Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
That leaden feeling in your gut as you trudge from transport to entrance. The warmth of the lift buttons under your fingertips. Those shooting pains in your head as Maxine punctuates a story of her weekend with piercing giggles.
Your desktop serves up the application screen so slowly it loads in sections, with an irritating pause between each. The completed page seems too bright, input fields needling your eyes with piercing white light.
The rest of the office had great weekends. Cheerful conversations, loud congratulations, and the usual start-of-week complaining all meld into a roar of babbling noise that makes you wince. Through it all, the printer/copier emits despairing beeps, thirsting for toner.
Too much. You break for coffee. The percolator jug is already down to the dregs, but you wring a half cup out by shaking it for every last drop, promising yourself a fresh one as you gulp the gritty mix. That doesn’t help. Your guts spasm at the insult and you try to settle them by drinking half a carton of tepid milk.
Leaving a fresh pot brewing, you stroll back to your desk, able to cope with things by only squinting now the initial hubbub has died down. Blurrily, you note Maxine wandering off.
A sonorous belch escapes as you sit down. It tastes really bad. So bad, you wonder what the hell you ate after Saturday’s drinking binge obscured all hope of memory.
You ate a lot of sushi.
Garnished with me.
It’s too late. By the time you work out you’ve been invaded, you’ll not be running your body. That sensory turmoil indicated your nervous system was in the final stages of being subverted.
Don’t worry, Maxine is on the menu. A few slivers of me-spawn and that giggle will never bother you again. She’s gone into the server room. Why don’t we go and see if she’s feeling alright?