1529 c/o Socrates Adams

Crash Diet

I am twisting around and moving through the earth so slowly that I might never reach my destination. There are crumbs of earth around me, but there are also huge boulders, tree and plant roots, decaying bones, leaves, carbon, other brown and fertile matter. I force my way through the matter, skewering the ground with my body.

This goes on for many hours until, exhausted, I reach a hollowed chamber.

Everyone else is in the chamber already, sitting on tiny coils of earth. There are maybe three or four hundred others here, their long bodies flopping and suckering to every surface available. I make my way to an empty piece of ground, accidentally touching a few others as I slide. I am late and I am embarrassed.

There is a slight delay. I am sure that there is some angry muttering about me being late. I try and turn round to the source of the muttering but by the time I have turned the muttering has stopped.

An old worm, Ian, clears his throat. He starts to speak, coughing and wheezing.

'Welcome, everyone, to the Diet.'

There is a general sound of speech while everyone greets each other.

'We are here to discuss a matter of monumental significance. There is one among us who has committed heresy. We have come together to decide his fate.'

A single worm is brought forward by around five others. They push him with their bodies, slipping and sliding across the floor of the chamber. He is screaming. A chant begins. The chant is 'Death, death death death.' Every worm is chanting altogether.

'Be quiet.'


'This man has written a blasphemous volume, denouncing our leader. In it he asserts that the Lord Worm is not God's representative here under the earth. He claims that there is no single worm with that power. I have read it, and I have felt violated by its content. It is an affront to our ancient ways, the way of the soil and the way of the rock.'

A worm spits all over the accused worm. There is a frothing, rabid element in the crowd and it is getting out of control. The assembled worms are having to be held back by security, but it seems as though they will not be able to hold them back for long.

'I ask you all. Should the edict of this court be death?'

And on the word 'death' a wave of meshing worms pour down onto the accused, smashing through the security barrier. And the crush and beat and suck and rip the poor accused worm until there is nothing left of him but soil and blood.

Ashamed, I turn and burrow into the earth.