Sunday, May 8, 2011
A World a Day: Tendril
The tendril swayed in the breeze, the wind shivering a thousand tiny hairs that grew along its edges. It tasted the air in shallow pits that dotted its underside as it searched for methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. After swaying, growing and tasting for a day and a half the shoot found the body.
Immediately, it began to release a noxious gas to shepherd anything that might challenge its claim of the corpse. The tendril unfurled, wrapping itself around the cadaver. It slithered in up the chest and in through the nose. Threading its way through the lungs and between the organs, it secreted a complicated enzyme chain to speed decay and bacterial growth. By now more thin tendrils had found the body, and the corpse was stitched with half a dozen of the things. Within three days of coming in contact with the shoot, the interior of the corpse had liquefied. The skin and hair now draped the bones like an empty sack. The tendrils pumped the fluid feast through a series of tubuoles to feed the bulk of the fungus, growing and bloating half a meter underground.
Blood Gourds always sprang up on battle fields after the fighting had finished, thousands of tendrils weaving paths over tattered banners and rusting, broken armor.
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