I was trying to breed the swarm – that’s what I always do when I get into a tight spot. A squeaky little voice had spoken up in my head, an autonomic emergency voice. ‘You are in a high-risk situation,’ it had told me, ‘you must breed the swarm’. That was just in case I forgot, you see, just in case I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by feelings of panic and as a consequence didn’t act so as to safeguard myself properly.
The when I hear this little robot voice from deep inside my own mind then this reminds me of what I have to do and I start making preparations for cultivating the swarm. I take scrapings from my skin with a special implement and then I cultivate the epidermal cells that I obtain in this way in a special apparatus that is concealed within the ornate teak cane that I carry around with me wherever I go. Inside the cane there are tens of thousands of microtubules which have the function of incubating the skin cells after they have been genetically modified and allowing them to grow into the Necro-spores, ready to be released into the world, millions and millions of them. These Necro-spores, when released and dispersed by the wind, will in time give rise to the Swarm. It is important to carry out this part of the procedure on a windy day, therefore. It won’t work otherwise.
Again it had happened, therefore. Again I found myself in peril, as I had many times before; again the dusty little robot voice had warned me; again I had heeded the warning and had taken the necessary steps to cultivate the Necro-spores. I was gathering my powers, I was summoning the dark forces which were at my disposal, I was calling the Swarm to do my bidding. This is of course always an epic moment – some moments in life are epic whilst others are not. Summoning the Swarm is always epic.
I generally stand in a large boulder or grassy hillock or on a park bench and hold my arms out in a dramatic fashion. I am of course wearing my cloak and all the gear. I stand there solemnly for a few moments, then I cry out – ‘I summon the Swarm’. And then that’s it – that’s all I need to do. Then after I’ve done this I settled down to wait. ‘Well done,’ said the raspy little robot voice in my head, ‘you have summoned the Swarm.’ All that remained was for me to wait for it to arrive, which in my experience can take rather a long time.
At last, at long last, they came. They came with a scurrying, a pattering, a rustling, a flapping, a shuffling, a sliding and a slithering. Little creatures, medium-sized creatures, and some big creatures too. Mainly little creatures, though. Bats and dragonflies and horseflies and fleas and ladybirds and badgers and stoats and weasels and foxes and centipedes and spiders and pigeons and squirrels and a few assorted human beings too – all heavily infected with the Necro-spores, all come to serve my will. It’s moments like this – I reflected – that make life worth living.