Thursday, July 1, 2010

“Tick” by Drew Wilcox

You're starting to scratch at your temple, hard enough that it's drawing little dried flakes of blood in your hairline.

I could use a bit more time to prepare, but the element of surprise is my greatest advantage. You have no idea what you're in for.

I've been waiting for someone as careless as you. Do you realize how long it's been since someone has walked through my field?

You humans used to walk around barefoot all the time. It was easy back then ---- fish in a barrel. You'd go to church three times a week, make your own soap, and spend hours at a time gathered around on the floor, just talking to each other. You relied on lamps and horses.

But, then, they found out about me because I got a little too greedy. They burned their little shanty town to the ground when they realized I was in some little kid's head. I've been forced to sit in this vacant lot behind the freeway, watching loan shark and discount tobacco stores spring up around me. You replaced your horses with cars and your dirt paths with asphalt, but mostly, you're all still as juicy and delicious as you were before.

I've been waiting for all of you to forget about me, and you finally did. Patience is a virtue.

I don't really move around too much, and I guess that's my one weakness. I can't go out and search for my prey.

Luckily, after all this time, you came to me.

I know what you were running from, because now that I'm inside you, I can really hear your conversations in detail. You're not the best egg in the bunch, are you? You're in to some pretty bad shit.

I didn't get the best look at your face, but let me tell you something.

On the inside, you are so very beautiful. Compared to the mice and rats, you're like a crème brule from Paris. Sometimes I stare at the walls and tissues of your internal organs for hours before I sink my mouth in to them.

As delicious as your blood feels, flowing through my body, swelling me up like an over ripened peach, I have greater aspirations than you might think. If I was a garden variety parasite, then maybe I would be content to just wallow around in your torso, going on a buffet spree through your lungs. A little of this, a little of that. It's all you can eat, so I can make as many trips as I want.

I started with the bottoms of your feet. I can't say that you walk around barefoot often, because your calluses weren't that thick, and I was burrowing up under your big toe before your left foot was halfway up from the earth. You were too busy running and fearing for your life from that shady fellow. It was like an electric sizzle that I haven't felt in ages ---- a zap of human body heat, of warmth --- of FLOWING BLOOD. I just couldn't believe it. I chomped down and started burrowing, and now, here we are.

I've lived for thousands of years, gorging myself on your kind. I do wonder how you would kill me if I WAS normal, though. You could pinch me between a pair of tweezers, or impale me through the middle of my body with a sterilized needle. You could pull me off of you and put me on your neighbor's dog that won't shut up at night, or you could ignite me with a lighter.

If you discover me soon, you might have a fighting chance, but I just don't see this ending in a good way for you. Even if you dismember me in to a thousand pieces, those thousand pieces will live for another thousand years, and eventually, the pieces will have eight legs and a monstrous appetite, just like me.

I've always hoped for a fighter with a strong constitution, because I'm almost certain that I'm the last of my kind. I could be selfish and just feed on you forever, but I need to find some way to provoke you. You really start scratching at your head when I crawl around near your ear drums. I don't think you can stand it.

I've crawled up through your foot and ankle, dined on the sinew of your left leg, and sampled the tender pleasures of your liver, but your head is where I want to be. I'm already on the way up through your sinuses, skittering up where I can make a nice little tick bachelor pad in your brain.

The brain is the best. Don't let any other ancient parasitic arachnid tell you differently, if you ever meet another one. Everything important terminates there, so it's like the five star restaurant of the human body. That spongy grey heaven that keeps your neurons firing and your eyes seeing and your nose smelling --- well, that's what I need. The first time I bit down in to your brain, I thought I was in tick heaven.

By the time you've found out that your only recourse is to dig up through your face with a sharp object to try and pry me out, lobotomy style, I'll have consumed your entire cerebellum. Your brain will be inside my swollen, exotically colored body, and my eights legs will be converged with your nerves.

If you shove something sharp and metal and shiny up through your nose, I'll impale myself on it. I've had a long life, and if I can manage to shred myself in to a few dismembered tick pieces, then maybe my offspring can sample a human brain for the first time.

Look on the bright side. Instead of an ugly, wrinkly, boring old grey brain, you'll have a black and blue spotted, exotic brain with eight legs and some groovy looking fangs.

If you'll excuse me, I have some dinner plans.

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