The longer the creature feeds on its thralls, the brighter the colors beneath its surface glow, until it illuminates the night like the lure of a ravenous angler fish. Soon enough, the first victims who succumbed to its magnetic pull will find their way here, eager to be swallowed into its iridescent glow.
The death of a world, as prosaic as a parasite’s meal.
And so it would have ended, too— if Serpaz had not hesitated to inoculate her matesprit with its blood.
She knew all along that what she was doing was wrong, didn’t she? After all, she’d have no reason to protect him otherwise. She must have known, somewhere beneath the grime of grief and denial, that no universe offers easy fixes.
But let me bring you back to the end of the line, to the moments before this tale’s gruesome resolution.
Two worn and bloodied figures facing down the blinding form of the creature that wants to suckle on their world until it’s bled it dry. Around them, the husks of their friends standing on the edge of the roof like sentinels or scarecrows.
Serpaz and Laivan nod at each other.
When the first flame flickers to life, the ever-present hum reaches a fever pitch.