A Warning to the Spurious
Peter Tennant

Yuri logged on and went straight to Whispers Forum. As usual the Moderators had deleted everything he had posted the evening before.

He grinned. It was a war of attrition and he had all the time in the world. Let them do their worst. Sooner or later theyd get tired and he would prevail, as had happened on so many other message boards.

Yuri brought up the folder lurking on his tool bar and copied its contents, then prepared to start spamming.

Usually he began new threads, but occasionally he pasted to an existing thread, just to keep the Moderators on their toes. There was always the chance that somebody else would post to that thread after him, and his spam would go unnoticed as a result.

In Chat there was a new thread with the title Spammers Beware. Yuri sniggered to himself and clicked on the title.

Words appeared on the screen. Yuri logged on and went straight to Whispers Forum it began. Feeling increasingly uneasy he scrolled down the page until he reached the sentence:-

The Whispers Forum is protected by the latest experimental software from Cthulhu Corporations R&D wing and can defend itself with inthepenalcolony, the first computer virus capable of corporeal interaction with human beings.

Yuri was puzzled at first and then laughed out loud. These people certainly had a sense of humour, but he would show them just how much regard he had for their silly jokes. He clicked on Post Reply and then pasted a long list of website addresses in the text box that opened a miscellany of sex sites and online casinos, divorce lawyers and Russian mail order brides, drug retailers and a used car dealership in Milwaukee.

Suddenly his screen went blank, the words shrinking to a pinprick of light and then disappearing completely. Irritated, Yuri leaned forward in his chair, hands poised over the keyboard. Something was stirring in the murky grey depths of the monitor. At first he thought it was his own reflection in the screen, but then the thing took on a more tangible form and Yuri gaped in amazement, unable to believe the evidence of his own eyes.

Tentacles squirmed out of the monitor, like worms wriggling out of a rotten floorboard, as if the screen was a permeable membrane. They wrapped themselves tightly around his body, squeezing so hard that his ribs cracked and he found he could barely breathe, and when Yuri opened his mouth to emit a scream the end of one tentacle crammed inside, its consistency and the taste like old rubber, as if he was biting down on a used tyre.

More tentacles flashed before his eyes, all shapes and sizes, so many that Yuri couldnt begin to count them. His computer screen had become the conduit to some outr, otherworldly dimension whose denizens were attempting to cross over.

Some held knives, scalpels, syringes, objects he could not recognise though their minatory nature was all too apparent. Frantic with fear Yuri pressed down with his feet for purchase and tried to push his chair back, but the tentacles were too strong for him.

Knives danced in the air, a steel ballet that quickly reduced his clothing to tatters which other tentacles peeled from his limbs and torso until he was naked as a new born baby. Razors shaved the hair from his scalp and all over his body, turning his skin into a shiny pink palimpsest. Miniature lasers scored his flesh and pincers peeled back the resultant flaps so that yet other instruments could probe inside of him, seeking out his lungs and heart, kidneys and spleen, working on the very bones that gave him form. Countless needles repeatedly punctured the surface of his skin, their touch like a thousand pinpricks, each one insignificant, but their cumulative effect to create a raging ocean of pain on which his mind was tossed back and forth.

Yuri lost consciousness, and so was not able to see the messages they inscribed in blood across the flesh of his stomach and inner thighs, on the purple bulb of his penis and the soles of his bare feet, on his forehead and across his eyelids, on the walls of his heart and the fluttering sack of his lungs.

Words of power and cantrips of enchantment Whispers of Wickedness and Future Fire, Midnight Street and Pendragon, Fusing Horizons and TTA, Elastic Press and Hadesgate, many others - names that enabled Yuri to realise his true nature, the tokens of an artistry and creativity that transformed his miserable body, inside and out, into a living temple of spam.

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