Parasite (Shadows of the Past Book II) Chapter 10

Chapter 10

Frankie sat at the dining room table coloring, the tip of his tongue poking from the corner of his mouth as he concentrated on staying inside the lines. A shadow fell across the table and he looked up at Michelle, who stood over him, watching as he worked.

“We’re gonna need the table soon,” she said with a nod.

Frankie smiled as he nodded at her, then returned his attention to the coloring book. He was focused on the sky now, using the wide side of the crayon to create swaths of blue as he moved it back and forth.

As he worked, his mind wandered. Memories whispered from the past and he followed one back to that night in the garage. He saw Jack on a purely instinctive level, a powerful predatory force that was searching for him as he hid within the cocoon of white noise that was his world. While his father tried to start the car, Jack had thrown himself at the vehicle with an insane fury that flashed white-hot around Frankie’s sanctuary. Neither his father nor Michelle would have lasted very long against Jack, who had become so much more than just an ordinary man. The thin glass of the car windows would have easily failed against his onslaught.

It was then that he’d reached out for the first time with his mind. Venturing beyond the safety his confusion afforded him, he discovered he had a little trick of his own up his sleeve. He had touched Jack’s mind that night.

What he had seen as he gazed into Jack’s subconscious had terrified him. The thing that had taken control of Jack had no feelings whatsoever for man. It viewed him as nothing more than cattle in the field, which in essence they were, for their genes had been brought from the far reaches of space to this warm little planet circling the sun. They had been brought to feed these early explorers.

But as the continents broke apart, and that section they had inhabited drifted to the south, the food source found itself more adaptable than its masters. The tables had been turned as the hunter became the hunted, and this alien race had had to take drastic measures to adapt to the changes that were taking place around it. They were forced to evolve into a creature more suited to a snow-covered world, and in so doing they had surrendered their reign over their former slaves.

Frankie saw all of this in a flash of emotions that threatened to overwhelm him. He had touched Jack’s mind, transferring a small part of the confusion that was his own world, and in so doing had opened himself up to this creature’s influence. Accomplishing what he had set out to do, he had retreated, followed by this predatory thing that stalked him through the chambers of his own mind. It was only when the fever gripped him that he was able to exorcise this demon from the past.

From his left came a faint sound that he realized, upon becoming aware of it, had always been there. A soft whispering, like that of a multitude of voices in worshipful prayer. The sound stopped his hand and his coloring book lay forgotten as he turned to peer into the deeper shadows that were crowded in the corners of the room.

He sensed his mother’s presence nearby and was comforted by her warmth, which stood in sharp contrast to the chilly waves of cold air that whispered from the deeper shadows.

“They’ve awakened,” his mother whispered in his mind and he sighed with resignation. He’d known this day would come and was saddened by the fact that it had arrived so soon. He’d hoped he would have had more time to get to know his family, to make up for everything he had missed while growing up, but that was not to be.

With wisdom beyond his years, he understood the uncanny persistence of life. Where there was the slightest sliver of hope that it could emerge, it would, and alien life was no different.

His father had suspected that he’d been unsuccessful in his attempt to destroy the thing that once lived as Jack Griffith. At the time, Frankie had known for a fact that he had failed, for the whispering that he recognized as coming from the collective consciousness of this creature had never fully ceased. It had grown quieter, true, but it had never stopped completely. And now it was growing stronger.

He glanced at the window, and the ridge beyond, aware that the fight would be joined once again. He felt their presence lurking at the edge of his consciousness, a faint whispering like the soft static of a radio tuned to a dead station. With his mind, he pushed them from his thoughts, driving them away from him, sending them reeling into the ether as they fled the confusion that threatened to consume them.

Michelle entered the room and found Frankie staring out the window. The coloring book on the table before him was covered by blood that was dripping from Frankie’s nose. 

He was unaware of this fact, his entire being focused on locating the source of the whispering, and as he sought them out he felt the months of confusion he’d held successfully at bay washing back through him.

He heard Michelle scream and was about to tell her that everything was all right when he looked down and saw that the blue sky he’d worked so hard on was now a bright red due to the blood flowing from his nose.

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