Ever since I found the way to my husband’s inner workings, I keep noticing similarities between him and many, many other people I know. My sister. At least five coworkers. Random people at the bar I like to visit. Even my father. That dear old dad could be so Afflicted was the biggest shock.
Taking apart my husband took me a long time. And now it seems he is not so much “one of a kind”.
My sister first, I think. To keep the babies safe. To make sure they grow up with love in their lives.
Her heart is the hardest, cold as the ice giants that float through our solar system.
And not unlike those planets, she has layers upon layers of dangerous material. The melting and molding processes will take time. I don’t want to believe they are monsters, so instead, I call them The Afflicted. There might be danger. The danger of getting caught is the least of my worries – if they ever question me, I will have tons of research material to share -. The danger to myself is negligible, The Afflicted lose all sight of others, and are consumed with the need to feed; to eat, in a way.
There is no clear age of onset. There is no DNA-marker to find. No medical journal has written of them. Maybe there are others like me, but I’m getting more and more convinced I’m the only one who can see them for what they are.
Ever since my husband gave me his last fist to the face, ever since I started my research, I see them. There are more of them than I could ever have imagined. It’s as if they’re breeding. But I will stop them. Starting with my sister.
I saw it in her eyes again, just today, the Affliction. As she asked me when my husband would be home from his trip abroad, I saw in her eyes that she was feeding off my children’s emotions, savoring their sadness and devouring their despair.
And as I told her we missed him, but we didn’t know yet, yes he has been away for longer than usual and yes we keep in touch. Of course the children are ok, sad sometimes, but they are helping me with chores around the house, feeding the dog his special diet, cleaning their rooms. They’ll be fine.
As I tell her I worry sometimes, but he’s a grown man, he can take care of himself.
As I look her in the eye, and see the glee and gluttony of what took her, I tell her:
‘We’re doing great. It’s all under control.’