By the time Raul was done all that remained were blood-slicked yellow jumpsuits that had become receptacles for dissembled skeletons. Even as his stomach bulged, Raul felt a growling groping his innards with intense violent motions. It took him a few moments after swallowing up the last of the hazmat men before he was looking for his next meal. The door was open now and perhaps that was a good thing or a very bad thing.
The reality of what Raul had done finally set in on him and he knew there was no way back from where he gotten himself. To have eaten the boar was reasonable, same with the pup, and the birds, even if how he had done so was less than kosher yet another human being. It was as he pondered this that the worms crawled out and snatched away anything remaining on the bodies. Knowing those crawling things nestled inside of him was a reminder that his situation was abnormal. A judge would never convict a man for all this if they knew the whole story. Though at this point, Raul wasn’t sure there could be a trial for any of his crimes. He had become very much more worm than man and had to assert the hazmats were sent in to handle him. And with the failure of the yellow suited men there would be others to come and claim his head.
They were not long in coming, the men in black and red, helmets with goggles and recperator masks. The death squad came in with red dots training on Raul’s head while flashlights cut the dim light of the wet lab. Radio static roared through the hollow, metal space, and Raul’s anxiety flared as the scene forming around him warned of imminent death. Yet the worms were just barely creeping back into his guts. Raul’s limbs felt like zeppelins reinflating as the feeling returned to him. It was too little too late, as the squad convened on him, injecting a queer liquid into his spine. Letting out a fierce and unholy call, something Raul didn’t even think a human’s throat could make, he went down in a heap.
Harsh, electric blue light beamed into Raul’s eyes as he forced them open against the weariness of the toxins that slithered through him. He could only barely make out the figures that worked before him in their white coats while the black and red soldiers stood behind them. Raul vaguely was aware of the binds on his ankles and wrists, telling him he was secured to one of the upright tables on the platform. A coldness blew across his chest, it was exposed and by the glint of metal in one of the scientists hands they were about to start some sort of operation. There was an acute awareness that an operation while he was conscious would hurt worse than anything he had experienced before but there was more to it.
Raul felt a sudden longing to stop what was about to happen, the prodding and poking of that wound where the worms sat. The invasion of the parasites had been a terror at first, the thing of nightmares, but now, in the face of these militant security officers, Raul felt a need to protect them. They were his, no one else’s to tear out and examine or do god knows what with. And on top of all that, they had not been without their uses even if they kept him hungry as a bear waking from hibernation. Yet, what could Raul do in the face of his situation? His arms and legs weren’t of use, his mind was clouded by that drug, and even if he could talk his way out they likely wouldn’t believe him or care. Then, dimly aware of tongs prying open his injury and a sharp piece of steel poking into it, Raul saw it.
Lying on the table was that stingray, its tail missing and the color of it nearly fully ashen from its otherwise vivid coating. Not only that, it looked shriveled and dying in the same vein a honeybee would be no more after one sting. They were doing something to it, what Raul could not say, but he didn’t like the sight of that thing. It was very much possible the worms had something to do with the stingray’s stinger and they were attempting to replace it. However, if they fixed that monstrosity they would enable it to make the same creature out of the next cleaner who was as unfortunate as Raul. He couldn’t let that happen. Raul would say it was his humanity that stirred and say no but he was just as certain it was an urge to have these parasites all to himself. Then, before his very eyes, Raul saw his ambition come to life, by the hands not his own.
The gash in his body erupted with the squirming mass of worms that shot out of Raul with more force than a cannonball. They immediately overwhelmed the scientists and as thought they were nothing had stripped them of every last piece of flesh. Raul’s eyes bulged all for a moment as the great heap of parasites surged forward onto the armed guards. There bullets did little but cause a temporary parting in the sea of hungry mouths. From his vantage on the operating board, Raul could see the rest of the crew scramble, some running for the sealed door and others trying to escape into the lower level. His view was suddenly made less clear, as a soft clank of metal came and Raul’s eyes fixed on the grates and the water below.
A bit confused, Raul watched on as muzzle flair ups helped to illuminate the pursuing worms that were quickly seeking and destroying their prey. Screams of intense terror preceded gurgling death rattles and water turning ever more red. When it sounded as though boots were no longer shifting on the platform or in the water, Raul relaxed a bit. He tried to turn over but felt little progress made, yet that wasn’t so bad. It was the same as before when his legs had gone out from under him but with whole body. He could hardly even move his neck or facial muscles but there was no longer a threat and his hunger was somewhat slaked. Then the worms began their return to their host and though that filled Raul with a greater calm there came with it a dreadful truth.
They began piling in and Raul felt some feeling come back to his body starting at the lower limbs and working its way up. Raul had not seen the mirror that had fallen to the floor until that moment when he could feel again. It was one of the doctor’s tools that hadn’t quite gotten its full use when the white-coated man was alive. But now that Raul set eyes on it and took in that sight the was his body, he could almost scream. His body was a soft puddle of flesh and muscled that looked entirely drained of blood, organs, and bones. He was, in fact, very much that, a skin suit populated and given structure by the crawling parasites that had filled his body. Not only had he enabled this by snatching more and more worms from other creatures but they had undoubtedly multiplied within him. As he his skull reformed, jittering into place as the worms formed the dome, Raul realized what he was. His body was no more than a sentient hive for the parasitic things, but one that would defend the worms with its life. Was his choice to do so, Raul couldn’t say, but he knew there was no going back now without death.
Like a man possessed, Raul seized the stingray that had started this whole affair and raised it to the sky. It did not fight, merely it made a low hiss like a cockroach from its very much hideous mouth. Raul could implant the worms in this thing, possible he could force them all to migrate into the creature without trouble. Yet were he to surrender his worms, Raul would be nothing if not less than nothing. He would be dead or worse a motionless pile of flesh waiting to be put out of his misery. Still for all the higher thinking that went into Raul’s decision he did not act on wit alone but the intoxicating urge of that primeval hunger. With gusto, Raul consumed the soft tissue beneath the harden shell and would have eaten that as well were it not hard as bone. Unable to devour that last piece of the thing, Raul snapped it like a twig before tossing it off the platform.
Golden light streamed into the dark that Raul waited in, it was blinding but Raul could see no one waited for him beyond the wet lab. Slowly he proceeded towards the exit, unsure what game was being played with him or what manner of trap. Suddenly static boomed through an otherwise unused speaker high above the entrance, “Phases one through five of experiment six-four-alpha-five complete. Continue to phases six to ten. Ready when you are mister Veiga. Proceed at will. The next security team should arrive in ten minutes!”