Parasite

by Briannah Proellocks

Amy stared across the cold and dark lake, her ice blue eyes straining against the dim light as a dense white fog drifted above the still waters. Mouth dry and sweat beading upon her brow, she balanced herself precariously on the roughly crafted raft, her fear of her pursuer more daunting than the creatures that lived in the depths of this terrible abyss. “Oh, why me?” she whined softly to herself as she shifted her knees, her black jeans dampening from the splash of icy liquid as it flowed silently around her sad wooden boards. “Why did that lunatic murderer have to choose me?”

Hands shaking, she took hold of the stick she was using as a sorry excuse for a paddle and, as gently as she could, she dipped it into the water, barely making it ripple. Carefully guiding her raft onwards, she prayed quietly that her pursuer, a dark-haired man with a nasty attitude to go with his bad teeth, wouldn’t catch up to her. Just as she thought this, a splash to her right made her freeze, her skin forming goosebumps as her heart leapt into her throat. Heart pounding, Amy strained to peer beyond the cloying mist that enveloped her, both thankful and hateful that it hid its contents so well.

The icy wind swirled around her, its woosh filling the expanse of air, rocking her raft as the lake rippled unnervingly. Something caught her eye and she whirled toward it, her breath misting the air as she searched for the disturbance. Please don’t be him, she thought desperately. Please just be my nerves playing tricks on me. Fortunately, it was not the man, though she was not lucky enough for it to have been nothing; the black waters stirred yet again and gently parted to reveal a glimpse of a dark, sleek body that slipped through the liquid unheard.

She bit her lip to hold in the wail of despair that she could feel building up within her diaphragm and forced her head away. You knew what you were doing, she thought furiously as she shakily dipped her stick into the water. You knew this lake was filled with those… those things. Her brain fluttering with panic, she ploughed on through the black waters. Oh, why couldn’t the police catch this guy? Oh, that’s right, because there is no evidence to convict the lunatic! she berated fiercely in her head, blaming the government for their stupid yet sane rule that really did not help her in this horrible situation.

She licked her dry lips and turned to continue her path towards the other side of the la— BLOOMP! Her makeshift raft juddered and overturned as a black canoe rammed into it, the rope binding the wood together snapping as she fell with a screech into the parasite-infested waters. The cold hit her like a punch in the face as bubbles escaped her mouth, her irrational irritation overriding her fear. Oh come on! she thought vehemently. Why me?!

Frantically trying to ignore the fact that she was surrounded by parasites and suppress the fear that was certainly taking hold, she began to half frog, half doggy paddle through the water away from her destroyed raft and the black canoe that had taken it out in favour of the open water that would open its frozen depths to hide her from view. Her lungs aching for air, she desperately tried to hold in her fizzes of bubbles to retain some oxygen and hopefully get the lunatic off her back for a short time. Then, to her dismay, something darted past her face, something massive, slimy and, well, parasite-y. Just my luck! she screamed silently in her head as she flinched from the movement, a large bubble of air escaping her white lips.

Clapping her frigid hands over her mouth, she felt a shudder of disgust run down her body as she forced her slowly numbing legs into action, praying that denim could protect her from the parasites. Kicking into the unknown, Amy tried to manoeuvre her body into deeper waters when something wrenched her head backward, pain blaring as her black hair was turned into her personal fishing line. When she broke the surface, she gasped in the cold air as her hands automatically reached up and grabbed at the hand enclosed around her hair as she thrashed in his grip, deciding that now was not the time to be concerned about the giant blood sucking creatures. If this guy had his way, she would most definitely become their buffet.

Choking on icy water, she was dragged onto the black canoe kicking and, well, choking, the edge of the black wooden seats digging into her back as the lunatic released her hair, transferring his grip to her neck. Writhing under his grasp, a hiss escaped her lips as she desperately tried to break his hold on her, her chapped lips forming into a snarl. Thinking fast, she changed her target from his hands to his disgusting face, of which stared down at her with beady, bloodshot eyes, his crooked teeth grinning maniacally down at her as his free hand riffled around his sack. She shoved her thumbs as hard as she could into those cold eyes as she pulled her legs up to her chest, tucking them against his chest.

A keening, low noise of agony issued from his throat as he reeled back, trying to escape the unrelenting pressure her fingers provided to his eye sockets. His grip loosened around her throat; she seized her chance. Using all her might, she lashed out with her legs as a yell of exertion left her lips, kicking the maniac over the side and into the cold and dark waters. Panting, she didn’t bother looking at the ripples where he had fallen under, instead, taking up his paddle to begin her desperate escape.

Suddenly, a thump from the side of the boat rocked it, and she whipped her head around to see thick man hands grasping the side. Anger rocketed up within her as she peered over the side to see the crazy guy gazing up at her, his desperation clear in his eyes as he gasped out, “You must die! Not me!”

Her face twisted into the most hateful expression she had ever made as she spat at him, “Yeah, well, sorry but not sorry to disappoint!” And she promptly smacked his horribly twisted nose with the butt of the paddle and used the thick part of it to rap his fingers, hearing a satisfying crack as his nose broke under the impact. Then she rowed the boat as fast and far as she could, only glancing back coldly as the water rippled, and the massive parasites swarmed him. His gurgling screams echoed across the misted lake, lost on all ears. The only one who heard him was Amy, who felt nothing as she turned her back on his completely inhuman form.

***

It must be her! The man thought as he watched the raft sink beneath the surface, the girls’ cut off squeal swallowed by the mist. His cracked lips stretched, revealing his yellowing teeth as he gazed gleefully into the water. Those horrible creatures didn’t so much as sniff her; that blood will be priceless! A repellent for those forsaken creatures! He licked his lips with greed as he guided his canoe around the wreckage, the numbers in his head escalating. Sure, mass murder is not very good for my reputation, but it is all for my greater good!

Tilting his head, he frowned as he continued to search for his prize. Now where is she? Smirking, he realised that she must be more intelligent and practical than the others, going for deeper water rather than resurfacing. “Unfortunately for you,” he murmured with a grin, “you flinched.” Driving his hand into the water, he wrapped his hands into her silky black hair, wrenching her form from the water. Gasping like a fish out of water, he hauled his prized catch from the black liquid, dumping her unceremoniously onto the boat.

Pinning her down by the neck, he grinned down at her as he riffled through his bag for some rope. You’ve slipped through my fingers once, he thought as he grabbed some of the material, but not this time, for you are far too valuable to allow to escape, or to stay alive for much longer. Before he could use it, however, suddenly, quick as a flash, the girl sank her thumbs into his eyes, pressing so hard that he felt as if his eyes would burst. Growling in pain, he reared back, trying to relieve the pressure enough so he could focus on tying her up, he didn’t realise that his grip on her slipped until it was too late.

Suddenly, he was kicked over the side of the canoe, the girls’ angry scream echoing across the lake. Plunged into dark water, he madly swam toward the surface, fear and panic washing over him. NO NO NO! he thought frantically as he groped blindly for the boat. Fingers curling over the edge, he tried to haul himself up, only to stare into the girls’ icy blue eyes as they glared down at him. “You must die! Not me!” he gabbled, gazing desperately up to the pale face, her soft features giving her a kind attitude.

Yet as she glowered down at him, he watched that pretty face twist into the most terrifying thing he had ever seen as she spat, “Yeah, well, sorry but not sorry to disappoint!” and she mercilessly broke his nose with the butt of the paddle, promptly rapping his hands one after the other in quick succession as he reeled from the damage to his face. He went under yet again and as he splashed wildly, black creatures began to encircle him, their slimy bodies lamprey-like as they surrounded him. Perhaps I’m like her, he thought hopefully as he hovered within the water. Then they began to burrow into his skin, causing him to scream out into the lake, his hunting ground for the gifted swiftly becoming his tomb.

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