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Molly’s Parasite

Kevin Steffanson

Copyright © by Kevin Steffanson. All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a review. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.

Brothers Bo and Len Wong argued in the kitchen of their restaurant at the edge of Chinatown. It was clear that they needed to offer another sacrifice. They angrily spat and yelled at each other in their native tongue, even though they both agreed what needed to be done. They just didn’t want to admit it.

The last sacrifice was hardly worthy; an elderly man in poor health, hanging onto life by a fine thread. Bo and Len chose the old man in hopes of easing the guilt of sacrificing a younger, more vibrant person. It was a deceitful decision, and an unforgivable one. Now they needed to make amends for their lapse of judgement and offer something - someone - who would satisfy.

That person happened to be sitting alone at table 4, waiting for her dinner.

As Bo finished cooking the order for table 4, Len removed a small glass vial from his apron. The vial looked empty at a glance, but upon close inspection there was a tiny black speck at the bottom, not much bigger than a grain of salt. Holding the vial as far away from himself as possible, Len removed the cap and emptied the contents onto the fresh, steaming plate of food.

“Dui bu qi,” Len whispered to himself as he delivered the dish to table 4. “I am sorry.”

* * *

Molly sat patiently at table 4, not noticing the way people stared at her. She was beautiful beyond words. Chocolate brown hair fell around her face in tight, shiny ringlets that bobbed joyfully at the slightest movement. Her eyes were a fierce, vibrant green that emanated energy and life, bordered by luscious lashes. Her dark eyebrows complimented her deep ruby red lips which revealed striking contrast against her perfectly white smile - an infectious smile that couldn’t help but warm your heart and cause you to smile, too.

All of this was supported by her petite frame and flawless body, with just the right curves in just the right places. At age 22, she was the rare kind of beauty who didn’t recognize just how blessed she was. Molly was too humble to take stock in her aesthetics, she was always more focused on the beauty within.

After finishing her meal and paying the check, Molly stood up to leave but was ambushed by a dizzying headrush so strong that she nearly collapsed, barely catching herself on the edge of the table. Two people from a nearby booth came to her aid, but she waved them off with a giggle of embarrassment, blaming the blunder on low blood sugar.

Deep down, she knew something wasn’t right. She exerted a tremendous amount of effort to make her way to the front door, pain developing in her stomach and chest with every step. When she finally arrived at the front door she tried to call out for help, but before any sound could escape her throat she felt her vocal chords rip under the pressure. Unaware of what was happening, Molly tried to force a scream, resulting in more pressure that caused her throat to swell until it closed completely, halting her ability to breath.

Panic shot through every nerve like battery acid. Fear and helplessness engulfed her as she stumbled onto the sidewalk, frantically reaching out to anyone walking by, pleading for a miracle. With weakness overcoming Molly’s entire body, her legs felt like wet noodles, her knees buckled and she crashed to the ground, unable to catch herself and moderate the fall.

Lying on her back, she had a sudden but brief moment of tranquillity where she stared up at the night sky and longed to see stars, but all she could see was black - a vast sky of nothingness, waiting to swallow her. As suddenly as her tranquillity arrived, it abated, and she was thrust back into a world of dread, misery, and hopelessness. In the fringe of her vision she could see a crowd of bystanders gathering around her, none of whom offered any help.

Molly writhed on the ground in a fit of convulsions as her bowels surrendered to painful spasms, slowly releasing the excruciating pressure within. A wet, warm puddle of excrement surrounded her as it oozed from every orifice, staining the sidewalk muddy red. She struggled to rescue herself from the agony and suffocating stench, but her muscles had become too liquefied to move. She summoned every ounce of strength, every last drop of will power, and prayed to God more ferociously than ever, but there was no hope.

The parasite was doing its job well.

This had almost become a familiar sight outside this particular restaurant.

During Molly’s paroxysm people stopped and stared with expressionless faces, bemused by another poor soul engulfed in pain and terror. The locals found it fascinating to observe the different responses from victims who were in extraordinary anguish, knowing that they were only moments away from death. They knew there was nothing they could do to help, so they silently watched and wondered how long the sufferer would cling to life and if there would ever be a survivor.

The spectacle was always different but always captivating, and this was one of the most provocative displays they had ever seen. The astonishing beauty and grace of Molly had stimulated feelings of joy and delight, affection and longing, lust and arousal, but now those feelings were confused and misplaced by the violent episode which transformed her into a gruesome, repugnant pile of flesh and liquid. Every spectator felt it. They felt the world become less beautiful. Less forgiving. Colder.

Only a moment after Molly stopped moving completely, when her lungs and heart became jelly and her brain leaked from her ears like soupy gray pudding, the crowd of onlookers slowly started to disperse. Only the shuffling of feet could be heard against the backdrop of light traffic on the street. There were no voices. There was nothing to be said. Chinatown regained its banal hustle as people uniformly shuffled along the sidewalk, moving like a river, carefully flowing around the massive stain of muddy red stew that bordered a bony blob of human remains.

The parasite had done its job. The sacrifice had been made.

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