A teaser/excerpt from the short story by Brian A. Plank.

First of all, please do not ask me who I am. What is most important is who – or what – I am not.

I am not an optimist, nor am I a pessimist – I am an opportunist. And when an opportunity presents, I pounce with acute precision. Make no mistake – I am as clever as clever can be – I guarantee you will never be able to completely outwit me.

I will state now, and I am sure I will again later: I do not give a shit about you. My sole purpose is to romance, infect, and ultimately destroy you. I want you to succumb to me. To depend on me. To worship me. To turn your life – your soul – over to me.

Like it or not, once my hook has set in you, we will be best friends forever.

There are no takebacks. No do-overs. No second chances. Period.

Without me, you will be like a fish out of water. You will flip and flop about until you are reunited with the cool, calming wetness in which you need to immerse yourself to simply breathe – to exist.

At times, we may be at odds, if not all-out war. You may come to rue the day we met. You may come to fear me. To loathe me. You may come to fear and loathe yourself because of me. Others will. I promise. You will no longer be seen as a person but as a freak of nature – a lost cause, a disappointment, a waste of life. But remember, we will always have each other – a close bond that, once established, can never be broken.

I am a master illusionist. I can make you disappear into thin air. I’m unbelievably amazing at my trickery. So much so that I do not even try to hide the secret to my success. Like a magical elixir, I alleviate emptiness, loneliness, sadness, or whatever you believe needs mending or augmenting. At least, that is how I will convince you I am your true friend. I can turn an unnerving hectic day into something peaceful and tranquil. All you must do is allow me.

As you may have discovered – or will eventually learn – the irony is I will only make things worse.

Still, you may never stop coming to me for answers or solutions to your problems. Maybe you just need to blow off a little steam. Perhaps all you want is to be normal or numb. There are innumerable possibilities.

Whatever it is that brought you to me, I will never keep myself far away from you. I promise. I can be in your hands with a quick phone call or a short trip at any time. It is all up to you.

Someday you may garner the strength to wage war over the influence I currently lord over you. But once you have caught the bug, you will always be susceptible to my allure. I have an open-door policy, and I will always be ready and waiting for you with a bold and welcoming invitation.

Once you have had a taste of me, you will continue to seek my counsel and me.