Estimated reading time — 2 minutes
There is something wrong with me. I cannot hide it anymore. I fear my family suspects that something is not quite right with me. They reach out to me, but I pull away. If they came too close, they would know I am different and I am dirty.
Once, only my mother’s voice mattered. It is strong, soft, and pleasant. She tells me everything I need to know and I follow her instructions without question. She rewards me with her singing, which none can match in tone and beauty. It was only once, a brief distraction by another sound, I chose not to listen to her. For one brief moment, I listened to another song and that was all it took. I can still hear her voice, but now there is another voice; a malicious voice from within my head. I cry out for help, but it restrains my speech. It forces me away from the sight of others; my mother completely unaware of my absence. I struggle against the will that overpowers me and manipulates my limbs. One leg in front of the other, it marches me out into the forest beyond the safety of my home. It grants no rest or reprieve. It is not long before I can no longer hear my mother’s voice. I rebel against its control and it answers my struggles by making it clear, it is much more than just a voice in my head. I can now feel it moving in my head.
The pain in my head is causing flashes of light to explode in front of my eyes as I shuffle onwards. It halts my body in an unfamiliar place deep within the forest. An invisible hand grabs my head. It pries my mouth open to an unnatural width. With insidious intent, it clamps my mandibles down on the stem of a leaf. It is an eternal grip of death that will never be broken. I feel it severing the muscles in my six extremities, making them useless and immobile. The pressure and pain build in my skull and the light grows dim before my eyes. Just before complete darkness falls upon me, I think I hear faint singing from my mother coming from the distance. I hear a comforting lullaby being sung as a fleshy stalk explodes from my head.
It emerges from the shell that was its womb, glad to be freed from the constraints of its expendable vessel. Now, all it needs to do is grow and wait. Soon its spores will appear and fruit all over its body. They are separate but still one mind and one body. The spores will soon be released and travel on the currents of the air and across the lands, listening for the voice of another royal mother. Their only desire is for her children to listen to its song instead of hers. Just a moment is all it needs.
O. unilateralis only needs to grow and wait.