He falls silent wondering if he does have it: is it a human right to see one’s dead friend in his original place of death? Unlikely. But still, it seems right and that should be enough. Plus the whole thing needs to be thought out better. After all one is dealing with a death, the last and most significant fact of existing and now Igeshuke’s words are rushing back to him, the one’s about the importance of dignity. Dignity! Carla needs to be here, come here, no matter what funny business she is up to in New York City.
– Yes, alright, certainly Mr. Fanon. We respect that but please do come here as soon as humanly possible.
– Sure, I will be there.
– Ughm, o.k., around what time do you think that will be?
– Later today officer.
– Alright then. Thanks in the name of the…
Beneath the rocks, in the cool shadows, is a teeming stream of insects, all scrabbling in the same direction: silverfish, assorted bristletails, carrion beetles of course, the ever lovely cockroaches, omnivorous earwigs, your regular ants, the slow moving millipedes and others more. It’s the insectoid morning commute and he falls in with it, terrified he will be eaten alive. Many of the insects slightly swerve off their course to inspect him with their antenna and either make fun or disapprove of his outwards appearance. Outnumbered by millions, The Infected One has no interest in starting an argument about the evolutionary advantages of bipedalism and instead trots along steadily through the dead organic matter and the cool moist air. Despite the lower temperatures the stench has gotten even worse, something like a meta-presence, a nail-studded whip constantly lashing at his innocent nose whenever he forgets to mouth breathe.
The Infected One accelerates in hopes of finding his roommate but has no luck. It is impossible to discern his body in the moving multitude of exoskeletons. Slowly but surely he grows tired: The Infected One is not such a great walker he cultivates more of a sedentary lifestyle. Becoming bug feed has never at all been the fate he envisioned [rather a lavish state funeral with a somber President, on TV, announcing a day of mourning] but the muscles’ burn is sucking at his willpower. At last however, the insect super highway tilts upwards and things become brighter. Rays of cadmium sunlight are shafting their way in and The Infected One lifts his hand to form a visor so he can see where he is going.
What he actually wants to do is to make a full stop because the olfactory situation, against all reason, is still deteriorating. Walking on he dry retches, catching him the sideway glances of his fellow commuters. In mid-stride he bends down to scrape out a hand full of earth, which he rubs under his nose, even plugging some of it into the nostrils. This affords a bit of relief.
They swarm out from under the stone alley and into a vast open plaza bristling with tens of thousands of insects, only few of them his size, most double or more. The skyline is a sloppy, asymmetrical version of a human metropolis’ sky-etched geometry. There are slanted and curving outlines, unaccountable outcrops and precariously leaning towers rising to meet the brownish dawn. The crazy materials at this distance make an amazingly slapdash impression and the buildings themselves appear to have all the structural integrity of a house of cards but even less aesthetic value. At the Eastern Corner of the open square, a high rising tower of toast bread looms over the insectoid fracas while on the opposite end of the plaza there is a massive, hump-backed cardboard structure that faintly resembled Sydney’s pregnant oyster.
However, on the fourth side, across from the one delimited by the massive, subterranean rock street something entirely different presents itself to The Infected One’s disbelieving eyes, taking up almost half of the view. Elevated to almost half the height of the surrounding houses is a patchwork structure of wide, white beams that end in protrusions and spherical projections like the principal bones of human extremities: femur, tibia, fibula, humerus, ulna, radius, all of these and more. Indeed, in certain places, deeper inside the parallellogrammed structure of bone girders, he believes to glimpse fractions of colossal crania. The Infected One inhales sharply. For a second he intends to squash the insect rabble with his bear hands until he again becomes aware of his relative size and instead just sighs in impotent revulsion. How many millions of these fuckers are out there? In the end they will win, no matter what, by the power of their numbers and their blind way of going about life. Perhaps what he wishes to interpret as anger is just something simple and base: envy.
– Hey, larva-boy, get to work! No exceptions for early hatchers.
The carrion beetle who said this kicks him in his behind and onto his way with one of its thin but painfully hard legs. The Infected One reluctantly moves towards a major node in the throng, just beneath the bed of bones, allowing himself more time to take in the rest of the sight. Above the bleached structure of femurs & Co there is an incongruent mass of flesh, skin and hair, which must be the source of the putrid stink. The reasonable assumption is that this is the corpse of something gigantic. There are hundreds of little scurry paths along which insects are moving in and out of the dead body.