I am waiting for my 87 year old patient to come into the room when he freezes. His daughter and my receptionist freeze too.


It's the naked thing from the woods. Outside the windows. It's riding a three horned seahorse sort of thing which is in flames. The naked thing dismounts and pops through the mail slot, ignoring the door handle.

The flaming seahorse is torching cars. Oh, it saw the deer. I have not seen our deer run that fast.

"Call it off."

The critter shrugs, but the flamehorse goes back to the cars. The critter bounces past like a slinky going down the stairs and hops up on the exam table, ignoring the step. That's impressive. It just jumped 8 times its height.

It turns and then cringes a little at my expression. "Need help." It rustles the exam table paper.

I don't think it would cringe if Arty hadn't come here first. "You are interrupting."

It cringes a little and smiles slyly. "I'm... I'm..." it manages to look like a shy schoolgirl. How unlikely.

"You're FEMALE?" I say.

It looks coy.

"I don't do obstetrics any more."

It snaps its'... its'... well, sort of a full body snap. Audible. Horrifying. A policy appears on my desk. I am now insured by hell.

"Ok. I don't have a doppler." A doppler appears too, in my hand.

I turn it on. The critter's heart rate is in the 180s. There is another heart rate, 240s. "Is that normal?" I ask.

It smiles. "Oh, yes." A small ultrasound machine, blood red, pops up before I can ask for it. I put goo on the creature and turn on the ultrasound. I count. "Um, ten." The creature looks anxious. "Or eleven."

It wiggles. "Eleven is normal!" They all have fast little heartbeats.

"So what do you need?"

"Birth." says the critter, fluttering eyelashes.

"And for your species?"

It describes the process.

"You need a host? Not interested."

It looks horrified. "A female host! We would DIE!"

"Why are you coming to me?"

"You know males." It leers. "Of your species. There are ones you are angry at."

Some jump to mind immediately.

"The orange haired is taken." it says softly, jealously.

I try not to think of any males.

"One has broken up with you."

"Do the young eat the host from the inside out?" It has described giving birth. In the host. Which is apparently male humans.

"Oh, no! They join the gut bacteria and we are a fabulous weight loss program. Once they are 10 inches-"


"TEN inches, they exit the host. By the holes."


"Ears, tear ducts, nares, mouth, anus, nipples, urethra. That's why there are eleven. I stay until they are almost 6 inches-"


"SIX inches-"

"But the size -"

"They are very very slim when young. It is the runts that must use the tear ducts."

I am fabulously disgusted, trying to imagine this. "All at once?"

"Well. It's BEST, because when the host is ADMITTED-"

Hospital? Psych ward? Weight loss from these parasites then screaming?


I roll my eyes.

"We give pleasure."

"You ARE from hell, after all."

It looks demure. "Many things deemed hellish give pleasure."

I write a prescription for prenatal vitamins. "You'll need to find your own host."

It wheedles. "Plllleeeeaaaasssseee."

"You said you give pleasure. Find your own host. They look healthy as far as I can tell."

It hops off the exam table, through the clinic and spy hops looking at my 87 year old patient.

"No." I say.

"Too old." It shrugs, pops through the mail slot and back on the seaflamer. "I have another in mind!" it says.

The seaflame goes straight up and then zooms. Time restarts. The melted cars are whole again. Luckily I park across the street. I wonder what the break down rate is going to be for the melted ones?

My 87 year old steadies himself and shakes his head.

We don't see any deer in front of the clinic for two weeks.

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