And it doesn’t come in by the lungs. That’s what they see, all but the dear, desperate man next to you who writhes and chews his gag as he watches. The others see it in the air because that’s the only way a monkeybrain can perceive it.

It needles in through the pores and moves between skin and muscle like a skinner’s knife, until it finds ten thousand tiny amorphous blobs running through your flesh; it looked like gas and felt like fishhooks and now it becomes sparks running electrochemical wires, ecstatically leaping the gaps ‘tween the nerves.

And your brain isn’t supposed to feel pain, but it’s like someone set off a blasting cap in the brainmeat of your limbic system. You feel it in your nose, a head full of static, the world goes bright white. Your skin slicks with fear-panic animal sweat and your bladder looses. The others hear your soul exit as a scream; only your dear, helpless man sees it hover over your body momentarily—a long-tailed bird the density and hue of coming rain in a distant sky.

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