I was woken by a scream.
I jumped up and ran out of my tent. Ivana had slept in the open last night. I found her lying on her front, sobbing quietly. The lump on the back of her neck had burst, leaving a sagging flap of skin and a pus-filled wound. Inch-long milky-white slugs crawled in and out of the hole in her neck. They were repulsive, slimy and semi-translucent.
I staggered away and vomited. It wasn't the wound, or the disgusting slugs that had nauseated me. It had been her neck. The rest of Ivana's body had been covered; only her head and neck were exposed. Where her neck was intact, I'd seen shapes under the skin. Inch-long shapes, crawling under the surface. Her body was infested, and she was still alive.
When I'd recovered, I stumbled back. There were slugs all over her and on the ground near her. I watched the slugs crawling in and out of her wounded neck, saw individuals go under her skin, saw others crawl out. I'd lose sight of the slugs when they crawled down from her neck into her body.
Ivana's sobs were unbearable. I went and got the heaviest spade I could.
When the job was done, the slugs crawled out of her body en masse. There were more of them than I thought possible, and they left a huge trail of milky slime behind them.
I buried Ivana by the side of the furrow. I don't think Melanie even noticed. I couldn't stay here, so we carried on in the direction we'd been heading.