Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hide and Seek (08/07/08)
By James Dixon
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“Not yet.” Old Grimy chuckled at Youngun’s antics. “There won’t be any of the internal defence force out here, but we’ll be washed off if we wait. We must find a breach or somewhere to breed.”
They moved out, weaving through the follicles that towered above them like a mighty forest, ascending moles, and creeping along wrinkles.
“How much farther?” Youngun whined.
“Hard to tell.” said Grimy, “We must find some dirt. Preferably somewhere the host misses or can’t be bothered to clean very well.” They clambered out of a wrinkle and saw a distinct patch of filthy skin spread before them, stretching toward the horizon.
Youngun whooped with joy and cried “We have made it. Look at all that dirt.”
Old Germy inspected the mark that stretched on without a break; otherwise it appeared to be normal flesh.
“It’s a stain,” he pronounced. “That’s no good to us at all. It’s just a surface mark and might even attract extra cleaning, or a scrubbing brush. We’d better move on.”
Youngun sadly resumed the trek, along a deep crease, until there were signs of trauma. The canopy of hair thinned and became increasingly broken and twisted, dislodged skin cells were scattered across their path like boulders. The crevasse opened up into a wide chasm of soft new skin.
Old Grimy’s enthusiasm picked up with his pace. The terrain was puckered into a cliff, which he ascended with adroit bounds. Youngun scrambled to keep up. Grimy halted at the crest.
Youngun saw a wonderful sight. A brown mass encrusted raw skin. It looked like the perfect place to launch an invasion.
“Steer well clear of that,” muttered old Grimy. “That’s a scab.”
“What is wrong with it?” Youngun could not hide his disappointment.
“The internal defence force will know that this is a week point. We wouldn’t last a microsecond if we try and break in there.” A glob of puss seeped out. It seethed with bacteria locked in a grim battle with hordes of white defence cells.
They reluctantly moved on. The horizon shrank and the germs traversed a series of larger folds. Stains became more frequent and loose clumps of dirt cropped up here and there. The ground was hardened, tempered by constant attrition. Alass, there was no sign of any openings to exploit. Youngun lagged behind Old Grimy.
“Get moving!” Old Grimy ordered, “We can’t afford to loiter if we are where I think we are.”
“I want a rest” Youngun complained, then crawled into the shelter of a lump of top soil. A gaggle of bacteria swarmed over it having a party.
“We could be washed off at any time.” Old Grimy twitched nervously, “But we may be near the perfect place to lodge.” Grimy pulled Youngun up. They slithered over the last ridge beyond which a glassy sheet spread before them.
“What’s that?” Youngun gasped. “It looks treacherous.”
“A finger nail.” Grimy still spoke with awe despite his advancing hours, “Keep to the edge and follow the cuticle. Then we can get under the nail.”
The host was active. The sky darkened and brightened as they clung tenaciously to their route. The terrain changed constantly as soil stuck and dislodged. Grimy’s unerring instinct kept them in contact with the flesh and preventing them being knocked off. The cuticle came to an abrupt end. The nail jutted out above the flesh. A scrum of germs fought for purchase in its shelter, but a gargantuan amoeba cruised along the finger tip devouring everything.
Slurp, suck, burp, the monster assimilated microbes left and right. Grimy and Youngun scrambled for safety, fighting through a desperate press of micro-organisms as the slathering beast got ever nearer. The old germ mercilessly squeezed and shoved others out the way, working ever deeper into the nail bed. Youngun fell, and turned to see the carnivore looming above him.
“Quick, in there.” Germy screamed, and hauled Youngun into a tiny ridge almost under the path of the amoeba, which slathered with delight.
Youngun gasped as an avalanche of foamy water pouring down. Soil melted away and microbes were swept to their doom. The torrent struck the amoeba, dissolving its ravenous body then lapped just short of the cowering germ.
“Just as I hoped,” Old Grimy looked relieved as feasted on the remaining dirt. “No scrubbing brush. Now it is time for us to divide, multiply and conquer.”
2 Corinthians 7:1
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