's 2015 Horror Write-off:

" Internal "

Submitted by Ron MacGillivray and edited by Sadie Hunt

  My partner has been acting very strange lately.   We had recently been having some tough times after a supposed friend tried to sabotage our relationship. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say when we found out what he was doing he skipped town. A few weeks after that she had been complaining of finding hair in her food constantly, to a point I was considering she was having a mental breakdown after the betrayal. This lasted quite a while, but eventually she stopped mentioning it. I asked her about the hair, but she just gave me this worried look and said it was nothing.   Whenever she just needs some time to think, she likes to take drives out on the old dirt roads near the town. It started on one of those long drives, while I was still at the house, completely unaware of what was soon going to happen.

 I lay on the couch thinking. This recent turn of events seemed to connect in my mind, making me remember something I’d heard a long time ago.      

 When I was little, one of my favorite things to do was to walk down to my grandpa's place and see what he was doing. He would always try to include me somehow, but when he wasn't doing anything he’d tell me a story from his past. Even to his deathbed, he swore they were all true. Most of them were pretty normal, but there was one story that caught my attention. He told this to me on Halloween, but didn't reveal some of the more gruesome details until I was old enough.  

The story starts years ago, when he was a policeman. A case had come up; a young girl, still in her early teens, had been found murdered and—as he later told me—raped. He didn't give any graphic details, but from his expression I knew I wouldn't want any. Only two people had been found that had been near the crime—an old drifter and a college kid. Any evidence had probably been dropped into what was a stagnant pool that had been infected by a nearby factory. It was deemed too dangerous to go in the pool, so there were no leads found there.   My grandpa was tasked with interrogating the two suspects. He said the drifter seemed harmless, just a poor guy with no money and nowhere to go. The kid, however seemed quite suspicious. They were both interrogated over the course of a few days, and the drifter never changed his story. The kid, on the other hand, seemed a bit too confident, and my grandfather pegged him immediately.  

 Now, the odd part of the story started during the first interview with the kid. In the middle of a sentence the kid stopped, put his hands in his mouth and pulled out a long, black hair. He stared in confusion at it for a second before dropping it and turning to my grandfather. This apparently happened another five times, which was really bizarre. The second interview, it looked like the kid would find these dark hairs in his mouth every two minutes, and once spat out what resembled a small hairball. My grandpa never said anything about it. The third—and final—interview, my grandpa noticed how the kid would appear to grow nauseous in front of him, gulp down and keep talking. It was easily ignored till the kid stopped talking entirely and started coughing. He reached down his throat and pulled out what was an entire clump of black hair. It was almost the size of the kid’s palm! He’d stuffed it into his pocket and kept on talking—but with a very disturbed expression on his face. Eventually the kid went free and the drifter went to jail. My granddad claimed it was really because the kid was the son of some rich guy and that was why the drifter got sentenced instead. But the story doesn't end there.

  The kid was found two days later, face-down in a ditch, pronounced dead at the scene. The kid was supposed to have choked on an “object” in the reports, but my grandpa said he saw the body and the autopsy photos and it wasn't an “object” he had choked on, it was hair. They had found a mass of hair reaching into his esophagus. My grandpa, with a look of pure disgust, said that what he could only describe as a mixture between a tumor and a fetus was growing inside of him! Growing like a parasite inside the kid! To make it worse, all the DNA from the teeth, blood, and hair matched the the victim perfectly. The...creature had been dissected and killed and, to my grandfather’s knowledge, no one spoke a word of it.   At about that time, news came in that the drifter had died in a fight that had broken out in the prison. My grandfather always said that every word of his story is true, no matter how odd it may seem.  Truth is, I do still believe it. After all, it's much easier to believe now.

  After thinking about the story, I decided to look in the garbage—where the blonde hair had probably been discarded. I tried calling her, but when that didn't work, in a fit of worry, I phoned the police.   After all, how could those hairs all be blonde when we’re both redheads?   All there is to do is to wait for the inevitable call and think, is my grandfather’s story true?

  She had crashed her car off one of the multiple nameless dirt roads around town. Luckily, we had installed a miniature tracking device in the car—due to her being paranoid about it being stolen. She had crashed into a tree, and she was unconscious without too many apparent injuries.

  I immediately made my way to the hospital, expecting the worst. I arrived fairly early, before they x-rayed her, which is why I got a glimpse of the...thing.   Inside her, near her stomach, was an almost formless shape of tiny bones and teeth. It looked like a child had grown up inside a box, with its limbs twisted and tangled, everything curling into each other. When the scan was seen, a few other doctors and I immediately ran out into the hall, our faces white and terrified. The ones who had not just stood there, staring blankly ahead.  

 I was escorted out as quickly as possible as my girlfriend of five years was wheeled in for immediate surgery. I stumbled into the waiting room, where I sat silently, my eyes fixating on nothing. My memory kept going back to that old story, then I started thinking.   What happened to my partner and the kid seemed to be very similar, except for one detail: my partner had never committed any crime. Although, all the other details matched, and I reflected on how little knowledge I had. That anyone else had, for that matter.

  They told me they had no knowledge of what the growth was, and they needed her for additional examination and treatment at no extra cost. I knew they were probably using her as some kind of sick lab rat but I couldn't care less. I just feel drained. Dead to everything.

  I looked into the past few days and found that my girlfriend had been out for a long while on the night of the friend’s supposed disappearance, and that it was just widely assumed that she skipped town. The friend...he had blonde hair. Would that mean my girlfriend killed him? I feel like I'm walking through some kind of nightmare, with no answers and nothing to grab on to.   I have a theory that the parasites are a kind of revenge somehow, feeding off the people that killed them. The murderer is supposed to die, killed from the parasite’s feeding. That should be how it ends but—then it hits me! If its purpose is to kill the murderer, then they should die with the host, but my partner is still alive! The little thing inside her will still be growing. I rest my head on the table and close my eyes. Could I be right? It doesn't make any sense...but...     

 The phone rings as the house goes silent. I walk to the phone and hold the receiver to my ear. As they describe my partner’s death, I start to cry, not knowing if it is from joy or pain. Before I ask any details, I ask about the thing that was inside her. I ask if they killed it when she died and how they are going to dispatch of it. The line goes completely silent. I hang up and start to feel the bile rise in my throat.