Short Story Segment #3
Parasite Trigger Remedy
It was early in the morning, a couple hours past sunrise. And yet, the area in front of the city hall was filled to bursting.
A big announcement was scheduled to be released today. Rumors said it was about something that could benefit people around the globe. Reporters from several nearby states had swarmed over as fast as they could to confirm whether this interesting piece of news was real or just hype. The crowd began to grow restless as they waited, starting to feel impatient. They were busy people who could be spending their time doing other, more important things. Soon, the clock tower rang nine times.
At last, the time arrived. The mayor could be seen walking out of city hall, surrounded by an entourage of people. As the mayor stepped up to a podium, the entourage backed off a little ways, with a few of them splitting off to walk a small distance apart from the rest. One of the people in the split off group attracted a lot of the observers attention as he was covered from head to toe in a black cloak. It may have been spring, but it must have been unbearably hot to wear such a heavy looking cloak.
The mayor coughed a few times to attract the attention of the observers. Once the entire audience was looking at him, he smiled a fake smile and greeted those gathered before him.
"Hello, citizens! Today, I bring you all great news. News that will change the world as we know it." The mayor paused, letting the effects of his overbearing words sink into the crowd. Then, before someone could question him, he continued.
"Yes, yes, you heard me right. But, what grand change do I speak of? Let me tell you. Think for a moment of your loved ones and yourself. Think of them growing sick and ill with an incurable disease. Think of yourself, badly injured to the point of having one or more of your limbs amputated. Sounds bad, doesn't it? But, it doesn't have to be. Not anymore!"
The mayor grandly waved his arm in the direction of the group that split off from his entourage earlier. Two of the people standing next to the black cloaked person reached out and grabbed onto their cloak. With a swift tug, they removed the cloak revealing the person within.
The crowd gasped in astonishment, for, before them was a creature with distinctly inhuman qualities. And, yet, the more they looked, the more they could see the person within. Behind the bark like skin, the leafy green hair and the glowing red eyes, they could see a person. A person, much like themselves, just trying to live in this world. Ah, they thought, he must be suffering from some rare disease that turns you into a tree person.
You may be thinking it strange that they did not yell monster at first sight. It was thanks to the words of the mayor, right before the person was revealed, repeating in their head. Words of sickness, words of injury and words of hope. All of this attuned the crowds' minds' towards a medical explanation for the appearance of the tree like person before them.
The mayors' smile widened at the reaction of the crowd. "Dear citizens, do not be alarmed. The person standing before you is just one of the poor innocents that have been infected with a disease created through the illegal actions of Logging Tech. But, today, they will be cured."
The crowd gasped, their attention entirely focused on the mayors' every word.
"Scientists from our very own city have developed this cure. A parasite! Now, calm down everyone. I know the word parasite carries a negative connotation, but, we all carry countless parasites on our bodies. Tiny little things that live on our skin and in our gut. Yet, they do not kill us. They obtain what they need from us, while we receive a form of upkeep as they rent the space in our bodies. Symbiotic! It's a symbiotic relationship! This parasite that the scientists have developed is exactly like that. It cures us of our illnesses and injuries and in doing so, it receives an emotional stimulation of pure bliss, before it dies shortly thereafter."
Gesturing at the tree person, the mayor continues speaking. "This afflicted individual has volunteered to showcase the process of the cure. All he needs to do is swallow the parasite and in a few short moments, he will be cured. Does everyone want to see that?"
With the Mayors' encouraging shout, the crowd roared in response.
The mayor gestured for the tree person to proceed. The tree person reached out to grab a small squishy thing from the hands of one of the people standing next to them. Looking at the living creature held in between their fingers for just a moment, the tree person suddenly tilted their head back, opened their mouth and tossed the parasite in. With a swallowing sound that was heard in the silence that followed the tree persons actions, a few people couldn't help but vomit at the scene.
But, what happened next was worse, as the tree person screamed and screamed and screamed. The crowd couldn't help but feel shocked at the pain the tree person was experiencing. And yet, as a few of them prepared to rush up to help the tree person, the crowd saw something happen. The tree person started to shed their bark like skin and leafy hair, soon, the tree persons' screams quieted and subsided, leaving a naked, but unabashedly human person slumping in the spot where the tree person once was.
The crowd felt like their eyeballs would pop out of their heads. Truly groundbreaking! Change the world indeed! The now-normal person was escorted away as the mayor resumed speaking.
"This parasite will revolutionize the health care industry, allowing anyone and everyone to be healthy for their entire lives. And the good news is, these parasites are extremely easy to produce. So, they're very cheap. The development of these parasites is still underway, but, they are free to be sold on the market immediately."
One of the reporters in the crowd frowned and asked, "why are the parasites still under development?"
The mayor frowned, knowing he couldn't sugar coat things this time. "Well, The truth is, the parasites cause immense pain, as you saw. However, that flaw is being reduced and will be eradicated in time."
The crowd did not like that answer.
Another reporter said, "I heard that the effects of the parasite only last for a week. What do you have to say about that Mr. mayor?"
"Who told you that?" The mayor shouted.
The crowd started to look at the mayor in disgust. There is no way that they would endure such enormous pain just for one weeks worth of perfect health. Not if it meant that they would have to experience such pain again and again every week.
The mayor, sensing he was loosing the interest, and money, of the crowd, spoke up with a desperate voice. "Please, wait. Citizens, neighbors, friends? Look, it's fine to take them even if you are healthy. It, uh, helps to prevent disease and injury. Yeah ... and ... also, it doesn't hurt if you take it in such a preemptive way. See, look, I'll take one right now." The mayor grabbed one of the squishy parasites from one of his entourage, despite their protests about safety and swallowed it down.
The crowd, halfway into the process of leaving, turned to glance at the mayor. If what he said held true, then they might change their minds. Though, the smart ones in the crowd asked themselves why the mayor hadn't led with this preemptive method.
They were right to be suspicious.
A few brief moments of silence were all that was allotted before the mayor burst into a fit of screams and cries that dwarfed those of the previous tree person. And along with his cries of anguish, the crowd could see the bones and flesh of the mayor randomly fall off or pop out of his body, only to regrow instantly. Gallons of blood poured out of the mayor as his blood supply miraculously replenished itself time and time again. In fact, every part of the mayors' body had fallen off or out of the mayor several times by now. And yet, the mayor lived. He was constantly falling apart and replenishing those lost parts at the same time.
As the mayor reached out to the crowd, his mournful howls of pain echoing out from the core of his being, panic ensued. The crowd dispersed in a frenzied stampede. The mayor, was subdued and taken away for treatment. The parasite project, that triggered pain under the guise of a cure, was abandoned. The mayor, did not resume his office.
About the Creator
One of my favorite hobbies is thinking. I love to create fantasy realms in my mind, be it for stories or poetry. The one thing I was missing was a proper platform to share my fantasies. It's time I got Vocal. Hope you enjoy :D
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