BY RANDY WHITTAKER
Copyright is held by the author.
THE CREATURE chugged through the sea, searching. It knew it wouldn’t be long.
The warmer currents had awoken it from its life cycle early. There were others like it in the sea. Millions, perhaps billions, of them, all waiting for the moment a host presented itself.
Its tiny, almost microscopic body writhed and wiggled in the primeval attempt at propulsion. The other sea creatures knew to leave it alone. Nothing preyed on it as it made its way from the sea bottom, up towards the light. It was driven by a desire as old as life itself.
The desire to feed, to procreate the species, drove it wild with a primordial frenzy. It squirmed against the pressure of the water and slowly made its way to its destiny.
The cruise ship hovered on the surface of the sea like a floating city. Its propulsion and stability systems the epitome of modern technology. The mammoth vessel barely rocked in the water. This was necessary for the enjoyment of the thousands of passengers who tried to forget their normal, mundane lives.
Bumper cars, ice rinks and a myriad of other middle class distractions ensured its cabins were full of overweight, middle aged couples.
As it docked, the side, rear and front thrusters ensured the ship’s anchorage was never as much as a whimper through the steel skin. Once docked the normal maintenance began. Beds were made, decks were scrubbed and pools were emptied and filled.
The tiny worm-like creature continued to float in the water, unaware of its exact geographical location. It knew it was nearer the surface owing to the warmer temperature.
As it floated, it could feel itself being pulled, ever so gently, backwards. At first it didn’t mind. Anywhere it went was fine.
The pulling soon turned into a rushing vortex of liquid fury. It found itself swirling in a mass of sand, the grains not much bigger than itself. Once the sand was gone, it found itself being pushed out into a new world.
Suddenly, the sea was calm.
It floated in the water and felt no oceanic currents. It instinctively began its quest anew to find a host.
“Come on in dear, the water’s fine,” she said to her husband. He groaned as he pushed his ever expanding body off the deck chair and jumped into the pool.
“See,” she said diving under the water. He laughed and followed suit, closing his eyes against the salt water.
As it floated, it could sense a change to its world. Warm bodies pushed the water to and fro and it knew the time was close.
It sensed the opening before entering. The small circular entrance was always the perfect place. Its body convulsed, pushing it towards the opening. The warmth and familiarity of the entrance made it push deeper and deeper into the ear canal.
The man sat in the sun after the swim and felt like he had water in his ear. He shook his head from side to side and his wife scolded him.
“Honey, you’re going to knock your block off you keep that up,” she said reading her book.
The man laid back and thought he could feel an itch behind his eye. He rubbed it and his eyeball got warm. The more he rubbed it, the worse the itch became.
It wiggled in the ear canal and found its way to the back of the eyeball. The optic nerve allowed it to reach its destination, the brain. The brain that supplied food and sustenance after its long, dark hibernation.
“Honey, quit scratching it. You’re making it worse. Here put some of these drops in that the doctor gave you,” she said. The man pulled his hand away from his face and the woman stepped back.
The man’s eye looked like it was ready to burst out of his face, its glistening globule quivering in the fluorescent light of the cabin.
It fed on the grey orb sitting in the skull. It knew its time was limited and it feasted with an unbound, prehistoric lust.
Nature at work. It was simply allowing the species to survive at any cost. The host was dispensable in its world.
“Honey! Oh my god,” the woman screamed as her husband stood over her.
His eye was out of its socket, hanging down his cheek. The blood and goop intermingling in a jello-like substance that slowly oozed from the hole. The spoon in his hand was wet with thick red blood.
The man had gone crazy with the sensation of a million worms squirming around in his brain.
He had pulled his eye out to try to get to them.
The pain and madness now told him he needed to shut her up.
He picked up the table lamp and smashed it down on her head. Her skull cracked open with a sickening thud. He dropped the lamp, his breathing laboured. The worms continued to crawl around inside of his head.
He could feel a draw to the ocean that overwhelmed his senses. He went to the balcony and flung his body over. The dark, cold ocean swallowed the body with not so much as a hiccup.
It continued to feed and was satisfied the host was back in the sea water it craved. Once finished, it would leave the host and make its way back to the dark, deep recesses of the ocean floor. There it would bury itself and wait until it was feeding time again.
The ocean liner continued on its way. No one noticed the body go overboard. The ship propelled itself through the ocean as easily as a knife through butter.
As it docked, the routine began anew. As the pool filling system began, the cloud of millions of its brethren could feel the slightest pull, ever so gently, backwards.