Let It Be
By: L. Alan Russo

Jerry hacked and coughed until his wife paid attention to him, it wasn't so much that he needed assistance in that moment, but rather attention. His spouse, Amy, walked to her husband's bedside and glanced at the pathetic excuse for a life form. She forced a loving smile and asked with sweetness weaved into her word: "What's the matter sweetheart?"

Jerry did not answer right away, he needed to deliver a plethora of dirty looks to his wife before he spat in disgust "What's the matter? How can you ask me that question?! It's more like what's not the matter!"

Amy looked down on her husband, and wondered how did he fool her? He was in his late fifties and she in her mid–thirties. They met at her local church, and seemed to hit it off immediately. They dated a solid year, Jerry took her everywhere you could imagine and spent buckets of cash on her. While things weren't what she preferred in the bedroom, she said, "yes," when he proposed to her.

They were married in January the following year, in a very large and expensive wedding. The couple spent two weeks in the Holy Land on a pilgrimage from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, it was perhaps the best time Amy ever had in her life. It was during that time, Jerry got bitten by something that looked like a mutated horsefly.

When the two got back home from their Honeymoon, everything appeared to be normal for the first week. But come the second, everything about Jerry had changed and it did not come gradually, but rather overnight. They went to bed like normal and in the morning, Jerry could not get out of bed because he felt so horrible.

At first, Amy thought he contracted some bug overseas and cared for him and hoped (more like, prayed) for a speedy recovery. She figured, that Jerry was in great health and would bounce back in no time and didn't mind if she had to take some extra time from work.

That was eight years ago…

By the conclusion of their year as newlyweds, Jerry discovered he was able to function with the help of a combination of Norcos and Somas. It was not the type of function Amy preferred, but at least he was out of bed. It allowed her returned to work and he kept the house clean while she worked (he bitched about it, but he kept a good house), so there was a livable compromise made.

By the second year, drugs were no longer working alone and Jerry introduced malt liquor into the relationship. At first, Amy didn't quite mind, the beers made her husband more physical with her and while he smelled like a bar in the after hours, for the first time since their marriage her needs were met.

It was on their fourth anniversary the couple spent it at the local Emergency Department. Jerry overdosed and almost lost his life, but he got lucky that night. But, that was also the night he convinced himself that he was dying and what had happened had nothing to do with consuming too much narcotics and then mixed it with alcohol.

Jerry would go on a deluge of tests in an attempt to discover what was wrong with him. Of course, it always came back negative, but Jerry was not convinced and no matter how many specialists he visited—they were all idiots.

As time moved onward, the combination drugs and alcohol had little affect over him. Jerry became paranoid that the government was out to kill him and decided to stop taking all of his medication. In exchange, he begin drinking pints of tequila which made him agitated and unable to sleep.

Today, Jerry remained dormant and bedridden with a pint never farther than an arms length away. Amy gave up her career to tend to her ailing husband, while her mother said that her daughter needed to leave the bum, she protested it was for better or worse.

#

"I am dying, and you can't wait," Jerry lashed out. "As soon as I'm dead, you can go find you fresh meat!"

Amy shook her head in defeat.

A small grin quickly appeared and then just as fast dissipated. Jerry felt as if he had won this round of pity me and knowing that she was equally as miserable, gave him, a brief, yet satisfying, moment of happiness.

There was a brief juncture of silence, as Amy awaited marching orders and Jerry scanned the area to complain about. Finally, his eyes locked on an empty cigarette pack (a habit he picked up in year five), and then glared at his weary wife before he demanded, "I'm out of cigarettes! Here I am on my deathbed, at least you could make me comfortable!"

Amy tried not to smile, she was so happy to leave her domestic prison (especially to the store), there was a young clerk was there during the weekdays. She knew he was too young for her, but the way he smiled and flirted with her was what got her through the day.

"Do you want me to buy you a couple of packs," Amy asked sheepishly, already knowing the answer.

"Good God, woman! Do you need a formal invitation," he ascended from his bed with a growl. "Yes! Get me a few packs this time. They put something in them to burnout faster and I'm not going to relight it."

Amy knew it was stupid to ask, but curiosity got the better of her: "Really? Why?"

"Why?" He exclaimed. For a moment, Amy thought that he was literally going to throw a clot or something. "You would want me to relight it wouldn't you…Ooooh, you'd love that. Then you'd be done with my ass for good."

Jerry knew full well that he did not answer her question, and left it open for her to respond so he could yell at her more. But instead, she saw her opportunity to escape the current situation and did nothing more than nod, fetched up her belongings and left the room.

Before Jerry called out to his wife, he heard the front door close with authority. "Well, she must be in a hurry to get away from me," he muttered to himself.

#

Jerry had only been a sleep for an hour, when he heard someone call to him softly. It was odd, it was an androgynous voice, neither male nor female, neither young nor old. Slowly, he opened his eyes and saw a small gray skinned bugged–eyed creature in front of his bed.

Jerry jumped back in his bed in fear, in a barely audible voice he asked: "What? Who…? Are you a demon here to take me to Hell?"

Jerry stood up on his knees as he continued to ramble: "Is… Is it too late to repent? Oh, God, I'm sorry forgive me!"

Relax Jerry, said the creature. Jerry paused and looked upon the short gray skinned humanoid, with the large bulbous head, with proportionate black eyes. I'm not here to harm you.

There was silence for a brief moment, until Jerry realized that the creature had no mouth although it continued to talk with him. "Where? Where is your mouth, and… And, how are you able to speak to me?"

Jerry heard the creature as he chuckled.

A mouth is a Earth–Born feature, the Creature answered. I have no need for air, as my blood is carbon based. Again, liquid blood is solely an Earth thing. And we speak through what your kind calls telepathy.

Intrigued, Jerry leaned forward in his bed and asked with his thoughts, What do you want with me?

The creature puzzled over Jerry, he leaned on his knees and stabilized himself with his left arm while he held two fingers to his temple region. Are you in pain?

"No. Could you not hear what I was thinking?" Jerry asked. No. Earth–Borns are made to receive signal, not send, the creature explained. I am Xzydroxydoz, I have been sent to collect you. So we mus—

Jerry interrupted.

"Collect me," he stammered. "The Hell you are!"

Jerry heard Xzydroxydoz chuckle again.

You do not understand, Jerry, you have been a prime specimen of a full planet–rotation's study on Earth–Borns, Xzydroxydoz explained. We planted a seedling in you while you were in that desert area the beginning of the planet–rotation. It is time to extract the pod for harvesting.

"Seedling?! Pod?! Harvesting?!" Was the only three words Jerry could form to say.

Exactly, Xzydroxydoz said and walked closer to Jerry. We need to remove it before it uses all of its host's nutrition.

"What do you mean?" He demanded.

You're vessel is almost out of nourishment, Xzydroxydoz explained as he opened his hand and held a small metal object that resembled a quarter. We need to get you to our ship remove the pod and get you back to replace your used up vessel.

"Vessel? You mean my body?"

Yes. Exactly.

"We do not exchange bodies here," Jerry cried. "Once the body is dead, so are we!"

Oh. Well, this must be very troublesome for you, Xzydroxydoz said with apathy. Time to go and get that pod out.

#

Amy came back to the house, and rushed straight for Jerry's room (she had lost track of time as she flirted with the young clerk).

"Here are your cigarettes. I'm sorry it took so long there was only one che—"

Jerry was gone.

Amy quickly searched the house and no one was there. She wasn't worried, nor cared for that matter… Finally, she was free!

THE END

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