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The Tapeworm

 
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Shuram Gudatetris
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:39 am    Post subject: The Tapeworm Reply with quote

John turned his old Chevy Blazer into the parking lot at a quarter past six. The sun was just beginning to rise and fluffy pink clouds celebrated the event. He sighed and rubbed his eyes. This was it.

For no particular reason, he decided to park towards the back of the lot. Maybe he was procrastinating. Every lead he had followed had so far led to a dead end, and this last lead was the least hopeful of all. But it was last. If this abandoned shoe store didn't give him something--a name, an address, a ghost of a clue--then his search was lost.

He rubbed his belly and looked at it longingly. "Last chance. Speak now, or forever hold your peace," he whispered to his stomach.

He kept his hand there for several seconds, focusing intently on what he felt there. It was silly, of course, and he knew it, but he couldn't help himself. He hadn't received any clues or warnings from his gut for several months. And even if he had, he definitely did not need to put his hand on his stomach to feel the flutter of his internal gut. His tapeworm had always been insistent and unmistakeable, as obvious as it was reliable.

Until it stopped. The silence had come painfully abrupt.

Until it silenced itself, his tapeworm had been a natural part of his physiology. He took it for granted that its messages would always come and go, the same way hunger and fatigue announced themselves with stomach growls and yawns. For nearly two decades, it had been his faithful guide--slithering in excitement when he was on the right path or fluttering in fear whenever danger loomed. But for long months it had been silent, and now John was on his own.

Sighing wearily, he pushed his way out of the old Blazer. The old door creaked in protest, and the seat springs squeaked gasps of relief as they lost his weight. His feet hit the pavement and he swung the door shut behind him a thump. Now there was nothing left between him and the apotheosis of his search. Tapeworm or no tapeworm, the time had come, and John would either fulfill his vow or accept the emptiness of his promise.

He turned towards the abandoned building, ready to face his destiny.

John peered over the heavy bags of his eyes and squinted at the empty store. His bloodshot eyes took in a scene of long abandonment; chaotic weeds consumed base of the building, the faded brown paint was peeling away to expose cheap siding, and ugly vines crept up the outer walls infectiously. But worst of all was the condition of the windows.

Every last pane of glass on John's side of the building had been compromised. Some were just cracked, but most were nearly completely broken out.

This building had been exposed to the elements for years, and anything John may have hoped to find would likely be lost to rain, mold, or vermin destruction. John rubbed at his itchy neck scruff and sighed discontentedly.

But he was not defeated. It's impossible to defeat a man who has already lost. Long years of loneliness and guilt had numbed him to the prospect of defeat. He had already lost everything that mattered, destroyed everyone he loved. But even in his loss, John's determination was granite--eternal and unrelenting.

It had been almost five years since he first listened to Anna's last voicemail. Her accusation against him, and her subsequent disappearance, had set him down this path. His love for her had amounted to nothing more than unwitting neglect and countless betrayals. Yet John refused to let guilt compromise his loyalty. Rising above his pain, he had forced himself to hear the true nature of Anna's final message: she was in danger, and she needed his help.

But that was five years ago....Five years! he screamed at himself. It was foolishly hopeless to think that she could still be saved--that she was still alive--after all this time. But John accepted his foolishness and his hopelessness, and used them as crutches to keep himself upright and moving forward,

Lost but determined, hopeless yet uncompromising, John forced himself to take the first step towards the uninviting building before him. One step towards his destiny. One step--

Paralyzed in disbelief, John had to wait for the second step. For several moments, he stared dumbly at his own stomach like a man who had just dribbled mustard all over himself. Then a hint of a grin curled his lips.

Like the giddy bubbling of intense oncoming diarrhea, the tapeworm in his gut undulated with affirmative acrobatics: John had finally found what he was looking for.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tapeworms give me the heebie jeebies.
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Akasri
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nicely written!

Speaking of tapeworms... the only thing I remember from 8th grade Biology (which was 40+ years ago) was one day the teacher told us how to get rid of a tapeworm.

For 29 days you eat the same thing for every meal. You eat a piece of dry toast, drink a glass of water and eat a lemon cookie.

On the 30th day, you skip the lemon cookie. The tapeworm sticks his head out your mouth and asks "Where's the cookie?" You grab it and yank!

Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL

Well, I am curious to see where the story goes. The symbiotic relationship is certainly different.
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Shuram Gudatetris
Luxurator of In-Flux Crust Eruptions

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first time Map reverted surprised the Hell out of John. The young worm thing had grown into a feisty young woman. Most teenage girls are annoying as Hell, but this mouthy one had strange, evil powers to back up her attitude. John had seen her inflict real pain and punishment on the occasions the wrong person happened upon her. Which is why it was all the more shocking the first time she reverted.

They were walking out from what passed as the local restaurant. These tiny shit-hole towns always had the lonely social saloon. Most were harmless enough, but some were more tavernish and these were marked with a mandatory asshole barfly. Unfortunately for these hickish boar types, Map was often quick with a sharp tongue of disgust.

But on this particular occasion, the little watering hole was a legitimate feeding hole. Map and John ordered blissful cheeseburgers, made right with grease soaking the bottom of the bag. His mouth was watering as he watched the bag steam in front of him. The clerk asked for the payment and John obliged.

"Sorry sir," the young man droned. "No cash."

CREDIT ONLY

John felt like suddenly much more than his credit history was at stake here.

He got a chill on his spine and his balls shriveled up. He gulped uncomfortably at the hot air. The young man across the counter smiled wide and betrayed a pair of unlikely fangs.

John marveled at fearsome grin and blinked his eyes quickly. The sweat dripped into them as he shook his head, and John was suddenly blinded with stinging pains. He blinked ferociously more and caught his vision.

The young man had a normal smile after all. John sighed with relief.

John rifled through his wallet and grabbed his best credit card. It seemed to hum in his fingers. John looked down at it sternly as he held it out. It looked normal, except, he thought the lettering was supposed to be grey. It was gold. It hummed sickenly.

The clerk nodded with delight as he beheld the card. He reached out reverently and received it from John. A flash of gold light stunned John's vision. Or did it?

The clerk had horns growing out of his hair. John thought dumbly, they suit him.

The clerk had taken a hold of John's card, but his finger was dripping a bit of blood. The corner of the card had knicked him and sliced his skin open.

"Wow," said the clerk. "This is really, really great. I can't thank you enough." The clerk was sincere. "But are you sure you want to use this card?"

The card seemed incredibly important to the clerk, but not so much to John. It wAs just a normal credit card, right?

John nodded solemnly.

"Oh, my," said the clerk. "Wow. Just wow." The clerk was no longer wearing an apron, but more of a fancy cloak. John thought the cloak seemed very becoming of an emcee. "Jane! Hey, Jane! Hey! Get Jane over here!"

The other crew members came clustering upon the clerk. Everyone was whispering with giddy excitement. They passed the card amongst themselves, whispering fervently and touching it reverently.

When it got to the end, a portly woman hiked up her breeches and snorted a lougue. "I'm Janet!" she chirped proudly.

The clerk spun on her furiously, pointing his finger in condemnation. "Jane! Jane damn it! I called for Jane!"

While the clerk was busy spewing angry insults in the face of Janet, a young lady stepped up to the counter to confront John. The young lady had elfen ears and silver eyes. Her nametag read: Jan.

She smiled broadly but then screwed up her face and spoke sideways out of her mouth in a mumbled lisp, "Hey, if I were you I would just get out here while you still can. They're locking the doors." Then Jan smiled broadly.

John took the hint and looked towards the doors. A large shadowy figure that John took for the manager had just locked the ones on his side. He was marching with a portly swagger to the other side. John shot a quick look at Map and made his decision. Map was pale white.

"Thank you! Have a nice day!" John called out cheerfully and boldly. But his mouth was screwed up like he had forgotten English. He mumbled something more like, spen soop bad a brice brebth.

Everyone froze in the midst of their whispers and they all turned their heads slowly to stare at John. John smiled embarrassingly as forked tongues hissed madly at him.

John shrugged and smiled, and snatched his cheeseburgers off the counter. He grabbed Map's hand with his free fist and darted towards the door, yanking Map after him like a limp Maneguin stumbler. The lizards of the restaurant howled in anger as they disappeared out the door.



John found himself stumbling into a world of darkness as he trotted out the door. Map was stumbling woodenly as he tugged her along behind him. He stepped in a pothole and jarred his knee. "Ouch!"

They fell in a tangle of limbs. Maps faced brushed John's arm, and she was cold as a goose. "Map!" he chirrupped in giddy pain. His knee was throbbing in disgust.

In the dimn light, John could see Map shake her head in refusal.

"Leave me alone." she whistled.

The air was blowing hot and wet against John's head. He looked around the night and saw animal eyeflash glowing ominously from the shadows. "Map, we got to get out of here."

A tailless beaver that John took to be a woodchuck came stumbling out of the shadows. It had something vaguely human dangling dead in its mouth. The woodchuck came shuffling toward John and Map, and John quickly scrambled towards his feet. His sprained knee bawled badly at the prospect of hijauling Map's limp body. The woodchuck closed in on him.

"Hey! Hey you!" came an awful bark in the direction of the woodchuck. John looked back and saw the woodchuck spit out it's mouse or whatever. It halted suddenly and sit down. John was vaguely surprised to see the woodchuck sitting in a lawn chair.

John finally realized that it really was a Beaver, but it was Leave it to Beaver Beaver. He, the Beaver, had simply been wearing a fur coat, and pretending to be a hamster. Of course! Thought John.

The Beav was looking suave and sexy, with his black hair slicked back and sunglasses. He sipped from a fancy tropical drink, umbrella and coconut and all, and he had an open beach shirt revealing a tan, fit chest. "Hey you girl," the Beav used his smoothest moves, "why don't you come over here and sit with me."

John looked at Map in shock. Then at the Beav. Then back to Map. Map was pale and plain, not even a woman anymore. She was worming away into smoothness. A black wig hung crookedly on her wormy tip. The jacket slumped to the ground as her shoulders disappeared.

The Beav was smiling greedily now, and it is clear that this was Willem Defoe the whole time. He was playing the Beav, and it was a performance of a lifetime.

John snapped out of it and drew his pistol. He fired a bullet between the demon's eyes.

The wormy woman jerked with surprise at the sound of John's gunfire. Map snapped a confused look around. And she was herself again: pale and thin, but her true self. She pulled the hair away from her face and puked between her pointy breasts.

John snatched her up in his arms and ran towards the van.

His fears were confirmed by the way the van seemed to stay the same distance away no matter how fast he ran: Hell was creeping in on them. They had to bust their asses to climb back out as fast as possible.

John put his head down and sprinted with all his might, focusing on his feet hitting the ground, watching the distance he ran increase with every step. He took the science of counting and combined it in his mind with the visualization of the van getting closer. John could only imagine a shiny bright new van, but he knew it would be good enough.

He ran as hard as he could towards his mobile home, feeling the ground lurch towards a more stable angle as he got close. Once he had crossed the cusp of it, he quickly began to gain new ground. The street lights had even come back on by the time John reached the van.

He tucked Map into the passenger side quickly, and then hurried to get himself in and belted. He turned the ignition and the van roared to life, purring with anticipation. A flick of the switch brought the headlights on, and John gasped as a herd of carnivoyeurous deer came to life and bounded away back into the shadows..

John slammed the van into drive and stole the rode.
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