I had a very strange dream the night before last, potentially the result of watching too many zombie films lately. In my dream I was trying to escape a disease that was spreading across London. Started by the nip of a pigeon, as the infection developed a very strange transformation would take place…

The first signs are a greying of the skin at the area of the nip that starts the spread. The pink, fleshy human skin starts to peel away, to dry up and start to itch as it spread and greys and hardens. That’s the earliest sign, even if you can’t see the bite; an overwhelming compulsion to itch. The trouble is the more you think about itching, the harder it is not to! So everywhere you look you see the next potential victim. The greying skin then begins to toughen, stretching and tightening over the sinew and muscle. It’s why some people believe they are stronger than us I suppose, the muscles straining more visibly under the taught skin. Others of course believe they are weaker. The stretched skin, combined with the rapid weight loss they go on to suffer from gives their limbs a thin and bony appearance. In truth, it doesn’t matter either way because though they could still raise a fist to you, they no longer know how to. It’s not in their nature. By the next stage, though they are still conscious , you know they don’t have much time left. A soft silver-grey down begins to creep over the skin, the beginnings of the steely-grey feathers that pierce through next. The drain on the keratin in the body to prepare the skin for armfuls of feathers causes the hair to fall out, not just on the head but all over the body and it is about this time the face shape starts to change. The skin, already harder and drained of colour seems to pull so tight over the bones they appear to be molded into shape by the force. The jaw is pushed up into the skull, so far the chin meets the nose, the mouth collapses in on itself. The cartilage and bone in the nose and chin come to a point about where the nose would have been, pushing the rest of what was once a face, closer together, shrinking it, stretching it, creating a ridge down the centre. A writhing starts beneath the skin as the new cartilage sets into place. Gradually, the centre point sharpens, hardens, becomes shiny and black. A few hours later, or I have seen it take as long as two days, the cartilage splits with a sickening crunch as it is wrenched apart; a beak. During this process the neck has lengthened, the shoulders have slackened and hunched and the eyes have taken on the intense orange of a London sunset. They are smaller, beadier, and sit either side of the ridge down the ruined face. The panic of the human eyes has left them, and their mind with it. Feathers have continued to grow, they stick out at odd angles and are uneven, but concentrated in patches along the back of the neck and down the backs on the arms. The chest has shrunk and hollowed considerably, the beating of the heart visible in the fluttering of the fragile rib-cage. The legs by now are a dark grey colour, toughened to the elements and scaly in places. The ankles appear knobblier somehow, the toenails have lengthened and toughened. Before long they will be scratching at the ground compulsively, and pecking too; their ruined bodies no longer their own.

I may continue to write up some of the rest of the dream, which was extensive and vivid, or it may just be too damn weird!


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