The old barber looked over the body of the man. There seemed to be no apparent cause of death. He listened to his chest again, just to be sure. No heartbeat…
“Are you sure nothing happened out of the ordinary?” he asked the man who brought him in.
The man looked nervous.
”We were out collecting samples for our studies, like we’ve been doing for months…” he replied.
”Well, go tell his folks while I take him to the mortician” the barber told the young man.
The boy ran quickly through the alleys. He was not however heading to the boy’s parents, but to their master, the local necromancer. Reaching the door of his master’s home he knocked furiously. The minutes passed like hours as he shifted his weight nervously from side to side. The door slowly opened.
”Master….we have a problem…”
The cryptosidius trilobita, or “tomb trilosydes” as it is sometimes called, is a small parasite resembling an ant sized horseshoe crab that enters the host through any available orifice. This is usually done when the host is sleeping, although the parasite is so small as to go unnoticed in most cases even when awake.
It is commonly found in putrid remains (corpses) but can easily be found in stagnant water, rotting garbage, privies, or other suitably unclean places. They can survive in nearly any environment for up to two weeks. The primary diet of this parasite is liquor cerebrospinalis1 and serum albumin2. The average life cycle is one year.
Within hours after becoming host to one of these parasites, an itchy skin rash will develop. Stomach cramps or pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea begin within days.
Fever, chills, cough, and muscle aches set in within one to two weeks of infection.
This is purely coincidence, as the parasite lives in only the vilest of places and commonly carries with it several infectious diseases.
Once in a host, the “tomb trilosydes” borrows deep into the pelvis, finding its nest in the curve of the coccyx. From this nest it extends from its “tail” several fibrous tentacles. These wrap about the spinal column and arteries in and around the pelvis. From these tentacles eggs are laid.
These eggs will grow and hatch into the larval form of the “tomb trilosydes” and work their way into the bloodstream and spinal cord. They will make every attempt to slowly make the arduously long journey to the brain of the host, where they will eventually mature into the hard shelled cryptosidius trilobita.
The larvae that travel to the brain through the spinal column can cause seizures or paralysis. Seizures will be evident by convulsions, rolling back of the eyes, drooling, swelling or swallowing of the tongue, temporary facial paralysis, and loss of bodily functions. If paralysis sets in the infected will appear, even to the most astute eyes, to be dead. Those traveling by bloodstream may cause heart attacks, fainting spells, numbness or pain, and internal bleeding.
These symptoms continue until the parasites leave the host.
One to five of the larvae will survive, the weaker ones being cannibalized by the stronger. Once matured they will burrow back to the intestines and leave the already inhabited host in search of one of their own.
The only known treatment for this infestation is as follows:
“Mix equal parts powdered wild roses, ashes of oak and juniper berries. Infuse into strong spirits for three days.
Drink one thimbleful at sunrise and another at sunset.
This curative takes seven days to effect.”
This parasite evolved independently within the confines of a large underground tomb. After surviving on the remains interred there for hundreds of years they entered a torpor-like stasis until a resent breach in the antechamber of the structure.
1 Liquor cerebrospinalis, is a clear bodily fluid that occupies the space between the skull and the cerebral cortex. It is a very pure saline solution with microglia3 and acts as a “cushion” or buffer for the cortex.
2 Serum albumin, often referred to simply as albumin, is the most abundant plasma protein in humans and other mammals.
3 Microglia are a type of cell that act as the immune cells for the central nervous system.