One of the first memories I could recall was my father leaving the family. He didn’t speak a word to us, just walked toward the groves. I never saw him after that day. The part that disturbed me most was how everyone else took this. They all just stood there, watching on with knowing eyes. As if they knew that this day would come eventually.
My mother was described to be “wild”, a feral if you will. She had escaped some kind of confinement that my father was bound to, as he only had time to visit us when he could before he vanished from my life entirely. I never got to know him very well. Through her, I was taught about the dangers of those that walked the earth on two legs.
Anytime I asked why, she would only shudder and look away and remind me about my father. She told me the hard fact eventually after much pestering, that he died. I was confused, and asked why he did with tearful eyes, and how she knew this. She responded with something so surprisingly cryptic that it would puzzle me throughout my life.
“Everything dies, sweetie. It was what we were born to do.”
I was taught to cherish my life since then. I tried to keep a positive mood throughout, making friends with the diverse denizens of the forest. One thing bothered me though. They… did not have the things on their backs like my family did. I always had them since my birth. I did not know how to describe them. Plantlike, sometimes I see similar things growing out of the ground. Only mine were coming from my back. Odd.
I was told that we were safe here, hidden in woodlands. Free to play and wrestle with each other. When I was playing around, I often got a sharp pain in my back that sometimes made me quit entirely. The others did not seem to have these backaches.
Then what I assumed was the rumored two-legged creatures came to our forest. They were after us. Many resisted, some fell. Others were knocked and beaten to submission, and a select few of those ones were abducted. I should know, because I was one of them.
The two-legger that had me by a metaphorical leash and collar conversed with an older man about me specifically, and especially about the things on my back, which seemed to hurt with each passing day. Through this, I learned that they had a benefit for me, that they release these purple fumes that seemed to hurt others. I had to learn this quickly myself, if I ever stood a surviving chance.
There was a mentioning of a specific number. Twenty-four. Twenty-four? I wanted to know more. Why that number? Why was it important? What did it mean?
A long time ago, I had met what I assume that this parasite would make me do when it is done with me, whenever that will be. I only assume this because of the fact that our names were similar, and that he had some vague resemblences to me as well. Some were small, others were more subtle, but there was no doubt of my mind that we were one of the same. With a little help and guidance, we overcame this monstrosity and left it to die. I got a good look at it.
It was horrible! At first I mistook the white dots to its face as the creature’s eyes, but I was mistaken; it had none at all! The infection started to grow out of it. How could it see? Was it blind? Dead? But it was moving… how could the thing be dead if it was moving!?
Its back… oh god, its back…
I have come in terms with the fact that I am no longer in control of my body anymore. The parasite is what moves me around, take orders and all my day to day activities. I can’t even breathe without the help the thing inside of me. I have gone into a complete submission, I was now fully under control of it, and the human still wouldn’t even try to help me. I am starting to believe that he is a sadist, who enjoys watching me in my suffering. Every day, my back hurts more and more. The only thing I still have left is my consciousness, and even that I feel that it is slowly starting to be taken away from me as well. The parasite had gotten into my brain, controlling my movement. Every time I start to move on my own free will, it takes over again. I have absolutely no freedom.
The pain…it still hurts all the same without any sympathy. I can feel it inside of me. I feel it more than in my back now. I can feel it behind my skin, in my nerves and tendrils, making me twitch and itch irritably. Writhing. Moving.
The number the human said that day repeats in my mind every day since, as if it was the only number I knew anymore.
Twenty-four… Twenty-four … Twenty-four … Twenty-four …
One night I was released from my containment to find the boy alone. Although we speak in different tongues, figuratively, he must have sensed how melancholic I was becoming. He embraced my smaller body to his chest for what I figured would be the final time. He realized what was going to happen, and whispered to me that there was nothing to do about it. There was a way to stop it, but then I would never have my full potential. He told me that it was not anything personal, that it only has to happen.
In a whisper, he repeated what my mother told me that day when my father left. I never understood what she meant, but I knew now.
“It’s okay… everything dies.”
I was returned to my dwelling soon thereafter.
I awoke to the movement of my body walking about, the mindless abomination beneath my flesh having full control of my movement. The most I could do was skitter. That only twitched some of the tendrils that only delayed the process, however.
There was no human in sight, my own or any other. I seemed to be alone in these woods, the only thing I was able to do was think as my body was guided. It climbed a tree before using my own teeth to grip onto the bark. I tried to jerk my head away to get it loose, but it was all in vain.
I looked around for any sign of hope or perhaps even help only to find other members of my species around me in the neighboring trees. The infection inside of them taking root as it bursts from their backs in full form, scarlet trickling the trunk of the tree as well as the ground below. The parasite inside of them becoming larger, forming a large bulb crimsoned by the blood of its host. It was then that I realized that we as a species were doomed. We were all fated to this horrendous death once we reach maturity, but our body still moves as it is taken over by something else.
My body suddenly glows an intense white that would blind one’s eyes before I too become just like my brethren around me. It was almost as if my body had become light in its purity. Then, the pain started. The last pain I will ever feel and it was there at full force. It was almost as if my back was pierced by a thousand knives, liquid travelling down it and flowing down my legs quadr. I screamed out, although nobody told it to stop.
“Congratulations! Your Paras evolved into a Parasect!”