Because today starts quite suddenly after I nod off for just a few seconds and my new wife is snatched immediately from our bed by determined ritualistic tribesmen, I decide to forego my usual reflections about what the fuck is happening to me in favor of gathering as much information as possible about what’s going on right now. Here’s what I learn…
Apparently I’ve been “lucky” enough to awaken on my wife’s final morning. She’s about to be sacrificed to something called The Great Pflan. When I get a look at it I want to faint. The grotesque muck of it coupled with intent horrifies me.
Worshiped by superstitious deviants, the flesh-absorbing fungus giant (called Pflanzenriesen by the white men before they were sacrificed) has thrived on human sacrifices for centuries. The thing is a eukaryote made of billions of hyphae filaments. How do I know? I majored in General Studies.
Is this the Amazon Rain Forest? I understand their language but I know it’s not English. English is the only language I speak and read, yet these nearly naked short brown jungle people understand me perfectly, and I them. But they call our home Deep Abundance. That means nothing to me.
These jungle-entrenched believers think that bringing human food to Pflan keeps Pflan from growing that much faster in search of nourishment. It is hypothesized that Pflan could grow to encompass the world, unless appeased. The natives believe that the creature would still be a large but normal oddity except for those human tidbits steadily introduced to its diet for decades as sacrifices until it learned to expect and crave them.
My wife is taken to a tub where she’s being marinated and tenderized. The fight is gone out of her. She’s resigned to her fate. Memories of our romance flood into consciousness. Despite these weird few days and the fact that my wife now somehow has black hair when her hair was platinum blonde and brown skin when her skin was kind of a pinkish beige, my love for that woman is strong. I know who she is, I swore a vow to her, and I can’t watch her die.
Somehow these natives are induced to this hypnotic worship, trapped between this strange being and an ever-encroaching civilized world from beyond the jungle.
Humankind has been sharing the Earth with alien lifeforms from the very beginning. We call them “plants.” Long before mobile forms of life came along, life literally took root in the soil and helped create the atmosphere that we breathe today.
These creatures move at an extremely slow pace compared to us. Only through time lapse recordings have we been able to observe the ferocity with which plants compete with each other for sunlight and water.
All life on Earth is in competition for resources and survival, and even though the process works more slowly in plant reality, plants became acutely aware of the forms of life that started moving in the world around them. As in any competition with three or more players, alliances formed and enemies declared themselves.
The natives are loyal to the beast. Every move I make to save my wife results in multiple people restraining me. I begin to notice how the worship of plant life is reflected in the culture all around me. Unable to save her, I watch the creature who is about to devour her. How can such a thing be real?
Even as We the mobilized life forms ate them, trampled on them and chopped them down, plants and fungi learned to poison their ambulatory intruders. Plants and fungi learned how to attack the respiratory systems of larger beasts and trigger other allergenic reactions. And though they are slow, their airborne worldwide communications network called wind carries messages that inform them of what has happened and is happening.
As the designated tribesmen of honor lowers my wife into the repulsive grip of the monster mushroom, I notice that most of the tribe is very young. Almost everyone has tumors. Graveyards are everywhere as mass burials are common. Many regularly cough up blood. Strange growths can be felt inside every other person.
Our ancient predecessors are still at least one step ahead of us. Until now, no one suspected that certain cunning conspirators, preparing for the swelling invasion of animal and man, created a means of turning ordinary animal cells into free radicals, on a scale so microscopic in the air and water and finally even in the soil, that none of these animals would be immune, no matter how large or menacing.
And while the competition continues to this day, the ever sprouting descendants of our oldest friends and rivals live among us, often in our homes with us, undetected or naively unsuspected, quietly spreading a garden variety of the plague we collectively call cancer.
I watch her disappear, bit by bit, into the gaping maw, restrained, tears flying off my face, helpless, dying inside.