Parasite* Snippet

Content Warnings: Forced captivity, death reference.



May 1993

When I was a child, I used to dream of a man.

Not just any man. No, he was terrifying, draped in black shadows like someone might wear clothes, the wisps ebbing and flowing across his body like they had a life of their own. And yet, even though I could never make out the features of his face, he seemed familiar. Well, except for his bright red eyes, which glowed like little flames.

Similar red eyes shined all around me from my dark prison, catching what little light existed as it filtered from cracks, snuck behind newspaper peeling from glass. The day must be ending—that was the only time that the others around me awoke, if you could even call them “awake.” Conscious would probably be closer. In this place of nightmares, each day spun in colors, sounds, sensations like a dizzying, confusing whirlpool, edges unraveling, the next fuzzier than the last.

How long had it been since I had tried to escape to the world beyond these walls? I frowned. It hadn’t worked—but I could try again. There was no reason I couldn’t.

I pushed myself from the wall and stumbled on weak legs, my knees slamming into the concrete floors. I sucked in my breath, stars blotting my vision.

Oh yeah, that was right. That was why I hadn’t tried.

I leaned forward, my hands curling in grime. I couldn’t reach the door out. My body was too fragile, too drained without Vivienne’s blood. Too close to death.


Tears welled and spilled from my eyes, droplets mixing with muck on the floor. I curled in on myself. This couldn’t be it. If I died here… Jessica… No, I needed to do something. The world beyond these walls couldn’t be one that existed only in my memories and dreams, like that man.

I had forgotten about the shadow man, who would follow me through dream-worlds, never saying a word. No, I’d catch him in the recesses of the imaginary world, waiting—always waiting. But for what, I never knew.

At some point I decided the figure was the devil.

But that only lasted until I realized that, despite what I had been told, the devil wasn’t real.

But now. Now I wasn’t so sure.

* = This is not the story’s final title

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