Tuesday, 13 August 2013


About mid-morning, we found a thick, purple tube lying across the furrow. It was about the width of a man's thumb, shiny and moist. It was pulsating. We followed the tube in both directions; it disappeared into the ground on either side of the furrow. A few weeks ago, we'd have taken samples and been discussing the fame and fortune that was coming from our new discovery. Now, we just stepped over it.

I was at the back, as usual, and my mule was the last one to cross the tube. As it stepped over, the tube split underneath it. I turned back just in time to see what looked like a circular mouth filled with teeth latch onto the mule. I staggered back as the mule fell. Both halves of the tube were attached to its body. I watched as the two halves of the tube sucked the insides of the mule away, until the mule was nothing more than a skeleton covered in baggy skin. The skin began to tear in places, and I couldn't look anymore. I'd seen through the rib cage that the two halves of the tube were united once again. The tube pulsed as it carried away the remains of my mule. I left the trailer the mule had been pulling. We'll collect it on the way back, when we've used up some more of our other supplies. Either that or we won't come back. Then it won't matter at all.

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