“Full well that you thought to come to me,” the grey-haired woman on the screen said, smiling. Sora thought she detected a trace of sadness in the woman’s large, pale blue eyes.
“But you’re on the other side of the crescent. By the time you reach me, the worms will already be feasting on your brain, and the kyrdavi will poison you when they take you in for processing.”
Sora took a glance around their tiny hut. The fire was dead. Her bag was packed with what remained of her and Kiri’s supplies: food, water, her little frying pan, hunting tools, warm clothes, an assortment of camping equipment, a solar charging kit for Sora’s battered portable computer, and extra socks. They were ready to leave.
“Let me worry about getting there. You said until the worm reaches my brain, I’m not contagious?”
“Until the parasite breeds, you cannot infect anyone else; it requires access to the brain or other concentrated nervous tissue in order to procreate. You’ll know it’s too late when you either have a headache so bad you can’t see anymore, or back pain that makes you think somebody stabbed you in the spine with a dzael. After that, you’ll have mere hours until…”
Sora quirked an eyebrow.
“Thank you for your candor.”
“I’m a realist, darling. Getting your hopes up when you’ve become a host, well, let’s just say it’s dangerous.”
Sora nodded slowly, her eyes wandering away from the dented computer screen. At her feet, Kiri played with one of her boot laces.
Sora smiled slightly, and looked back at the woman on the screen.