No-one now recalls exactly when the Sign of the Worm came to the great city. All that was previously straight and orderly became curled and entangled. All knew that when the Prime Minister spoke on television, it was the Worm animating his form and ordering the words his mouth produced – the fleshy red Worm within his mouth was there for all to see. Every train upon every track became an embodiment of the Worm’s sinuous form, and all signals passing down cables and fibres, carrying voices, data, entertainment and obscenities, became manifestations of the pulsing, squirming body of the Worm.

Soon we all recognized that this slithering shape had infiltrated the land, the air and our own minds and bodies, but none dared say so himself, or admit to anyone she knew that her words and actions were no longer her own, but those of the Worm. Even natural phenomena demonstrated the Worm’s presence: flocks of starlings snaked and knotted across the sky as they had never done so before, lightning slowly wriggled to earth in defiance of any understood law of physics, and streams and rivers swelled grotesquely, become viscous and livid with writhing, vermicular forms.

Each day that passed only showed further evidence of the great Worm’s inveigling of its hideous Form into the fabric of the land and the souls of the people. Each transaction took place only because the Worm permitted it to take place, with cash or plastic changing hands as arms momentarily snaked together to make the shape of the Worm. Each lesson, lecture, sermon, broadcast and news item occurred as words Wormed out of the mouths of pedagogues, demagogues, holy men and policy makers and wriggled voluptuously into the ears of their respective publics. Each act of love, pleasure or procreation was revealed nakedly as a Worming-In, in means, process and end.

Soon the Worm was all there was, as everything still remaining above ground was rendered porous and friable and eventually sank into the earth, where Worms and nothing more made up the totality of all that lived and moved.


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