It’s finally, legitimately, irrefutably confirmed. Mr. Bigliest does, in fact, have the necessary gene to be a host. The report in my cold shaking hands is the proof. The throbbing in my temples and feeling of painful turbulence in the cockles of my core – that’s the anxiety I’d already known would replace the doubts.
My voice echoes into the empty spaces, thumb pressing the button to transmit, “confirmation received. Stage two initiated.”
The people on the receiving end of my message are not soldiers. Not one of them are trained for this. Some have weapons experience, but only as much as an average citizen. Some have high levels of secondary education. There are none among us who believed in conspiracy theories or cover-ups of alien arrival. We didn’t believe our nation’s drama could be connected to a planetary crisis. Our mental hurdles do not include hysteria, hearing voices, or any form of detachment with or confusion about reality.
Despite our seemingly average whole, we all recognized the wrongness. We’d picked up on this and that over the years. As most people did, we treated it as a difference of opinions. We accepted that our freedoms included the freedom to differ and disagree. As long as no one was causing a physical harm, we had no right to resist it. No cause of lawful entitlement to act or stand against. It wasn’t until Mr. Bigliest was placed in power that we realized: even something as simple as an evil opinion could not be tolerated.
When Watson first asked us to consider the possibility, we scoffed. Some laughed. Many faces twisted in annoyance – ready to banish Watson to the realm of everyone who wasn’t one of us.
No way could the cause be something as insane as an alien race infiltrating our government. The answer seemed simple – unchecked bias and bigotry. The allowance of those with hate and undeserved superiority complexes to gain power along with their amassing of wealth. A denial of the truth that our government’s very core supports, encourages, and upholds an imbalance causing harm and struggle to any and all who do not fall within a blindingly ignorant percentage.
Watson risked life and limb to submit a sample we could not refute. It wasn’t until after the demonstrations we learned just how far down the rabbit hole we’d go.
I looked into the microscope, knowing full well I had no experience to confirm or deny the normality of what I’d find. Watson was right, though. We didn’t have to know what we were looking for to understand. The neon mass pressed between the glass slides was evidence enough. To further our solitary mind, there was more to the demonstration.
Watson removed the slide from the metal grips, placed it into the metal bin next to the desk, and set it ablaze. Taking a brown paper sack from his bag, he checked the area around him to be certain none of us crossed into the space he asked us to remain outside of. Once certain we’d complied, he removed a mason jar from the sack. The anomalous glow from within it sealed our silence.
“No matter what happens next,” Watson said, “do not come closer.”
With gloved hands, he removed the lid from the jar. The peculiar light intensified as though contact with the air caused a change in its mass. Gelatinous ooze or not, the material began to rise. Tendrils reached upwards towards the opening and Watson moved with haste. He opened another sack I hadn’t noticed; it’s disturbing contents held just above the mouth of the jar.
Despite the desire to question why a lifeless rodent was being introduced into the equation, we did not speak. A noise I can only compare to stirring sticky noodles came first. We watched like wild eyed children at a magic show. The tendrils stretched and multiplied, each finding its way to the corpse with a frightening quickness. The ooze spread hastily, moving towards any orifice leading inside.
When it began to disappear into the animal’s body, Watson dropped it into the jar. Hands trembling noticeably, he twisted the lid as tight as he was able. Only then did he dare to breathe. His eyes bulged, sweat visible on his brow, “keep watching.”
Mere seconds was all it took for the mysterious glowing mass to be out of sight within the small creature’s form. The previously shallow body solidified and twitched. Tiny limbs sputtered and flexed. An appearance of what could be confused reanimation lasted less than a minute. A total of three minutes past before our silent observation turned to gags and dry heaves; at least one of us emptying stomach contents into the bin previously ablaze.
The mystery mass was once again the only thing in the jar. Its glow was brighter, fuller, and pulsing.
One member of our group, currently not consenting to being named, could no longer remain silent. They cleared their throat, voice booming, “It consumed it completely. How do we know it won’t pass through the glass? Where did you get this? It has to be destroyed. Does fire get rid of it completely? Give me the matches. I’ll do it.”
Watson was already reaching for the jar. It was soon clutched tightly between his gloved hands, “there’s more. Please, maintain your distance.”
He moved with urgency, putting the jar back in place. He called out to another of our group who’d remained in another room. They entered quickly, an adorable chimp clutching their neck. Tears poured freely from their eyes, the redness and swelling on their face making it clear it had been going on for some time. Their body began to shake uncontrollably with an increased force of overwhelming sadness – their lips pressing to the forehead of the chimp.
I hadn’t paid any attention to the cage. It was a non-issue. Something I didn’t realize or expect to be used for anything. An object unrelated to the matters at hand, simply taking up space. As the chimp’s arm wrapped around Watson’s neck and our sobbing associate ran from the room, my eyes locked onto the three foot prison to the right of the jar.
There was no way I could have known exactly what was about to happen, but to some extent – we knew – we’d just seen it. He was talking again, trying to explain what and why and how this was about to happen. Trouble was, my brain no longer understood my native tongue. There was noise coming from his mouth, but I could only interpret the physical motions. He put the chimp into the cage and removed the lid from the jar – placing it inside the cage with the innocent creature – and locking them both inside.
I imagine anyone who’d just watched the disappearance of the mouse would have a similar terror to my own. Watson was going to murder a living thing and for the sake of what? Our small group’s need to understand the toxicity and terror this glowing ooze presented? We got it – understood – no need for further harm. I was going to demand he save it. I would stop this madness then and there, before the tendrils could extend further – before the inquisitive creature could reach out to investigate and doom itself.
What if I couldn’t reach it before it touched it? What would happen once it finished with the chimp and all that remained was its freedom through the openings between the bars? How much non-organic material would it bypass before it reached one of us?
I was shouting as I lunged – past the point we were commanded not to cross – into the area I knew put me in immediate danger. I have no idea what I said or what I thought I could do. All I know is the pressure of arms and hands gripping at me, pulling me back and away from being able to have an impact. And before I could break free, it was too late.
My eyes locked with the chimp’s innocent windows to what felt like a soul. Those trusting, inquisitive, sweet eyes. My peripheral registered the glow spreading. Areas of soft brown fur, now coated with a writhing, gelatinous threat. I watched as its gaze changed, glossing over – emptying out, and my body thrust forward with dry heaves. It wasn’t going to consume the chimp. It had taken it over.
Today’s rambling, fictional short story brought to you by a frustrated need to create. I haven’t decided if this is stand alone or will be continued. I only know I had to run with the idea some of what’s happening these days must be due to alien overlords or some such nonsense. I’m posting before thoroughly editing – so there’s that, too.
Since I don’t have a fiction disclaimer elsewhere on this bloggy blog (feel free to sing along, Snoop Bloggy Bloooooog) … “This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.”