05-17-2014 | Mr. Flealouse

"He invented a maggot called the Flealouse. It was white and featureless except on the underside, which was all mouths. It bred in connective tissues and moved by eating a trench in the surfaces it travelled among. It spread through bodies without upsetting them at first, for it sweated a juice which worked on the nerves like a drug, making diseased people plumper and rosier, more cheerful and active. Then it started feeding on the brain. The victims felt no less happy but their actions became mechanical and frenzied, their words repetitive and trite. Then the lice, whose movement so far had been sluggish and gradual, suddenly attacked the main bodily organs, growing hugely as they did so. Infected people turned white, collapsed in the street, swelled and burst like rotten sacks of rice, each grain of which was a squirming louse. Then the lice themselves split open releasing from their guts swarms of winged insects so tiny that they could enter anybody through pores in the skin. In less than a century the Flealouse infected and ate every other sort of life on the globe. The earth became nothing but rock under a heaving coat of lice of every size, from a few inches up to five hundred feet. Then they began to eat each other. In the end only one was left, a titan curled round the equator like a grub round a pebble. The body of the last Flealouse contained the flesh of everything that had ever lived. It was content."

from Lanark: A Life in Four Books, by Alasdair Gray

Archonology 4: The Money - Rune Soup

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