Introduction:

The third chapter in the series sees the parasite within Leah fully realized as the corrupting influence of this alien presence spreads…

Molly smeared a dollop of the sample onto the microscope slide and slipped it under the lens. The image started out blurry, but Molly was adept with the tool and pretty soon, she got a clearer picture. Molly gazed down and gasped at what she saw. Millions of little objects wiggled about in the protoplasm, their bodies covered in cilia. If she had to guess, Molly might have called these things cells, but there were issue with that.

First of all, they didn’t seem to have even a malleable single form. Instead, the gelatinous blobs reshaped constantly, something sprouting little tentacles, other times inflating, sometimes splitting apart and coming back together. To her knowledge, nothing terrestrial worked like this.

“Babe,” Molly said. “Come see this.”

Hunter walked over and took a leak through the lens. He seemed equally shocked.

“It has to be contamination. I mean it happens all the time. Meteorite lands in water or mud, maybe it has organic compounds in it, maybe it just has surface area. Either way, it’s covered in less than a second.”

“I considered that, but the behavior of these guys is off the charts. Hunter, we’ve seen countless samples from the water here. Look me in the eyes and tell me with a straight face that you’ve seen organisms do this kind of thing.”

Hunter broke into a smile.

“I haven’t,” he said.

“This is unreal,” Molly giggled. “Aliens. Hunter, we found aliens!”

“We found something,” he said, desperately trying to keep his expectations low.

***

Megan burst through the door and into the room, already launching into a tirade. She had something to say and now, finally, she had someone who would listen.

Leah simply watched the girl with hungry eyes.

“Can we talk? Thanks, Leah, you’re the best! So you won’t believe what I saw Brad do. Wait, I should back up.”

Megan stepped into a small puddle of slime and yelped.

“Hey, what is this stuff? Jessie and I were wondering. It’s pretty gross.”

“I had a lava lamp explode,” Leah whispered quietly as she closed the door and moved closer to Megan.

“It’s icky. Why haven’t you cleaned it up?”

“Had an assignment due, took priority,” Leah said tonelessly. Megan just accepted this.

“Brad is totally giving me the cold shoulder and I’m done. All we ever do is board game nights and movie nights, always with his friends. Never any private time. And then today, guess what? He lied to me!”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Leah cooed. She came up to stand next to Megan by her bed and stared closeness at the girl, feeling the rising need inside. Something was shifting, waking up. It needed let out.

“I’ve been waiting all day to talk to you. Jessie is just a jerk about this, don’t tell her I said that, and Emily just doesn’t care.”