This work contains adult content.
The unusual silence that came with the twins’ absence made the house feel uncomfortably empty. They would most likely be home in the next day or so, and until then, Carrie and Grant both needed to reflect upon their own roles in the destructive path the family had taken. Equally, the twins needed to learn that the repercussions would eventually catch up with them if they kept trying to live life by their own rules.
Grant came home exasperatingly late. He had opted to leave his phone in the car before stopping in the bar for a drink or five. The bartender had sent him walking home again, and Carrie was in no mood for his excuses when he finally staggered in.
She sent him to sleep on the couch, knowing better than to discuss important matters with someone who was that ridiculously drunk, then went to bed early, unsure what else to do with herself in the dark, empty house. She assured herself that the twins were safe, and that Grant would be fine once he slept off that heavy stout he insisted on drinking. She only needed to worry about herself for a change, and so she fell against the pillows and stretched around them until she was selfishly comfortable. It felt nice taking all of the sheets, and as she lay in the king-sized bed, she felt herself begin to relax. She closed her eyes, smiling at the prospect of finally getting a good night’s sleep.
She sat up when Grant entered with a knock.
He looked even paler than before. Sweat beaded down the sides of his face. “I’m going to be sick,” he said before he bent over and vomited a thick, black sludge onto the carpet. He gagged as the dark mass continued to exit his body in violent, regurgitating spasms.
“How much did you drink?” she asked, heading down the hall to get some towels.
“I’m feeling much better now. I’ll be fine. I’m just going to go back to the couch,” he said while he stumbled back to the living room.
She cleaned as much as she could, gagging at the black, thick goo that had become embedded in the carpeting. She threw the towels immediately into the washing machine to soak. She looked down, surprised to find herself covered in the oily black substance.
She fought the impulse to scream and curse, and decided instead to use the mess as an excuse to take a dip in the hot tub. The kids were gone and she didn’t care if anyone else saw her. She turned it on, pulled off the heat-sealing lid, and stripped completely naked before slipping chest-deep into the clear, hot water.
She closed her eyes, feeling tired and peaceful, letting her mind drift and her worries dissolve with her fading thoughts. She smelled a sudden, heavy scent of pine right before a paralyzing spell held her nearly motionless in the water. Her eyes snapped open, and her heart beat wildly against her tight chest as she found the water had gone black and opaque. She tried to stand, but her limbs failed her. She feared she might slip under the water’s surface and drown, and she tried to call for help, but she couldn’t summon the breath.
She couldn’t move her head to see but she felt something slithering through the water beside her. A moment later, something cold and slimy worked its way between her legs. Her body ignored her mind’s command to squirm away, only able to manage a weak kick when the snakelike heap began to nudge its way into her. It grew firm as it prodded and climbed up inside, and then it suddenly went still.
Again, she tried to cry out, but her body refused to heed. Just faintly, but growing stronger by the moment, she could feel the presence of her intruder tapping into her thoughts, and she could feel the creature stretching through her body, reaching formlessly through the framework of her nervous system, melding with other vital reaches of her body. She could only bear witness to the puppet it was turning her into, feeling it begin to control her arms and legs, and even her facial expressions. It held her paralyzed, making her a prisoner in her own skin.
This isn’t really happening, she thought, struggling to shake her terror. She tried to will it away, to force her body back under her control, but she could not. This isn’t really happening!
The creature writhing within her practiced maneuvering Carrie’s arms and legs, looking around and blinking her eyes. It relaxed back, floating in the light current.
What’s going on? Carrie thought, as she could no longer prompt her body to speak.
“Lovely night for a soak, isn’t it?” the creature said, using her voice.
What’s happening to me?
“Doesn’t this water feel fantastic?” The creature moved Carrie’s back along a hot jet of water.
Please let me go!
The creature simply laughed.
“What’s the best thing you’ve done with this body?”
Her mind flashed to that fateful night when a couple had pulled her into their private shoot. She had thought to back out before it was too late, but they had been so persuasive. Suddenly, her clothes were on the ground and she was in the midst of a threesome involving sex toys and outrageous bodily positions. Even more disturbing was that she had taken the extra money they had offered her at the end of the “shoot.” They had seen her as a glorified whore, and she had taken their money because she couldn’t afford not to.
She had gone to Grant immediately, and at first, she had thought he might strangle her in his rage. Then, strangely, he had stood, slumped like a little boy, broken and empty, barely able to speak. He had turned away from her in a way that had put her in tears, the weight of his anger nearly enough to crush her. With the added weight of her own guilt, she felt as though she had to drag herself into their new life here in South Bend . . . along with a resentful yet devoted husband and two teenagers who hated everything about everything.
Again, the creature laughed.
I’ve finally lost it, Carrie thought. Just like Mom. It was inevitable, I suppose.
“I’m no case of Alzheimer’s,” it replied with chilling certainty. “I’m something much, much worse.” The creature floated on her back, and together they looked up at the stars.
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