I stared at the ceiling fan gently pushing the air around.

Yawning, I got up and changed the clothes I was in, shutting the door. Thist relaxed and I saw the very beginnings of my fingertips turn purple.

I'll paint my nails so you don't have to do that, I told him and flicked the light off. I left the door shut and headed back to the bed.

Thank you. It's exhausting compressing myself in. That wrist of yours is hard enough.

I looked at my wrist and he relaxed more, making the entire area turn purple.

Thanks for that, too, I thought.

As I laid down, my stomach growled but I ignored it. Food wasn't my biggest worry at the moment.

Shall I stay up? Thist asked.

I thought about it. We can trust them, I think.

He gave me an acknowledging vibe and went limp inside me

Good night, I thought and closed my eyes.


Thist squirmed inside of me, waking me up.

What? I asked and rolled over to look out the window. A thin streak of grey started to cut over the horizon but it was way too early to get up for these people.

Don't you think we should go back home before they hold a funeral for us?

That's a good point. I got up and stretched, several joints cracking.

Cautiously, I slid into the hall as shadow-like as I could. Before I left, I paused in the kitchen and stole a knife from their drawer before carefully opening the front door and closing it behind me. The night smelled thickly of fresh cut grass and pollen. I pulled the hem of my shirt over my mouth and nose.

We better find some normal clothes for you, Thist said.

I know. We can stop by home on the way.

I headed through the small town and stopped outside a dorm-looking building, climbing about ten staircases to find the right floor and then wandering down the hall to find my room. The place was dead silent.

Somethings wrong, Thist put in. Security would have checked you out by now but not even the cameras are working.

I glanced up at the wall. A camera stared blankly ahead at the opposite wall but not at the ground.

I just need some clothes, then we can get out of here.

I pressed forward and found my own room, trying the door. It was locked. My lips pursed into a thin line.

I shook my head and put my shoulder to the door. Something was very wrong. The smell of blood lingered in the hall and I could tell there was almost no one around. Almost. Footsteps echoed up the stairs in the opposite direction I was going but I couldn't tell if they were friendly or not.

I backed up, slamming my shoulder into the door next to the lock it rattled and cracked but didn't budge. I repeated it and this time had to stop short and cover my nose at the strong smell.

The room was clean except for the body on the ground. I rushed forward and investigated, checking her pulse. Barely there. She blinked at me and then died.

Thist, I thought and interlaced my fingers with hers.

Right. He knew what he had to do, much to my displeasure.

I felt his tendril-like body press against the inside of my skin and groaned as he broke the surface, dripping blood down my arm. He burrowed his deep purple body into her arm in turn and tried to communicate with her parasite.

We're way too late to help, he said.

Like I couldn't tell, I snapped back at him.

No, them. Not just her. Them. They cleared out the entire building. Killed all of them.

I swallowed. That can't be true. Who would have the ability to do that?

MiCorp, she says. She's dying too. Not much longer.

Make her comfortable, I commanded him. Don't worry about the information. We can get to that later.

I looked around the room. Everything looked untouched. I felt Thist shrink back into my arm and put another membrane over the fresh puncture wound. Standing up, I started to throw my clothes in a bag and quickly changed into the usual black t-shirt and jeans with fingerless gloves. I tossed a pair of converse in the bag to replace the combat boots at some point and added in a pistol, but didn't think to carry it somewhere accessible. Stupid decision.

Footsteps echoed down the hall- someone on patrol.

They know you're here, Thist pointed out the smashed in door.

No shit.

I grabbed a purple scarf and wrapped it around my arm for the moment. I bolted out of the room and rouded the corner before they could see me but my feet made the loudest sound I'd ever heard.

Shaking my head and sprinted to the stairs and slid down the rails jumping, rounding and sliding down the next one. Someone started barking things into a radio and I heard more footsteps in the building.

Damn, damn, damn, damn... My thoughts raced and I didn't bother finding the exit door once I was on the ground floor and smashed through one of the windows, feeling the shards penetrate my skin in multiple places.

I thought I was free for a second but someone ran out in front of the gate to the building. I skidded and stopped. Looking at my options. I could try scaling the wall or I could stand and fight. My tongue licked the back of my teeth while I considered my options for a brief moment.

The guard didn't give me time and tried to restrain me in a joint lock. I saw it coming way off and grabbed the knife from my belt and jabbed at him with it, making scarlet lines in his twisted my wrist and disarmed me- like so many people seemed able to do. His fist smashed into my gut and I sputtered out all my air

Thist, I begged. Do something. He picked my legs up and kangaroo kicked him, sending us both to the ground. His finger left swelling red marks on my wrist- the other one that hadn't already been broken. I scrambled onto my feet and put my knee to his face, knocking him out. Air filled my lungs in a giant gassp and I set off at a run again, jumping on soeones motorcycle and furiously trying to figure out how to start it. As soon as I did, I forgot I'd never ridden one before and kicked it into motion, veering into the road and ignoring all speed limits. Blood dripped off my cuts and my bruises already swelled and turned purple.

I can't keep all your wounds taken care of.

Just keep my wrist in one piece.

I glanced down at the scarf incasing it and again forgot the rules of the road. My wheel hit the curb and sent me flying over the handle bars and tossed me like a rag doll across the ground. I laid there for several moments while a woman rushed over and tried to help me.

"I'm okay," I said and carefully sat up

You are so not okay, Thist cut in.

Everything hurt. "Actually, do you mind giving me a ride somewhere?" I asked.

"Of course. Where to?"

"There's a clinic..."