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 Absurdum Delirium

 Absurdum Delirium
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The Hell Queen
Do you like snake?
en francais

Jack never knew why he kept her. She just stared at him all day long, coiled up in the desert-yellow liquid, inside the jar. Jack could always feel her stare when he was in the room, like the Mona Lisa, following him around as he strived to keep himself busy. As if she were alive. And although she roused such bad memories, such vivid memories, Jack found that he could never bring himself to disposing of her. He often thought about it, just like he thought about complaining to the Council about the constant roadwork in his street, just like he thought about repairing the garden hut one day, about meeting up with his old war pals again, about phoning his son after all those years since Katie's death. And yet, this was - well, different. There was definitely something stopping Jack from getting rid of the animal, something compelling him to keep the wretched thing up on the mantelshelf by Isis, the iconic statuette he'd found during the war.

He sat down in the armchair opposite her and lit a cigarette. It didn't do anything to him - never did - and certainly no good, and yet as he drew in the smoke he knew why he had taken it up again, who had driven him to it.

The Serpent.
He knew it was a she. The doctor had said it was impossible to tell, yet Jack recognised in her mysterious elegance the distinctive characteristics of female cruelty. Her look for a start ; she had no eyelids, which allowed her to stare with domineering impassiveness, ensuring an almost constant eerie silence.

It had probably been the raw pork, he had been told. During the war, when he was in Egypt, it was often impossible to cook your food - you had to make do with pieces of meat which had been travelling for weeks, sometimes months, in the desert heat, in the back of a lorry.
After a week of chronic diarrhoea and anaemia, he'd been sent to the nearest hospital -40 miles away. They'd put him on laxatives no food, only hot tea every hour - must have driven her mad. Jack sniggered.
For a split second, his face took a worried expression, as the sun caught the animal's left eye, giving a momentary sparkle to the metallic tarnish of the globule.
Jack breathed out.
"Never stop, do you?" Jack snarled. "A bloody parasite, that's what you are." Just the same, numbing stare.
"Not anymore, do you year me? You're not getting your bloody suckers inside anyone again, that's for sure Jack calmed down.

"Once you've starved it out, you'll have to watch for its tail, every time you empty your bowels. "The doctor had told him. "You'll have to grab it and - well, just pull, basically. No, it won't be fun, but you've got to be sure to get the head out. Snap it off while its head is still in there, and it'll just grow back another tail."
Jack shuddered at the haunting memory of the delicate operation. The damn worms could grow up to 15 metres. His had been at least that. She had completely filled up the pot, like spaghetti.

"Nothing more than a wreathing mass of lifeless worm, now! A flat, parasitic worm, that's what you are!" Jack was bolt upright now, snarling at the tape worm coiled up in her jar like a long flex. His red, sweating face was inches away from the smooth, cool glass behind which watched the pulsating beast.
"took me two years to recover, two damn years!"
Jack took hold of the glass jar with both hands.
"Think I can't get rid of you, eh?"
He spun round to face the room. His right arm, carrying the jar, came round in a long arc. With a resounding burst, the bottom of the jar crashed against the edge of the mantel-piece. It shattered, sending shards of razor-sharp glass cascading over Jack's arms and legs. The golden ointment splashed over his stomach. The long, flat tape worm suddenly uncoiled in mid-air, like a spring finally released from twenty years' compression; Jack watched, open-mouthed, horrified, as the fifteen metre-long serpent sprung, like a whip lashing out, unleashing all of her restrained vitality as she wrapped herself around Jack's neck. Jack's cuts oozed profusely, a dark liquid he had not seen for a long time.
The old Serpent tightened her hold as she coiled round the flesh of Jack's neck. She savagely slashed through his vulnerable throat, blood splattering his chin and chest, and lunged down his gullet.
Jack's eyes bulged inordinately as he watched the end of her tail disappear down his throat Blood flooded into his mouth. He rose helpless hands and avidly grasped at his throat. It was already too late when he realised that what his bloody fingers had got hold of was his severed Adam's apple.
Jack collapsed, yet not dead ; there was going to be nothing easy about his death.

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