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Zombie Fungi

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Infected Ant

An ant infected with the fungi, post-death

I've done plenty of research into this and now I am certain what I say is 100% true, there are still parts I don't understand but that's the reason I wrote this report, so others could give me their own theories.

I am 19, I go to school at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. I grew up in Waco, a city in northeast Texas. I lived down there with my mom and my then 18 year old brother, David. I was 15 at the time. David was a genius,the soon-to-be-validictorian already had scored a fatty scholarship at UT. He wasn't a nerd by any standards. He was a starting basketball player and a powerlifter, a literally perfect child. Anyways the Smithsonian Society or one of national honor things had a trip for seniors that year, to send 15 lucky young brain-children to Brazil to study plant life. Most people would kill NOT to go on a trip that consisted of putting leaves in beakers but David went ape-shit and begged mom to go.

It was probably three weeks he was gone, he left during Christmas break and actually missed the holidays that year but he loved it, so we were OK with it.

So fast forward to the day he got back from Brazil he could've skipped about a week of school justifiably but:

  1. He had his first game and
  2. He wouldn't miss school for the world.

I remember the day he got back and we picked him up at the airport he looked perfectly fine. Healthy and happy. In fact he wouldn't stop blabbering about the God-damn plants in the way home, I was surprised mom didn't drive off the road and kill all of us just for a moment of silence.

It wasn't but a couple days later I noticed anything weird, it was after David's first game, he looked like hell. He was pale, walked everywhere like he was exhausted. He just said it was the first game that blew him out. I didn't have the nerve to tell him he shouldn't be tired cause he played terribly and coach hardly put him in. He still got up every morning, went to practice and school, each day looking worse and worse. Paler, moving slower and slower. After about a week my mom insisted he go see a doctor. All of us went, I had to make sure he was OK, I was legitimately scared for him.

It was at the office we saw it, he pulled his shirt up to put on a stethoscope of something and we saw a large green, algae-like growth on the side of his ribs. I can still remember my mom's shocked expression as she shouted,

"David!? Why didn't you tell us about this before?"

His only explanation was a blank expression for a whole minute, even after mom yelling at him over and over for an answer.

Eventually he managed "It told me not to tell..."

After that he was put in the hospital over night until we could figure out what the hell was going on. It was probably a whole month that he laid in the hospital. I visited him everyday, as soon as I got out of school.

I could describe each visit but frankly they were bland and he said nothing, ever.

It was on February 2nd 2008 that it happened. I was laying in bed listening to some music, my typical nightly routine before I went to sleep. I felt kind of hungry. I got up and creeped down stairs in hopes of snatching a midnight snack of some kind. It was at least 1 AM and I was tired. My half blurred vision lead me to the refrigerator. I remember hearing footsteps. MOM! I quickly, but quietly tip-toed to behind a wall where I wouldn't be visible. Then I heard it, the words that would haunt me forever. David's voice whispering angrily at no one.

"No, No I won't do it. I'm not ready to die..."

Eventually his argument with the non existent voice grew louder until he was nearly yelling.

"No, I won't, I-I won't!" Eventually I grew the balls to peak around the corner.

"David?" I asked as if to act like I hadn't heard his shouting.

I flipped on the light, knowing what I saw would be terrible. But I was wrong, it was terrifying. His eyes were rolled in the back of his head, clumps of his hair were missing, he had scratch marks all over his body from where he had apparently clawed himself. David looked around, apparently now blind from his condition.

"David? It's me! Your brother?" David looked around and replied softly, just where I was certain of what he said, "Goodbye..."

Suddenly his whole body lost control as if he had been tazed, his arms flailed for a moment, and he fell over cracking his head on out dinner table.

Blood poured on to the ground as his muscles slowly relaxed and he collapsed into a heap on the floor. Dead.

The police report called it that he died from his condition, not a suicide, not anything, just died of natural causes. I made it along, no one believed me when I told them of what I saw so quickly I stopped telling people. And with a closed casket funeral I was the only one of our friends and family to see him looking like a zombie. Other than my mom who was in utter denial about the whole thing, and ended up on her death bed from similar symptoms herself a couple months later. Like anything else, it just kind of disappeared.

After researching the topic and essentially making it my hobby to research throughout high school I have accumulated the following facts, in certain parts of Africa, Brazil and Thailand there is a rare fungus known scientifically as Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, or it's more common nickname 'Zombie Fungi'. It infects certain species of ants and essentially possesses their small brains so they will walk to a decent place for the fungi to reproduce. Then the fungi kills the ant and spreads in it's new area.

After the accident I grew a green clump on my leg, I had it surgically amputated early on before it had the chance to grow. I don't know if David was the first, I don't know if my mother infected anyone, there's a chance though. I don't know about the other 14 kids, however I do know it is out there, and there is no cure.

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