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art by Seth Alan Bareiss

What to Expect When You're Expecting an Alien Parasite

Rebecca Adams Wright is a 2011 graduate of Clarion UCSD and a former University of Michigan writing fellow. She lives in Ypsilanti, MI with an MFA, three chickens, a patient husband, and an impatient gray cat. Her short fiction is forthcoming in Scape and her nonfiction has appeared in Children’s Literature in Education.
***Editor's Warning: Even Humor can be disturbing, and for adults only***

Stage One
Pressure may build within the abdomen. The body may need to void itself. Due to the possibility of involuntary urination, you may wish to prepare for this stage by spending some time in the washroom. If remaining in the washroom for extended periods is impossible, lying down carefully in a nest of easy-to-wash material, such as worn towels and blankets, is the next best thing. It would be a good idea to lay a plastic tarp down beneath yourself. Be gentle with your belly and do not dread this stage unnecessarily--though potentially embarrassing, it never lasts long.
Stage Two
The vocal cords may begin to flutter spontaneously. Many find the best way to weather this stage is to embrace it. Sing opera, if you like opera. Pop songs are okay. Eccentrics have been known to yodel, and a number of naturalists spend this time emulating the calls of their favorite birds. Your voice will do what it is going to do; there is no reason to be self-conscious. A miracle is happening, remember that.
Stage Three
Restless leg syndrome descends. If you are very sure your body is finished with stage one, climb up on the stationary bicycle. Cycling is the best relief known for this stage. Do not have a stationary bike? Lie on your back and helicopter your legs in the air. If you no longer have legs, forget this stage. Spend a few quiet moments gathering your thoughts and preparing for:
Stage Four
The parasite will begin to move within you. Do not panic or try to stab the parasite with a sharp object. You will hemorrhage and may destroy the parasite’s fragile amniotic sac. Tears in the sac are disastrous for the unborn parasite and extremely unsafe for you, as the sac’s corrosive fluid has been known to eat its way through gristle and bone. Stay calm as the parasite climbs from your abdominal cavity to the base of your esophagus. If you feel a tickle in your throat, go ahead and laugh. That tickle is the parasite attaching itself to the vocal cords you warmed for it in Stage Two.
Stage Five
The parasite will begin to climb your vocal cords. Your throat will flex and swell. It is best to have a stress ball or other firm object to squeeze during this difficult stage.
Stage Six
It is common for an exhausted parasite to rest at the top of the throat and extend a proboscis into the brain for nourishment. You will not feel the proboscis, though you should be prepared for possible loss of vision, hearing, motor control, and/or memory. It may be impossible to breathe around the body of the parasite, but do not be alarmed. The average parasite rests and feeds in stage six for only ninety to ninety-two seconds. Whatever you do, do not swallow during this stage. Constriction of the larynx causes pressure that may be harmful to the delicate proboscis and thin carapace of the newborn parasite. Feelings of aggression are best alleviated by silent repetition of a mantra, such as, "I am a beautiful host feeding a new and exceptional life."
Stage Seven
The parasite’s exit from your body is likely to cause massive seizures and internal hemorrhaging. Your damaged brain may cease functioning altogether. If still conscious and in control of your motor skills, you may wish to close your eyes (but not your mouth!) as the parasite pulls its body from your throat. Do not worry about holding your mouth open. The parasite will unhinge your jaw for you.
Stage Eight
If you are still alive, thank the gods! You have experienced a marvelous phenomenon and survived to be impregnated again by our alien overlords. When you feel well enough, return to the beginning of this brochure and refamiliarize yourself with stage one.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, January 14th, 2013


Birth. It’s a completely natural phenomenon and yet there’s something totally bizarre about it. This story, as you might imagine, grew out of a literalization: “What if pregnancy really were as alien as it can sometimes seem to the uninitiated?”

- Rebecca Adams Wright

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