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By the time I realized I’d missed a couple of periods and my breasts were tender, it was too late. The black dread bloomed in my stomach, eroding my appetite and my sleep. I thought about killing myself. 

If I killed myself, no one would find out what had happened.

If I took my life, I wouldn't have to harbor the parasite growing inside my body. The only thing that stopped me from slitting my wrists was the knowledge that my mom and dad would be prosecuted.

The State didn’t take kindly to people committing suicide. 

They hadn’t yet found a way to punish citizens in the afterlife; instead, relatives and spouses were arrested.

"Saving sacred lives!" said the moving 3D billboards. "The very hairs on your head are numbered."

It had always sounded like a threat to me.

©2020 JT Lawrence (P)2021 JT Lawrence

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