Summary: 'It's dead. I know it's dead. The vaccine worked. I felt it die.'
The back of my neck itches. I ignore it, stare resolutely at the computer screen. My eyes are sore, beginning to burn. I sigh, give up. I promised Janet three hours ago that I would go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight, try to get some sleep. She'll be home soon and if she finds me like this, well.
It won't be pleasant.
She worries, I know. I get that. I'm a big girl, really. But she hates it when I get hurt, when something happens to me that she can't immediately put right.
I can feel my eyes beginning to close, so easy just to drift off, to drift away. I jerk upright, the sensation of something slithering in the back of my mind, insidious thoughts that are not my own. My hand goes to the back of my neck. The slight bump at the top of my spine under the scar is quiescent, unmoving as it has been since I left Steveston.
It's dead. I know its dead. The vaccine worked. I felt it die. Every test Janet has run since I got back confirms it. But I remember. the impotent fury as it tried to control me, the threats it made before it died. It died! I felt it die. It's dead.
They only come out at night.
I've had insomnia before - after Jolinar, after the entity, when the Colonel was missing on Edora, when Daniel died. every time Daniel died. But not as bad as this. I've never been too afraid to go to sleep before.
My eyes burn. I feel so heavy. I close my eyes to rest them. Just resting, not sleeping, not letting go. I jerk awake, try to get up and for a moment I can't. My body doesn't want to obey me. So tired. I hear the front door click open, Janet's soft voice calling my name as she comes into the room. My expression must tell her that something is wrong as she rushes towards me, touches my cheek. I'm crying. My voice says her name even as I try to tell her to stay away. She puts her arms around me and now, now I can move. I hold her close, as close as I can, my hand touching her face, her neck, my fingers closing around her throat, squeezing, choking her. I can't stop it. This isn't me.
This isn't me. I hear it laugh inside me, dark and cold. Evil. Janet is hitting out at me, her nails scratch at my skin but its only me she touches not the thing inside me and she is getting weaker as I squeeze the life from her body. I try to stop but I can't. Her face is red, her lips blue. Tears roll down her cheeks leaking from her swollen eyes. She isn't making any sounds anymore. I hear the bones in her throat crunch as I crush her larynx, break her neck.
And then I let her go. She falls limply to the floor, just folds up and she's so small. So very small. I'm screaming inside but all I can hear is laughter.
I jerk awake. There's no body, there's no one here but me. I hope. It was just a dream, just a horrible dream... My cheeks are wet with tears, my throat feels closed off, raw, as if I've been screaming. I hear the front door click open, Janet's soft voice calling my name as she comes into the room. She rushes towards me as she sees that I am crying. She puts her arms around me and I hold her close. The knife I don't remember picking up slips easily between her vertebra with only the slightest resistance, I can hear it grate against the bone as it severs her spinal cord. Janet doesn't even have time to scream before she dies, cradled in my arms.
I wake up on the floor. There's no sign of Janet, no sign that I am anything but myself. Tired, more than a little paranoid, but myself. But is this the dream, is this the false sense of security that this thing has lured me into. Am I awake or asleep dreaming that I am awake.
They can't take it out of me. Too dangerous, too great a chance of paralysis, or brain damage to me. But I might just take the chance if I could be certain, absolutely certain that it was gone, that there was no danger of it taking me over. Of my dreams coming true. I reach up, press shaking fingers against the scar tissue. Nothing moves, but it could just be biding its time. I can't be sure.
The door opens, Janet comes in. I look up at her. Inside, I smile.