and others. It’s clearly damaged your brain—that much is evident in the MRI, plus your impaired memory. But I need to know what you can remember.

Not much.

You remember assaulting someone. Do you remember who?

No. But I remember doing it.

What were you thinking?

I wasn’t thinking. You said so yourself.

Even if the parasite had been affecting your brain, you should still have perceived that as thought. What did you think? What did you feel?

I didn’t want to hurt him, I remember that. But I had to. It was a primal need. Like breathing. I wanted to hurt myself and I wanted to hurt him. That’s what I remember.

But you didn’t try to hurt him. You tried to kill him.

I know.

Why?

Because… because I knew that if I hurt him, that he’d end up like me.

Is that why you attacked your own eyes? To satisfy that need but also to keep yourself from being able to hurt others?

Maybe. I don’t remember.

Very well.

Did I kill him?

No. We saved him.

Did you cure him to.

We didn’t realize that he’d been infected until he attacked a nurse. She, in turn, attacked twelve patients and two doctors.

So… it’s spreading.

Yes, rapidly. And that, Mr. Charles, is the worst of the news.

I see… I understand, I mean. How did this all start?

We don’t know.

I don’t suppose there’s much chance of getting my eyes fixed.

Not very likely. But count that as a blessing. The world has changed in the last 72 hours. Be grateful you don’t have to see what it has become.

Edited by Carolyn "Real Bad News" Abram

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