Serial Saturday: Parasites by R. Minter, Part 6

  1. Serial Saturday: Parasites by R. Minter, Part 1
  2. Serial Saturday: Parasites by R. Minter, Part 2
  3. Serial Saturday: Parasites by R. Minter, Part 3
  4. Serial Saturday: Parasites by R. Minter, Part 4
  5. Serial Saturday: Parasites by R. Minter, Part 5
  6. Serial Saturday: Parasites by R. Minter, Part 6
  7. Serial Saturday: Parasites by R. Minter, Part 7 – Finale



Parasites: Part Six


Leila stared at the baby next to her. It lay swaddled in a white cloth, sound asleep in an ancient rocking crib a nun had dredged up from who knows where. The sides had two angels carved along its side, reaching up as if carrying the baby to heaven. She grimaced. They were taking it in the wrong direction.

Matthew had assured her all demonic signs had vanished. He’d shown her, rubbing his finger along the baby’s bare gums, pointing out its slate-blue eyes and smooth, pink skin. The baby looked like any other newborn, but she knew better. The exorcist hadn’t seen what she’d seen. Hadn’t dreamed what she dreamed.

The bed sheet rubbed against her bare feet as she rolled over in bed. The nuns had introduced themselves, bathed her, given her spare clothes and a spare room in the convent. All without a whisper of contacting a hospital or police. Proof no one else believed it was all over either. 

She was done trying to make sense of it all. She just wanted out. Out of whatever hell she’d crawled in to after that night at the club.

That night.

Leila still couldn’t remember anything clearly. Kat had said there had been a guy, so why couldn’t she remember? 

She groaned and curled into a ball. Kat. By the way her mother had talked, she was probably dead. Leila sobbed. For her those who had got hurt, for her life, but most of all, for her friend.

She was still crying when Matthew knocked on her bedroom door. He looked just as ragged as the first time she’d seen him, even though he’d changed clothes. 

He pulled up a chair from the little writing desk in the corner of the room and sat at the foot of the bed. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Leila choked out a laugh, wiping her face on her nightgown sleeve. “Can you turn back time, or bring someone back to life?”

Matthew looked at the floor.

“No? How about taking this kid somewhere else? Anywhere else. I don’t think I can sleep with it so close.”

“Ms. Roberts—”

“I don’t want it. Get rid of it, please.”

“The exorcism worked. He’s just a baby now. Your son.”

“I wasn’t even pregnant until a few days ago. You saw what happened. That’s not normal, damn it. That thing isn’t normal.”

“I understand—”

“No, you don’t.” Leila’s face grew hot. “People got hurt because of it. Kat… Kat died because of it.” 

Leila swallowed the lump in her throat. She didn’t want to cry anymore. She wanted to feel the anger, the hate, toward the creature she’d birthed.

“Look, Ms. Roberts.” Matthew leaned forward to pat her arm, then thought better of it and sat back. “I won’t pretend to know everything you’ve gone through. I also won’t pretend to understand the ways of the devil or God. All I know is I asked for the child’s salvation, for yours, and God answered. If you want things to get better, you must have faith.”

“You and your God can go to hell.”

Matthew sighed. “You’re still in shock. I get it. I’ll come back later. Get some rest, okay?”

Leila glared at him as he left. Rest. Right. Good to know he’d been listening. She turned her glare to the infant, who still slept serenely in the cradle. She could smother it. Her pillow wasn’t big, but it was plenty big enough to cover the kid’s face.

He’s just a baby now. Your son.

She gritted her teeth. The nuns. The exorcist. They all had their beliefs keeping them from harming the infant. She didn’t have a religious bone in her body, so why was she hesitating?


The baby’s presence taunted Leila all night. Quiet, even with the nuns coming in and out to check on them. He looked so peaceful. So vulnerable. A perfect target, yet Leila’s arms stayed glued to her sides as she tried to reconcile what she needed to do with what she was capable of. When a new visitor knocked on the door, she let out a sigh of relief. 

Kat’s neighbor walked in. Every inch of her screamed professionalism, from her perfectly bound bun to her shined black heels. “Ms. Roberts.”

“What the hell are you doing here?”

The lady stutter-stepped, the forced smile she’d had on her face melting. “I’ve come to check on you. Have I done something to upset you?”

“You gave me the exorcist’s card.”

“Which was clearly the right thing to do.”

Leila wasn’t so sure. If she hadn’t sought out an exorcist, maybe she’d have died in childbirth, or maybe the kid would have stayed a demon. She bet it would be easy to find someone willing to kill a demon child.

The lady seemed to accept Leila’s hesitation as apology and walked closer to the bed. “I’ve also brought news you’ll want to hear.”

“What news?”

“Katharine is fine.”

Leila’s stomach dropped as the room spun. “Kat’s… alive?”

“Yes. Her condition stabilized yesterday. Right after the exorcism, from what I’ve been told.”

“She’s going to be okay?”

“She’s going to be okay.” The woman turned on her heel and left, each step delivered with almost military precision.

Kat’s okay. Kat’s okay.

Leila repeated the thought like a mantra. Her best friend would live. Comforting warmth spread through her body for what felt like the first time in ages. Maybe the exorcism had worked. 

She glanced back at the baby before settling into the bed. Maybe it was just a baby now. Kat liked kids. She could help figure out what to do. Leila smiled as her eyelids grew heavy. Things were going to be all right.

The scent of sulfur followed her down into sleep.

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