The Host and all of it's amazing characters belong to Stephenie Meyer, not me. Unfortunately.
It's really quiet. Where is everybody? I think.
It's been about a month since we left on our raid. We needed supplies. Plus, that damn parasite was getting on my nerves. Jared wouldn't let us kill it because it was in his girlfriend's body. I understand where he's coming from. If it was my girlfriend I don't think I'd be able to do it either. But I think I'd hope someone else would stand up and take care of the situation for me, just like I tried to do for Jared. But I know I'd probably put up a fight too if I could see Jodi's body standing there, right in front of me.
Stop thinking about it, it's not Jodi, I tell myself. It doesn't matter, the things probably dead by now anyway. I think that's the main reason Jared went on this raid. I could of handled it without him, but I think he wanted to get away for awhile. Let nature take it's course.
"Where the hell is everyone?" I asked. I looked over at the group of raiders carrying supplies in behind me. Usually when we get back someone's there to greet us. Sometimes Jeb, sometimes one of the others. I saw Jared shrug as he continued to pile the boxes we were unloading in the area we use for storage.
That's also the place where he and Jeb were keeping the alien. I remember a few weeks back when my brother, Ian, and I along with a another man, Brandt, came down here to kill the parasite. Brandt and I held Jared back while Ian strangled it. We would have finished it right then and there if Jeb hadn't come in cocking his rifle spouting some nonsense about the one the body belongs to making the decisions. He had the nerve to ask me how I would feel if it was Jodi. That's hitting below the belt.
Besides, we weren't trying to kill Jared's girlfriend, she's gone. We were just trying to get rid of the alien parasite that's infested her body. There's a difference. I know that if I was closer to the situation I might not be able to see that difference. That's why I'm glad it's not Jodi. I know it's got to be rough on Jared.
But like I said, it's dead now anyway. Someone would have killed it by now. Maybe it was Ian. He was feeling a little guilty about strangling it last time I saw him, but he would've done what was right. He wouldn't let it hurt our friends. Which is what it wants to do. It wants to hand us all over to the Seekers and let them erase us, just like it did with Melanie. Just like they did with Jodi... and Mom and Dad...
"Kyle? Hello?" I here someone say. I was grateful to whoever pulled me out of my depressing reverie. I blinked and saw Jared staring at me with an irritated look on his face. I guess he wanted to get the bodies we had brought back inside to Doc.
We had taken two parasites this time. Doc was trying to get the aliens out, but with no success. We carried the bodies out into the main room. There was no one there. It wasn't that late that everyone would be in their rooms.
"Where is everyone?" This time it was Andy who asked.
"I don't know. Maybe the kitchen. It's a little late for dinner, but..." Jared trailed off. He had a worried expression on his face. He was thinking the same thing the rest of us were, I could tell. He was thinking what if the parasite wasn't killed? What if it got away? What if it led the Seekers back? What if...?
We were all very quiet. Each of us thinking about the loved ones we had left behind in the caves when we went on the raid. Andy had left Paige. Jared had left the kid, Jamie. He treated that kid like he was his own brother. And I had left my brother. Ian. Not that I didn't think Ian can take care of himself, but he is my brother. He's the only family I had left.
Just then Jeb came out to meet us. We all breathed a sigh of relief. He told us to get the bodies to Doc, so we hurried down the south tunnel, not wanting the buggers to wake up before we got there. That had happened once before. It wasn't something that any of us wanted to have happen again.
After dropping the bodies off with Doc and making sure they weren't going to wake up anytime soon, we all headed for the kitchen. We were hungry, or at least I was. Starving, actually. Jeb followed along with us. He didn't talk much, besides the common pleasantries. But the rest of the guys were talking so much there wasn't a want for conversation.
Then Jamie came running out and nearly knocked into Jared. I had to smirk at that. Jared just steadied him and ruffled the kid's hair with his hand. That kid had been through a lot recently. Losing his sister, then getting her body back with a parasite inside of it. I was glad he'd managed to keep a good attitude through it all.
We all continued on to the kitchen, Jamie now hooked to Jared's arm. He was asking how we were and if anything exciting happened. There wasn't much to tell, it was a fairly easy raid.
The passageways in the caves were slightly narrow, so when we reached the kitchen I was stuck in the back of the group. I saw Jared and the other raiders freeze in front of me, but I couldn't see what was going on. Some of the guys seemed confused.
I couldn't see Jared, but I heard him say, "What is the meaning of this, Jeb?" He sounded angry. Why?
"Wanda is teaching us all about the universe!" Jamie. He sounded completely oblivious to Jared's apparent anger.
"Wanda?" Jared snarled.
Then Paige cried out, "Andy!" She ran across the room, nearly tripping, but Andy caught her. Now I could see their faces. They looked... almost... guilty?
Everyone began welcoming us home as I pushed my way through the crowd. That's when I saw it. It wasn't dead. It wasn't even tied up or anything. It was... it was... making bread!
"What the hell, people?" My voice boomed above all the commotion as I pushed further into the room.
"You're letting it tell you its lies? Have you all gone crazy? Or did it lead the Seekers here? Are you all parasites now?" I couldn't believe this. What the hell were they thinking? I would take care of this once and for all. I heard some one say my name as I moved through the crowd, but I didn't know or care who it was.
I saw Ian, who had been sitting on the counter next to that thing, get down and step in front of it. Almost like he was trying to block it from me.
"Things changed while you were gone, brother" Ian said.
I stopped moving then. I felt my jaw drop. What?
"Did the Seekers come, then, Ian?" I asked. I knew that it was my brother standing in front of me and not some bug wearing his body, but what other explanation could there be?
"She's not a danger to us." He said. I wanted to hit him. What the hell did he mean 'not a danger to us'? Why was he listening to its lies? I reached for the flashlight in my pocket. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it cringe.
"Don't get in his way, Ian." It said. It actually sounded like it cared about him. Tricky bugger. I shined the light right into Ian's eyes and when they didn't reflect back I put the light away.
"So, what, then? You're not a parasite. How did it get to you?" I asked. Why was he protecting it? Why were they listening to it? I was outraged.
"Calm down, and we'll tell you all about it."
"No." Jared said. He was still in the same spot by the door. Jamie still holding onto his arm. He began moving through the crowd. The kid looked confused, but kept his grip on Jared's arm.
"I don't think anyone needs to calm down." He was clearly furious. I'd never seen him that way before. His eyes were filled with... murder. "Jeb, give me the gun."
I smirked a little. Finally someone was going to do what needed to be done. I turned to look at the bugger and saw it take a step back and away from Ian. At first I thought it was going to run, but then I saw it close its eyes. It seemed to be giving up. Why would it...?
"Don't happen to have it on me," Jeb said, answering my thought. That's why. It knew Jeb didn't have the gun. It was lying again. Making it look like it was giving up. Maybe it thought we were stupid enough to fall for it's lies too.
"Fine," Jared said coming closer, "It will be slower this way, though. It would be more humane if you found that gun fast."
"Please, Jared, let's talk." I whipped my head back around to see Ian putting himself between Jared and that thing. He looked anxious. He looked like he cared about it. Like he didn't want it hurt. I didn't like that. I thought my brother was smart enough not to let it brainwash him.
"I think there's been too much talk. Jeb left this up to me, and I've made my decision," Jared looked like he was about to lose it. The expression on his face might have almost been funny if the situation weren't so serious.
Then someone cleared their throat and Jared spun around to look at them. "What? You made the rule, Jeb," He said.
Jeb looked at him for a moment before saying, "Well, now, that's true."
Jared immediately turned on Ian. "Get out of my way, Ian"
I wasn't about to let Ian get hurt for that thing. Not seriously, anyway. If Ian didn't move I'd have to drag him away.
"Well, well, hold on a sec. If you recall the rule was whoever the body belonged to makes the decision," Jeb clarified.
"And?" Jared was now quite frustrated with Jeb. I was surprised he had managed to keep it together this long. I would have flipped already.
"Well seems to me that there's someone here who's claims just a strong as yours. Mebbe stronger," Jeb said. Every eye in the room turned towards Jamie. He looked confused and horrified. I think he was still putting it all together.
He looked up at Jared and said, "You can't, Jared. You wouldn't. Wanda's good. She's my friend! And Mel! What about Mel? You can't kill Mel! Please! You have to..." He looked sick. Poor kid, but it had to be done. That's not his sister.
"So, you can see Jamie's not in agreement. I figure he's got as much say as you do," Jeb said. I was shocked. Why would he do this? Doesn't he see what it's doing to the kid? To my brother? To everyone? Doesn't he see how dangerous this thing is? We can't just keep it around like some stray dog!
"How could you let this happen, Jeb?" Jared murmured. He was looking at Jamie. The disgust in his eyes was most definitely reserved for Jeb. The pity was for no one but Jamie.
"There is a need for some talk. Why don't you take a breather first, though? Maybe you'll be more up to conversation after a bath," Jeb said. He wasn't asking. He was telling us to leave. That guy really pissed me off sometimes.
We stood there for a minute or so. I don't think Jared wanted to lose this battle. I know I didn't. Every minute that thing was alive was a minute too long. It was only a matter of time before it escapes. Especially now that their letting it have free roam of the place!
"Kyle!" Jared yelled. He was going to do what Jeb told him to. I couldn't believe it.
Whatever. We'll get our chance soon enough, I thought to myself. I wasn't going to let it hurt my friends. That's for sure. I turned to look at Ian. He was still standing in front of the bug. He didn't look anxious anymore. Now he looked mad. He was glaring at me, clearly wanting me to leave. I made a face and turned to follow Jared into the hall.
What the hell happened while we were gone? Why was Ian standing up for that thing? I mean, I get why Jamie didn't want it dead. He was just a kid and it was in his sister's body. And Jeb's just plain crazy. But Ian? Whatever it had told him had obviously been enough to get him to turn his back on everything we know to be true. Enough to turn his back on me. I had to stop this. I couldn't let my brother, the only person I had left in this world, the only one they weren't able to take from me, get brainwashed by that wolf in girls clothing. No, I was going to stop it.