Up (2)

He must have come straight up to the roof and died, by the smell of
it. I was just finishing a cigarette, all torn up with anxiety and
head throbbing, and when the acrid smoke vanished I caught a whiff
of rot on the hot wind. It took me just a few minutes before I’d
found him; face down behind the vents and fans. A slimy gray column
rose up obscenely from the base of his skull, and a frozen waterfall
of roots and tendrils was dangling from his eye sockets and mouth.
At the top of stalk was small arrangement of feathery wisps, a white
powder drifting idly from it tips.

The spores must have drifting over the north side of the building
all day. My side of the building. I came down to my apartment to
try to call up the police, and my headache was rising to a feverish
throb. I got through the door, and the moment I reached for the
phone, pain flared in my head, so bad I almost passed out. I’ve
since tried three times and I can never get my hand up on it.

The same thing happens when I try to get up and leave the room; I
feel spines of ice tunneling up into my skull and my limbs lock up
and shudder.

The ants, in their last moments crawl as high up the vines as he
can climb. This is so the spore will spread over more of the colony
below. In the end, the parasite controls the ant with an almost
intelligent drive. God help me.

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