Jacob Gillespie handed his passport to the young woman at the ticket counter and flashed his most charming smile. She couldn’t help blushing as she checked his details.
The scion of the Gillespie shipping fortune and one of the most photographed people in the world, Jacob was no stranger to attention, though he hadn’t always been fond of it. Unlike his socialite parents, Jacob was a recluse, preferring his own company to that of other as much as possible. He was also a nomad, prone to boredom when sitting in one place for too long. When not attending board meetings (which was mostly a formality for him), he traveled the globe on his private jet, visiting exotic locales and failing to dodge the paparazzi. But all that had changed a few weeks ago.
Jacob ditched the private jet and started traveling on commercial airways. The process of buying tickets, checking into airports and mingling with other passengers was exhilarating for him. He loved meeting new people and chatted them up at every opportunity. People who had known him since his awkward childhood days could hardly recognize the confident, gregarious young man in front of them. And he owed it all to one little trip.
Jacob had always been fascinated by the mysteries that lay in remote locales. Recently, the rainforests of Peru had caught his attention, and he decided to explore them. During his trip, he came across a strange lake, shining the deepest shade of blue despite the canopy of trees looming over it.
Intrigued, Jacob waded into the lake, despite the protests from his guide. The water felt cool and refreshing. He had no idea what the problem was. He was so entranced, he didn’t even feel the parasite that crawled in through his ear and attached itself to his brain stem.
Jacob emerged from the river a happier man. A man who was more eager than ever to travel every corner of the planet and meet as many people as possible. A man who could provide so many hosts for the parasite and its kin.
“Looks like you’re all set, Mr. Gillespie. Enjoy your flight.”
The woman at the ticket counter smiled and handed Jacob his passport and ticket. He smiled and made her blush again.
“Oh, I will, miss. I will.”