Wednesday, July 17, 2019
The Host Chapter 47: Employed
This is excessively lenient. Its non in reality even fun twain much, Kyle complained.You deprivati adeptd to come, Ian reminded him.He and Ian were in the windowless stern of the caravan, sorting finished the nonperishable groceries and toiletries Id sound collected from the store. It was the middle of the twenty-four hour period, and the sunshine was shining on Wichita. It was non as hot as the Arizona desert, scarcely it was more humid. The air swarmed with tiny profligeat bugs.Jared drove toward the highway appear of town, guardedly keeping below the locomote limit. This move to irritate him.Getting tired of fund yet, Wanda? Ian asked me.No. I dont mind it.You evermore say that. Isnt thither anything you mind?I mind existence away from Jamie. And I mind being out post, a miniature bit. During the sidereal day especi altogethery. Its kindred the opposite of claustrophobia. E genuinelything is too open. Does that near(prenominal)er you, too?Some terms. We dont go out during the day much.At least she gets to hold out her legs, Kyle muttered. I dont know why you want to hear her complain.Because its so uncommon. Which actualizes it a ridiculous-laced change from listening to you complain.I tuned them out. at matchless time Ian and Kyle got started, they usu wholey went on for a while. I consulted the map. Oklahoma City next? I asked Jared.And a hardly a(prenominal) gnomish towns on the way, if youre up for it, he answered, eye on the road.I am.Jared rarely lost his cogitate when on a raid. He didnt disentangle into relieved banter the way Ian and Kyle did whole time I completed other mission successfully. It do me smile when they utilize that word-mission. That sounded so ground levelidable. In reality, it was exactly a trip to the store. Just interchangeable Id do a hundred times in San Diego when I was provided feeding myself. akin Kyle said, it was too easy to provide any excite custodyt. I pushed my cart up and bundle the aisles. I smiled at the souls who smiled at me, and I filled my cart with things that would last. I usu all(prenominal)y grabbed a a few(prenominal) things that wouldnt, for the men privateness in the congest of the van. Pre do vertebral columnwiches from the deli-things like that for our meals. And perhaps a treat or two. Ian had a fondness for mint chocolate escape ice cream. Kyle liked caramel sugarys best. Jared ate anything he was offered it seemed as if hed given up favorites many geezerhood onwards, embracing a life where wants were un pleasing and even take were carefully assessed in the first place they were met. A nonher antecedent he was good at this life-he saw priorities uncontaminated by per tidingsal desire.Occasionally, in the smaller towns, some whizz would nonice me, would declaim to me. I had my lines down so comfortably that I could likely produce fooled a gentlemans gentleman by this point.Hi in that respect. unexampled in town ?Yes. Brand-new.What brings you to Byers?I was endlessly careful to check the map before I left the van, so the towns digit would be familiar.My helper travels a haul. Hes a photographer.How call into questionful An Artist. Well, theres certainly a lot of beautiful land around here.Originally, Id been the Artist. besides Id found that throwing in the information that I was already checkmateed saved me some time when I was mouth to males.Thank you so much for your help.Youre very welcome. Come keister soon.Id save had to speak to a apothecary once, in Salt Lake City after(prenominal) that, Id known what to look for.A hangdog smile. Im not sure Im getting the remunerate nutrition. I burn downt seem to avoid the tear apart food. This body has such a sweet tooth.You need to be wise, Thousand Petals. I know its easy to give in to your cravings, on the button accent to think somewhat what youre eating. In the mean(a)time, you should take a supplement.Health. much(p renominal) an obvious title on the bottle, it do me feel silly for asking.Would you like the geniuss that understanding like strawberries or the ones that taste like chocolate?Could I try both?And the pleasant soul named Earthborn gave me both of the large bottles. non very challenging. The only fear or sense of danger I ever felt came when I concept of the small cyanide pill that I always kept in an easily reachable pocket. Just in case.You should get new clothes in the next town, Jared said.Again?Those are tone for a little creased.Okay, I agreed. I didnt like the excess, but the steadily growth pile of taily laundry wouldnt go to waste. Lily and Heidi and Paige were all soaked to my size, and they would be refreshing for something new to wear. The men rarely daunted with things like clothes when they were raiding. Every loot was life-or-death-clothes were not a priority. Nor were the gentle soaps and shampoos that Id been compile at every store.You should probably clean-living up, too, Jared said with a sigh. Guess that core a hotel tonight.Keeping up appearances was not something theyd worried about before. Of course, I was the only one who had to look as if I were a part of civilization from close up. The men wore jeans and saturnine T-shirts now, things that didnt battle array dirt or attract heed in the brief moments they might be seen.They all hated sleeping in the wayside inns-succumbing to unconsciousness inside the very oral cavity of the enemy. It scared them more than anything else we did. Ian said hed rather charge an armed Seeker.Kyle simply refuse. He mostly slept in the van during the day and thus sat up at night, acting as sentry.For me, it was as easy as shopping in the stores. I checked us in, made talk with the clerk. Told the story about my photographer partner and the friend who was traveling with us (just in case someone saw all three of us enter the room). I used generic label from ordinary artificial satell ites. Sometimes we were Bats Word Keeper, Sings the eggs Song, and Sky Roost. Sometimes we were See weeds Twisting Eyes, Sees to the Sur baptismal font, and Second Sunrise. I changed the names every time, not that anyone was difficult to wind our path. It just made Melanie feel safer to do that. All this made her feel like a character in a human movie about espionage.The stiff part, the part I really minded-not that I would say this in front of Kyle, who was so quick to doubt my intentions-was all the fet get upg without giving anything stern. It had never bothered me to shop in San Diego. I took what I compulsory and nothing more. Then I worn out(p) my days at the university giving c over charge to the community by sharing my knowledge. non a taxing Calling, but one I took seriously. I took my turns at the less-appealing chores. I did my day collecting garbage and killing streets. We all did.And now I took so much more and gave nothing in take back. It made me feel self ish and wrong.Its not for yourself. Its for others, Mel reminded me when I brooded.It still feels wrong. Even you can feel that, cant you?Dont think about it was her solution.I was glad we were on the homestretch of our long raid. tomorrow we would visit our growing cache-a moving truck we kept hidden within a days reach of our path-and clean out the van for the last time. Just a few more cities, a few more days, down through Oklahoma, then rising Mexico, and then a smashing tote through Arizona with no stops. denture again. At last.When we slept in hotels rather than in the crowded van, we usually checked in after dark and left before dawn to keep the souls from getting a good look at us. Not really necessary.Jared and Ian were beginning to realize that. This night, because wed had such a successful day-the van was alone full Kyle would get under ones skin little seat-and because Ian thought I looked tired, we stopped early. The sun had not set when I returned to the van wit h the tractile key card.The little inn was not very busy. We parked close to our room, and Jared and Ian went straight from the van to the room in a matter of five or six steps, their eyes on the ground. On their necks, small, wakeful pink lines provided camouflage. Jared carried a half-empty suitcase. No one looked at them or me.Inside, the room-darkening curtains were drawn, and the men relaxed a little bit. Ian lounged on the bed he and Jared would use, and flipped on the TV. Jared put the suitcase on the table, took out our dinner-cooled greasy breaded chicken strips Id reproducible from the deli in the last store-and ecstasyed it around. I sat by the window, peeking through the niche at the falling sun as I ate.You have to admit, Wanda, we humans had break down entertainment, Ian teased.On the television screen, two souls were speaking their lines clearly, their bodies held with perfect posture. It wasnt hard to pick up what was happening in the story because there wasnt a lot of variety in the scripts souls wrote. In this one, two souls were reconnecting after a long separation. The males stint with the See weeds had come between them, but hed elect to be human because he guessed his partner from the Mists Planet would be drawn to these warm-blooded swarms. And, miracle of miracles, hed found her here.They all had happy endings.You have to consider the intended audience.True. I conjure theyd run old human shows again. He flipped through the channels and frowned. Used to be a few of them on.They were too disturbing. They had to be replaced with things that werent so violent.The Brady Bunch?I laughed. Id seen that show in San Diego, and Melanie knew it from her shaverhood. It condoned aggression. I remember one where a little male electric razor punched a bully, and that was portrayed as being the right thing to do. There was blood.Ian move his head in disbelief but returned to the show with the former See Weed. He laughed at the wrong parts, t he parts that were conjectural to be touching.I stared out the window, notice something much more interesting than the inevitable story on television.Across the two-lane road from the inn was a small park, bordered on one side by a school and on the other by a study where cows grazed. There were a few young trees, and an old-fashioned playground with a sandbox, a slide, a set of monkey bars, and one of those hand-pulled merry-go-rounds. Of course there was a swing set, too, and that was the only equipment being used currently.A little family was taking improvement of the cooler evening air. The father had some silver in his dark vibrissa at the temples the mother looked many years his junior. Her red brown hair was pulled back in a long ponytail that bobbed when she moved. They had a little boy, no more than a year old. The father pushed the tyke in the swing from tin, while the mother stood in front, leaning in to kiss his supercilium when he swung her way, making him gig gle so hard that his chubby little face was bright red. This had her laughing, too-I could see her body wave with it, her hair dancing.What are you staring at, Wanda?Jareds irresolution wasnt anxious, because I was smiling softly at the surprising scene.Something Ive never seen in all my lives. Im staring at hope.Jared came to stand merchant ship me, peeking out over my shoulder. What do you mean? His eyes swept crosswise the buildings and the road, not pausing on the playing family.I caught his chin and pointed his face in the right direction. He didnt so much as recoil at my unexpected touch, and that gave me a remote jolt of warmth in the confront of my stomach. Look, I said.What am I looking at?The only hope for selection Ive ever seen for a host species.Where? he demanded, bewildered.I was aware of Ian close stooge us now, listening silently.See? I pointed at the laughing mother. See how she loves her human child?At that moment, the woman snatched her son from the swin g and squeezed him in a tight embrace, covering his face with kisses. He cooed and flailed-just a foil. Not the miniature adult he would have been if he carried one of my kind.Jared gasped. The baby is human? How? Why? For how long?I shrugged. Ive never seen this before-I dont know. She has not given him up for a host. I cant imagine that she would be forced. Motherhood is all but adore among my kind. If she is un allow foring I shook my head. I have no idea how that will be handled. This doesnt happen elsewhere. The emotions of these bodies are so much stronger than logic.I glanced up at Jared and Ian. They were both staring openmouthed at the interspecies family in the park.No, I murmured to myself. No one would force the parents if they wanted the child. And just look at them.The father had his accouterments around both the mother and the child now. He looked down at his host bodys biological son with staggering warmheartedness in his eyes.Aside from ourselves, this is the fi rst planet weve discovered with live births. Yours certainly isnt the easiest or most prolific system. I esteem if thats the difference or if its the helplessness of your young. over else, reproduction is through some form of eggs or seeds. Many parents never even meet their young. I wonder I trailed off, my thoughts full of speculation.The mother get up her face to her partner, and he kissed her lips. The human child crowed with delight.Hmm. Perhaps, someday, some of my kind and some of yours will live in peace. Wouldnt that be impertinent?Neither man could tear his eyes from the miracle in front of them.The family was leaving. The mother dusted the sand off her jeans while the father took the boy. Then, memory hands that they swung between them, the souls strolled toward the apartments with their human child.Ian swallowed life-sizely.We didnt speak for the rest of the evening, all of us made thoughtful by what wed seen. We went to sleep early, so we could rise early and get back to work.I slept alone, in the bed furthest from the door. This made me uncomfortable. The two big men did not fit easily on the other bed Ian tended to sprawl when he was deeply asleep, and Jared was not above throwing punches when that happened. two of them would be more comfortable if I shared. I slept in a small ball now maybe it was the too-open spaces I moved in all day that had me constricting in on myself at night, or maybe I was just so used to curling up to sleep in the tiny space behind the passenger seat on the vans floor that Id forgotten how to sleep straight. precisely I knew why no one asked me to share. The first night the men had sadly realized the necessity of a hotel exhibitor for me, Id heard Ian and Jared talking about me over the whir of the bathroom fan. not bring together to ask her to choose, Ian was saying. He kept his express low, but the fan was not loud seemly to drown it out. The hotel room was very small.Why not? Its fairer to tell her where shes red to sleep? Dont you think its more well-behaved -For someone else. But Wanda will agonise over this. Shell be trying so hard to please us both, shell make herself miserable.Jealous again?Not this time. I just know how she thinks.There was a silence. Ian was right. He did know how I thought. Hed probably already foreseen that given the slightest hint that Jared would select it, I would choose to sleep beside Jared, and then keep myself awake worrying that Id made Jared unhappy by being there and that Id hurt Ians feelings in the bargain.Fine, Jared snapped. But if you try cuddling up to me tonight so help me, OShea.Ian chuckled. Not to sound as well arrogant, but to be perfectly honest, Jared, were I so inclined, I think I could do better.Despite feeling a little guilty about waste so much needed space, I probably did sleep better alone.We didnt have to go to a hotel again. The days started to pass more quickly, as if even the seconds were trying to run home. I could fe el a strange horse opera pull on my body. We were all eager to get back to our dark, crowded haven.Even Jared got careless.It was late, no sun left lingering behind the western mountains. Behind us, Ian and Kyle were taking turns driving the big moving truck loaded with our spoils, just as Jared and I took turns with the van. They had to drive the profound vehicle more carefully than Jared did the van. The headlights had worn slowly into the distance, until they disappeared around a long curve in the road.We were on the homestretch. Tucson was behind us. In a few scam hours, I would see Jamie. We would unload the welcome provisions, surrounded by smiling faces. A real homecoming.My first, I realized.For once the return would bring nothing but joy. We carried no doomed hostages this time.I wasnt paying attention to anything but anticipation. The road didnt seem to be flying by too riotous it couldnt fly past fast enough as far as I was concerned.The trucks headlights reappeared behind us.Kyle must be driving, I murmured. Theyre catching up.And then the red and forbidding lights suddenly spun out in the dark night behind us. They reflected off all the mirrors, dancing spots of color across the roof, the seats, our frozen faces, and the dashboard, where the needle on the speed gauge showed that we were traveling twenty miles over the speed limit.The sound of a femme fatale pierced the desert calm.