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Story Notes:

I feel that there should be some sort of warning for this ficlet. None of the available warnings seem appropriate or specific enough.


This ficlet isn't going to make a lot of sense if you haven't read Asphyxia- and, ah, it's me, and this might not make any sense regardless.



Its touch was feather light, barely detectable at all, a mere prickle of trichobothria, and not entirely unpleasant; its presence was, nonetheless, bizarre, and that, coupled with the frown Catherine wore, frightened Parker.

After all, this particular realm—affectionately entitled Picnic with Mom—was her refuge, and Bach the soundtrack, and there had never been trespassers.

Rarely did a disruption occur that was capable of wrenching Parker from the safety of her mother's arms. In fact, there had been only one such interruption in all of Parker's previous visits combined. Tommy.

Something was wrong this time, terribly wrong, just as something had been wrong the morning she'd found Thomas' lifeless body; the ugliness had, evidently, invaded her sanctuary, and this time, seemed inescapable, determined to reside permanently.

Parker had already retreated from the strange and violent hammering, the troubling pressure in her chest, the pressure of someone's lips on hers, the odd sensation that her breaths were not her own, and a distorted voice that had alternated between whimpers and shouts, and had pleaded and demanded in equal measures, "Open your eyes, please, don't leave me, open your eyes."

At Catherine's side, Parker had fled sobbing and screaming sirens, the painful jolt in her chest, and a peculiar unpleasantness in her throat that had prompted severe coughing and pain. She and Catherine had left behind the deafening silence between the clamor, and everything else in the world that was wholly incongruous to their peaceful fortress, set against the always-picturesque backdrop. 

They'd been driven farther into the forest by the intrusion, deeper into safety, in pursuit of another tranquil clearing beneath another blue sky and warm sun, another patch of land where nothing could touch them.

Presently, Parker was reclining on the ground with her head resting upon Catherine's lap, and pushing her fingers through verdant blades of grass.

"Mom," Parker said in a voice strained with concern when she felt her mother's body shudder. Catherine had noticed it first, lustrous ebony catching the sun in her meadow of emerald green, and the sharp contrast of the hues with her child's skin; her frown deepened, her eyes filled with tears. 

Parker hastily stumbled to her feet when Catherine, and the sanctuary she provided, evanesced. "Mom, wait, wait for me," Parker cried, resolved to follow her mother.

Instead, Parker was propelled backwards by the force of silk, broad and unyielding, winding, serpentine, around her wrists; she yelped and kicked futilely at the air, seeking purchase, solid ground. Parker braced herself for impact with the ground, but surprisingly, landed gently, on her back, into a diaphanous hammock that had not existed earlier.

She saw it then, saw what Catherine had seen, and had fled. The arachnid, still perching atop Parker's left hand, saw her as well; it observed Parker closely through eight glistening eyes, inky and small, and split evenly into two rows.

It isn't a hammock.
It's a web.
I'm trapped in its web.

The spider, delighted with its handiwork, extended a single slender, barbed leg, and pierced Parker's left hand. The pain was acute; the venom chilled and warmed, and numbed, and shook Parker's world wildly out of focus.

This isn't real.
I'm dead.
I'm dead.
And this-- this is hell.

Hell, as it were, was frigid, the air heavy with industrial cleansers and various antiseptics, and the walls stretched grotesquely. Beneath hell's blinding lights, the eight-legged intruder coiled its jointed appendages, and lowered itself until its sternum and epigynum were against Parker's flesh. Its intentions were unclear to Parker, much like her surroundings. Muted, lacking clarity, sharpness.

In fact, Parker wasn't certain when, precisely, her hand had opened, only that the spider was burrowing beneath the epidermis, lodging itself inside of her with fierce determination. She knew it was hopeless to even try to struggle, and that it was humanly impossible not to try. Parker knew that, and knew, too, that she was choking on her own breaths.

Incapable of escape, of movement, Parker felt lodged inside of herself.
Inside myself.

The spider expeditiously threaded black, durable silk through Parker's skin, back and forth, pulling her mangled flesh tightly closed, effectively burying itself, sealing itself safely inside.

Inside of me. Inhabiting me. With me.
Out. Get out. Out. Someone, please, get it out of me.

If I could-- free my arm, Parker thought, feeling confident and quite terrified that no one was coming to her rescue. Parker family motto. There are no heroes, no saviors.

With a grunt of exertion, Parker freed her right arm, and tore at the black silk on her left hand. Out. Get out. I-
Parker's fingers were halted abruptly by some unseen force, and blurred as they were thrust aside. Her adversaries were relentless, and had powerful weapons at their disposal.

Parker couldn't defeat them, and couldn't stop trying to, and they were nearly as horrified by her tenacity as she was by their strength. That was significant; after all, there were three of them, and they were armed with Ketamine and Versed.

"Damn it, Levi, hold her down, for God's sake," Ralph Williamson MD shouted, seizing Parker's arm.

Williamson was a short, stout, unattractive man with white, thinning hair, and absolutely no redeeming qualities, and both Broots and Jarod wanted to punch him-- for reasons that were altogether abstruse. The doctor's record was generally clean, not too-good-to-be-true suspiciously clean, however, and there were no rumors or reports of misconduct.

"Four-point restraints, mitts, and a belt," Williamson ordered, "now, before she self-extubates."

"I thought she was sedated," Levi stammered, glaring in disbelief at blood pooling onto the floor. He was dark-haired, well-groomed, and young. He hastily closed the cuff around Parker's right wrist, and ensured tautness.

"Does it look like she was sedated?" Williamson asked. "She tore out her sutures. Are you familiar with wound dehiscence, nurse?"

"Um," Levi said with some hesitance. "No, I-"

"Hey," Broots cried, jogging into the room, fatigue and concern etched upon his face. "Just what the hell is going on here? She was fine a second ago. What are you doing to her?"

"Increasing the patient's Propofol," Williamson gruffly answered Broots. "And restraining the patient. We'll have to clean and debride the hand wound again."

"Wait," Broots called, looking up from Parker's face, and jogging to catch up with the retreating doctor. With a wild, angry gesture at Parker, he asked, "You're not going to leave Miss Parker like that, like a criminal, are you?"

"I am," Williamson answered haughtily. "Until she regains consciousness and is declared stable by a psychiatrist the restraints are going to stay on."

Broots grunted his disapproval, and snarled at the closing door, "Like hell they are."


Chapter End Notes:

Some of you have asked me to connect the previously posted parts of this series, and group them all together. I intend to do that.

I'll be adding two additional installments to this yet-to-be-named series, and at that time I'll be able to put them into a proper series format.

Additional clarification:

Asphyxia (previously posted, and stand-alone) is the first installment.

Incursion is the second.

A third installment, Rupture will be posted in the coming weeks.

Wild Horses (previously posted, and stand-alone) is the fourth installment.

There will be a fifth and final installment this year.












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