Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer

“How long have you been here?”

“Well, it’s hard to say with any degree of certainty but, maybe, ten or fifteen minutes”

“Do you know when you were born?”

“Well, again, it’s hard to say but sixteen, maybe, seventeen minutes ago”

“Do you know my name?”

“No, I’m quite sure that I do not”

“Do you know your own name?”

“No, I’m not very good at this, am I?”

“The right answer is only the one that you give. It’s just that this is somewhat out of character for you, that’s all. I know your name”

“Really? And, I presume, you know your own name also?”

“I do. Your name is Laura Perry and you have been a patient of mine here at Lake Alice for almost ten years now. You came to us when you were twelve. You have no recollection of this?”

“Laura Perry, I like that name. And no, I’m a newborn, remember?”

“Like I said, this behaviour is very much not like you, Laura. The extreme violent tendencies we have worked on, the self-hatred and harm, but never this narrative”

“Narrative? I’m not reading you a book. Laura is not here any more”

“Where is she?”

“She is dead”

“Who are you?”

“I’m an immigrant”

“From where?”

“You’d probably best comprehend it as another world. But it isn’t”

“And, so, you’ve taken over Laura’s body?”

“Of a fashion. I mean, it was mine before it was hers”

“How is it, then, you speak our language?”

“A very fine question, doctor. I really don’t know, all this is very new. Perhaps this ability of my thoughts to reform into your language is a residue. Like driving a vehicle once owned by another, it still functions regardless of the driver”

“Yet, you have none of Laura’s memories”

“We’ll see. There may be some of her left at the very bottom of the pot”

“Laura, you do know that this narrative is not new. It is common in my profession. I mean, the idea of alien invasion, infestation of a human host. It is a well-worn motif”

“I’m unsure of all your words doctor, but this is not an invasion. How can I steal something that was fucking mine to begin with?”, her words spit before then suddenly calming.

“Laura? maybe we’ve spoken long enough for today. Tomorrow we can work some more”

“A very, very long time ago my race planted seeds. We cast here the building blocks of what would form into the very fine biological structures that you, now, regard as being human. It was an inordinately long process, but we grew you so that one day we could transfer from our shapeless form. We could ascend into a new realm of existence. Laura’s husk is mine”

“Are you married, Laura? I mean, perhaps you have someone you love on this plane from which you say you come. Someone to accept you and understand the things that you try and say”

“Why, yes I do, doctor. So funny that you should ask”

“Funny? Why? Why do you think it’s funn…”

Her words trail off and she stares with a look of the most profound and sudden revelation. Laura slips from her cuff restraints and reaches across the desk, and gently she caresses the doctor’s upturned twitching hand.

“Be calm my love. It’s more wonderful here than we could ever have imagined”.