By Jenny K Brennan
Chapter 1 – The unmentionables
Kent street West – Early Saturday
Out of impenetrable dark came a sound, a chitter chatter, as from a thousand rats. It rose and intensified. One chattering voice said. “How’s that? Can you move?” Several seconds of expectant silence passed where not a single rat even dared breathe. An intake of breath, a clearing of a clogged up throat, then a hoarse male voice answered. “Yeah, I can move eh, but I can’t see. These beings need light you know.” A moment of silence was quickly replaced by agitated chatter.
“Oh.” Rustling, tippy tap of small things moving around in haste.
“Aaaahhh, shit, cut it out. It hurts, the light, it burns!”
Darkness returned. Titter tatter, hushed chatter. Heavy breathing, and the Canadian voice muttered. “I have to be careful with that. Ok, my lids are shut now. Turn that light on again.”
He sat in a chair, naked but for a single sock; semitransparent beige crumpled and twisted around the ankle, its mate nowhere in sight. F3212 shivered in the raw, musty air. He was muscular, tattooed from neck to wrists, topped with a head of blond tangles, and proudly displayed innumerable scars on every limb but his penis. It dangled loose over the edge of the chair where he sat slumped. The man, who in the deepest crevices of his mind knew his name was Calvin Roberts, and not F3212, carefully opened his eyes, and squinted at the light, slowly adapted to it.
The big man blinked grit out of his eyes, and found himself looking at the soft wrinkle of flesh between his legs. “What is that?” And then he knew. The body knew, so F3212 knew. He didn’t quite understand it though. It seemed to serve several different purposes, of which one was to reproduce.
Reproduction F3212 understood. In this specific specimen’s patterns of thoughts though, the relationship with the opposite sex, what apparently was called females, or bitches, or babes, or skanks, or any of the names in this body’s library of vocabulary, was more complex than seemed strictly necessary.
And so F3212 probed and found many hidden places in Calvin’s mind. Places that F3212 did not want to go again. Places that not even Calvin wanted to go.
There were so many conflicting emotions, so many strange preferences. Although F3212 suddenly understood Calvin’s need and also shame over his cross dressing, those ideas and images would take long to ponder. Odd, but intriguing.
A slightly fuzzy ball of multicolored light, with fragmented swirls and streaks of black dancing across its diffuse surface, waited for F3212 to acknowledge successful transfer. The little creature, twenty-seventh of his kind, one of only forty-two qualified for human insertion, stood unsteadily on an undeterminable number of pointy stick-like limbs that moved independently to each other. They propelled the creature in little hops and jumps, skips and spins. But it stayed where it was, on the armrest, next to F3212’s left digit… hand. It paused in its pulsating and spoke, tap, tap, tapping its many feet that were not feet. Titter tatter.
“Something amiss? Your… face changes in a way I believe is agitation. Or something called horror. Is it horror this body makes you… feel?”
Calvin, who wasn’t quite Calvin, screwed up his face, opened his mouth wide, probed parts of his body with strange but familiar digits. He closed his lips, pursed them, and drew them back, working the fleshy muscle inside the mouth in experimental flops and contractions. He gurgled, wheezed, ground the teeth, and moaned. He pinched a red protrusion on his front. Nipple, the body advised, and analysis could be considered complete, if not totally satisfactory. “No, it is confusing. This body is so very… so strange.” He stood up, tried his weight on one foot, then the other. He bent his knees, stretched his arms, felt the rough growth on his face. “Functional, if not optimal. It will do.”
He turned to the little flickering light, which if flickering lights could look apprehensive, looked apprehensive as it tic, tic, ticked away with the many feet and leaned a little ways away from the human that was not a human. Calvin’s face changed, became rubbery with shifting sensations and contradicting impulses. A spastic move seemed to shift everything out of true and a shiver traveled through the body. Then it stopped, leaving the human perfectly still.
F3212 saw through the human’s eyes, could speak using the human’s tongue, but the connection to anything beyond Calvin’s natural perception faded. Stunned by a sensation never experienced before, F3212 watched the lights dim a little bit, felt all other senses dull, and lost control of the body. Not for long, just a short slip that shouldn’t have been possible. But long enough to change everything.
Calvin offered a thumbs up and a splitting of the teeth and lips in something that should represent joy. In this particular body however, the sensation that provoked the grimace had a strong leaning toward malice. Wicked happy. That’s what this body was feeling. Rage mixed with satisfaction. So strange.
He spread the fingers of his right hand, fisted them, spread them again but this time he bent the first finger, placed the thumb on the first finger’s nail, moved it to the small maintenance worker that had arranged this particular snatching, and flicked it off the armrest.
The ball of light exploded in a quick white flash and a series of agitated beeps and squeals. Calvin laughed. When B27 landed on the bare concrete floor, it sprang up and tittered off to the open ventilation shaft and turned, stomping its sharpened limbs in fury. “We do not appreciate such attitude, F3212, we will not accept another failure. You know what to do. Just don’t forget. Humans wear clothes. The runaway must be returned. Report here when successful.”
B27 could have saved itself some trouble, because F3212 didn’t hear. The awareness of many had vanished. The thing that couldn’t happen, had just happened. F3212 was alone.
With a final huffing squeal, B27 turned and rapidly disappeared into the dark shaft. It would lead out. A group of lower level operators, flickering in green instead of white, quickly followed the boss and vanished.
Calvin was alone in his basement, where the unmentionables had found him, passed out on a soiled futon mattress. Why he had gone down there to drink himself stupid, not even Calvin the way he was before, and sober, could have answered.
But Calvin was no longer alone in his head, nor was he even remotely sole master of his flesh, bones, or thoughts. He was strong though.
He stood silent for a long while. Fascinated by a wonderfully complicated view of life, new knowledge, novel sensations. He knew what had happened, and he also knew he should curl up and shriek in terror. Most would. Calvin was strong though, and no little brain sucking alien would take him down without a fight. Nothing would suppress Calvin Robert’s urges.
He relaxed back in the chair, letting his curiosity lessen his resistance. Just for the time being. Because really, what the hell did they want?
The thing inside him suddenly knew with painful clarity that they had made yet another mistake. Yet one more bad judgment. Even as The alien regained control over Calvin the human, it realized that these creatures could not be controlled, not for long. The little parasite was revolted and at the same time, intrigued by all the possibilities the new body could offer, and wary of its power.
For now, F3212 was in control. F3212 would find the runaway and bring him home, away from this terrible place.
But F3212 felt something that his borrowed body wasn’t capable of.
F3212 was afraid.