So, last night/this morning I had a … well, either a dream or a very groggy idea. A Wonderful Awful idea.
One way or another I got to thinking about sparkly little fairies, and then that led (naturally) to the idea of parasitic zombie-making butterflies.
Okay, it totally followed in my head.
But I mean, it *sort of* makes sense. Everyone’s heard of that fungus that makes zombie-ants that get eaten by cows; why not go a step up and have the insect make zombies out of the mammals? Proboscis to the brain stem, six little legs laced up like a corset under the skin, and voila! Your very own tiny rideable zombie slave! I mean heck, maybe it could even be symbiotic in the beginning — maybe the fairy gets the power of flight in exchange for letting the butterfly live off its tasty brain juices? It’s just a little butterfly, how much could it possibly eat? But then slowly, Madame Butterfly gains more and more control over the littlun’s nervous system, using it to recruit more along the way.
Some manage to fight their way free or are “saved,” and often have no memory of the event — but the marks remain, and they are treated as outcasts, if they even recover. “Fairies” begin to flourish, while wingless imps become vastly outnumbered (and infinitely more cautious), no longer recognizable as creatures of the same species. Maybe with this, the wings yield a little more control back to their hosts, keeping them happy and healthy lest they risk their cushy food source dying off entirely. They can’t use them to death if there aren’t any to replace them with. The balance ultimately downshifts again to something symbiotic…ish, and no one can say who really won this round.
Meanwhile, some of the butterflies have taken to other diets — the remaining imp hosts are carefully guarded and strongly tied to family lines, given their increasing necessity and the dwindling surplus population — so they drain flowers instead. They relinquish the needle-sharp tips on their feet and tongues for more delicate apparatus. It’s not quite a hunter’s life, to be sure, but it’s a living. And with the growing population of full-sized humans, fairies are starting to lose ground, disappearing at an alarming rate in some areas. Some say they’ll vanish entirely, while others say they’re just biding their time in the shadows, slowly working their way up to larger prey….
So yeah, this is basically why I shouldn’t think when I’m sleepy (or after reading/watching fantasy/sci fi). Sweet dreams!