Thursday, November 8, 2012

Inside Us

The past few weeks have been kind of a blur. Between keeping the thing inside me from destroying everything and dealing with my injuries, I’ve been learning about these… beings. I’m not sure what’s the best term to apply to them – Sarah calls them Fears and demons, while Vivian calls them the Others… but before we get into that, let me back up.

When I woke up the day after the hospital incident, it was about six in the evening. The room was a bit small and looked to be in a basement; there were clothes stacked on the dresser and there was a broken mirror on the floor, propped up against the wall. In the other room, I could hear a TV and some talking.

I walked out and found myself in a den. A sofa was in the middle of the room, with an entertainment center pushed against the wall. There was another couch pushed against the wall farthest from me, and there was a small kitchen area to my left. Daniel was reclining on the couch while Tyler was playing Fallout: New Vegas. Becca was in the far corner with something in her lap.

What little conversation there was ended when I entered the room. They all stared at me as if I was going to punch a hole in the wall or something. There were a few more moments of awkward silence until Daniel smiled at me. “Well, look what the cat dragged in.”

Daniel moved over so I could have a seat on the couch. I asked how long I was out and where I was.

“Well, you woke up around nine, but that was only for a few seconds and you were screaming at the top of your lungs.” Tyler frowned. “Which also woke all of us up.”

“His snoring woke me up long before that,” Daniel said, looking back at me and grinning. Tyler started laughing but toned down after Becca cleared her throat. He nodded to her and looked back at me.

“This is Viv’s place, by the way. Make yourself at home – we certainly have.” Tyler leaned towards me. “Just don’t make any loud noises, okay?”

“Vivian doesn’t like loud noises?”

“Not Vivian. The baby.” He nodded towards the bundle on Becca’s lap.

I hadn’t known about Daniel kidnapping Lois’ child before that, so I asked about it and they told me the whole story, how Daniel and Tyler had made their way to the hospital before me and taken the matter into their own hands.

“Why does Vivian need the child?” I asked them, but neither of them could give me a clear answer. Daniel said I should talk to Vivian, who was upstairs. I hung around a bit more, watching Tyler kill some more enemies in his game before I went up.

I could hear water running when I got near the top of the stairs. I poked my head through the door and found myself in the main kitchen. Vivian was over by the sink, looking like she was doing the dishes. I started to approach her, almost saying something, when I heard her crying. I didn’t say anything, not wanting to catch her at a bad time. I began backing up when I hit a chair with my foot. She stopped what she was doing and looked over her shoulder at me. Her eyes were red from where she had been rubbing them with her sleeves.

“Sorry,” she murmured, turning off the faucet and looking back at me.


She shrugged her shoulders and turned her eyes to the ground. “Didn’t mean anyone to catch me like that. I’m usually more composed.” She straightened and turned to me. “Glad that you’re awake, though. How are you feeling?”

“Apart from the burns and bruises? A little bit hungry.”

She started laughing and looked over at the door. “When I’m done, I’ll get us something to eat.”

“Right… I was hoping I could talk to you about something first, though.” Vivian eyed me, and I could tell she seemed a little wary. I rubbed the back of my neck, feeling a bit awkward just standing there. “Could you explain what’s going on?”

And for the next two hours or so, she did. We sat down at the kitchen table and talked about the things – the Others – and the reason why it was happening to us. She didn’t know why in my case, but knew with certainty why she was there.

“It was a while back… about a year and a half, maybe two years. I was… stupid. I wanted a boyfriend,  but none of the guys I knew would date me because I wasn’t… ‘pretty’ in their eyes.” She closed her eyes and shook her head. “I was desperate and started looking in the wrong places. I met a guy who made me feel like I was worth something, made me feel like I was special. My first boyfriend,” she muttered under her breath. Vivian took a deep breath. “One night, instead of going to a movie we went over to his place. And…” Her eyes opened and turned to me. “We hooked up a few more times after that, but after he left me… well, he never really left me.” She stood up and walked over to the sink, pulling out one of the knives and slashing herself across the wrist.

I stood up, shocked. I was about to rush over to her, get her to stop, but her wrist didn’t bleed. The knife was bloody, but no blood seeped from the wound. Vivian was silent as she dropped the knife into the sink. She looked over the wound she had given herself. “I thought I was pregnant, you know. Told him, but he didn’t believe me. Said it was impossible. And… he was right.” Vivian gave me a half-smile. “They’re calling it the ‘Red Cap’ – some sort of bloodlike goo that makes itself home in your body. It has its benefits, I suppose… it heals the vessel it’s in over a shorter amount of time, and as you can see… I can’t really bleed out. Still hurts, though.

“But there’s so many downsides that I noticed after the first week alone. You must know what it feels like when you wake up in a place that’s unfamiliar to you because it happened to you not too long ago. When that happened to me the first time, I woke up at school during an English test. The next time, I was waking up in some stranger’s car – apparently, I had been hitchhiking. And then… there are times, even now, where I don’t feel like myself, like I’m watching someone else use my body. Do you ever feel like that?” I nodded, remembering the night before. Vivian shook her head as she sank into her chair. “It doesn’t even feel like before, when I’d black out and be somewhere else. At least then I still knew there was a side of me that was… well, me.

“Now, though… Whenever I look in a mirror, I can’t recognize myself. I’m… losing who I am to this thing, and that scares me a lot more than not being able to bleed out, or waking up somewhere else.” She started shaking, as if she were about to cry again. “And the worst part, Vincent, is that I can’t even fight it anymore. Whatever it wants, it simply has to put the thought in my head. It wants Lois’ daughter for some reason, but I still don’t know why. It wants more followers like the ones downstairs, but I don’t know what it’s planning. All I know is that, this past year… It’s been using me, putting thoughts into my head, in order to build up to something big… and that child downstairs is the centerpiece to all of it.”

I’ve since thought about what she’s said, and it sounds like whatever is inside me is like the ‘blood’ throwing through Vivian’s veins. It’s trying to get me to do something, I know that much, but it’s all unclear. What Vivian said about thoughts being put into her head – that’s happening to me, too, but they’re not making any sense. It’s like blurred images, or single words that have no correlation with each other. For instance, the two I’ve heard most often has been ‘war’ and ‘Koschei’. War is simple enough, and I think that’s what this thing wants – to spread violence using me to initiate a domino effect. But Koschei? It doesn’t make any sense.

For now, though, I can relate to Vivian, even if she is more far gone than me. And, for whatever reason, it seems like both of the beings inside us are cooperating with each other, unlike the one I fought with at the hospital. Maybe I should be grateful for that.

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