Creatures From Across the Black Sea

                Susie never expected them to appear one day, the fantastic creatures of her dreams. Sheer phantoms. Translucent in daylight, they touched men not in sleep but in wakefulness. Spores vast enough to grapple with the horizon, strange beasts unlike any she knew in the world. They were hazy; they were ghosts, and yet, on the occasion she was bold enough to reach out and touch one, their skin felt wet and clammy against her own.

The creatures she touched passed through her, sloshing about her insides like she was hollow. They disappeared within her, and did not emerge again. Nothing changed but her nights, where in the fullness of fantasy she bled lime green putrescence, and spoke in a tongue not her own. Wherein she thought alien thoughts. Flying fast and angry through her, the parasite's bitterness at being so caught by its maker infected her, the host, as well.

On nights where these dreams were strongest, she fled to the hem of her Mother, or her Father's gentle hands, and therein she sought solace. None forthcame, for she could not be understood. Such happenings existed so far beyond the ken of understanding of mere humankind.

"Honey, what's wrong?" Her father would ask.

"There, there, it was just a dream," Her mother hushed, and hummed a wordless tune from her own youth, the standard remedy of childhood nightmares. But these sufficed no longer. What she felt was not fear engendered by nightmares, and it did not fade in the light. She heard her parasite whisper even then, and they found, slowly, a way to communicate. It learned her name, and she its history.

Susie. She thought, for they shared space in the same head. Susie.

Susie. Its thoughts a dark reflection of her refrain. Susie.

We have come far. And we crave much. The black sea swallowed us almost a hundred times. But here is a world, and we will make it our own.

Day by day, she saw others infected, those who did not accommodate their parasites like she did, and were therefore consumed. Day by day, humanity was coopted by spirits who reached from across the black and claimed our souls for their own.

                Day by day, she found out further who she might become.

Our Future

For a long time the old man doesn't say anything. When he speaks, dark gums flap loosely, the chamber floods with rancid insouciance. You hide in the present, that feeble purchase. A precipice on which you teeter over death. Drenched in sweat, in fear, trapped between what was and what will be. The stench of youth pushes you closer and closer to the shadows.

"Yes, yes," He wheezes, in response to your unasked question, "Children are our future, and our past... We cradle them in our arms, these reflections, and we see what we once were. In us? They see what they must become. And who must end so that they may become it.”

“A vicious cycle,” You whisper, beset by flashes of memory. Held by your own father, the fear in his eyes. His ichor on your hands as you subsume his flesh. You and he as one, the elder obliterated as you contort towards manhood.

He pauses, as the distant wail of infants grow ever more present. Tiny fingers bear down, through the soft yielding wood like paper. Their hunger propelling them. And so, your ends grow nigh.

"We were doomed the moment they learned to transcend. The moment we learned. And round, and round it goes. Round and round…" His sentence trails off nothing, and you see they are already among you. A neonatal army, wailing, the old man's viscera choking their maws.

"We've been doomed," His bloody spittle flecks your cheeks, the legion of babies bearing down on him. You turn from the carnage, wincing. Vision hazed by the shadows of encroaching death. "Since before the universe began.”

He speaks now not to you, but to the small figures clinging to him, anthropomorphic leeches, growing, growing, forcing you out into the dark.

“Enjoy us, little ones… Enjoy. While. You. Ca-” Eyelids fluttering, he fades, leaving nothing in his wake but a mass of surging flesh. Then comes the young’s joyous ululation as you are among them, fresh prey. And they tear into you. Even as the pain settles upon you, so too does the numbing future. The dull night.

From the air echoes the old man’s laughter. Your cackles join his, and you float up and out from the world you once knew. This terrible chorus is the last thing you hear:

Come, let’s depart this den of horrors.

So you give way.

And so the world turns, ruled by your future, you, their past, by the locusts who house themselves in your skeleton and march briskly to their own ends like you never existed at all. And so your soul comes cycling around to the fore. The tiniest spark. A zygote once more.