Wednesday, March 30, 2016


"Come on, now," I said. "No one shall hurt you while I'm around. What are you afraid of?"

"Men without bones," he said, and there was something in his voice that stirred the hairs on the back of my neck. "Little fat men without bones!" 

"You can kill them with your boot, or with a stick.… They are something like jelly. No, it is not really fear—it is the nausea, the disgust they inspire. It overwhelms. It paralyses! I have seen a jaguar, I tell you—a full-grown jaguar—stand frozen, while they clung to him, in hundreds, and ate him up alive! Believe me, I saw it. Perhaps it is some oil they secrete, some odor they give out … I don't know …"

Their chief, who had been a great man in his day, sign-writing with a twig, told us that he had strayed there once, and drew a picture of something with an oval body and four limbs, at which he spat before rubbing it out with his foot in the dirt.

I saw that the plateau was ringed with pairs of shining eyes … as it might be, a collar of opals; and there came to my nostrils an odor of God knows what.

"It was grey and, in texture, tough and gelatinous. Yet, in form, externally, it was not unlike a human being. It had eyes, and there were either vestiges—or rudiments—of head, and neck, and a kind of limbs."

Then, out of that stinking green twilight came a horde of those jellyfish things. They poured up the tree, and writhed along the branch. 

Those boneless men do not bite: they suck. And, as they suck, their color changes from gray to pink and then to brown.
Gerald Kersh, Men Without Bones

Read Scott's blog-post about this story here.

1 comment:

  1. I never thought of them as giant tardigrades. interesting interpretation, and nice art.