I was working at the computer when I saw the snake glide across the floor. It was about the width of a pencil, maybe a little thicker, about two feet long, and a slick, glossy black. I rolled my chair back in surprise, and saw the tail of another glide under my desk, just inches from my feet.
I jumped back and cautiously looked around, but I couldn’t see them anymore. I grabbed the edge of the desk and pulled it toward me slowly, the casters sliding across the hardwood floor. Behind it, under the rat’s nest of cabling and drifts of cat hair, was a small hole in the floor where there was some termite damage a few years ago. As I bent closer I saw a flicker of movement, and two snakes came out. I watched them slither toward the wall, and then one crawled up the wall and on the window sill.
I decided I had better find out what kind of snake could crawl up walls, so I grabbed the one off the sill. It coiled around to face me, its tiny tongue flickering out and red bead eyes staring. It didn’t bite me, though, it just slipped effortlessly out of my grasp and wrapped around my forearm. It felt cool against my skin. I kind of liked it, actually, but then I saw the others writhing around my feet, and I knew it was bad.
There was a sharp sting in my left hand, the skin between my thumb and forefinger, and I let go of the snake. It fell into the mass on the floor. I squeezed my hand, forcing little drops of blood out of the punctures. When I did I felt something pop in my elbow, and when I looked I saw movement under my skin. My veins were pulsing, and then began to wriggle; they were black.
I felt calm, and was unsurprised when my skin split from elbow to wrist, bloodlessly. The tiny snakes uncoiled and began to wave wetly in the air, like Medusa’s hair. The limp and useless flesh fell away, and I felt pressure start to build in my right wrist. I didn’t look down, I knew what I would see. The plaster on the walls crumbled, revealing tens of thousands of obsidian cables, sliding against one another in constant motion. The air filled with sibilance, and my vision faded.