Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2013 - Page 16

FROM THE JOURNAL OF COMMON HUMAN VIRUSES

by Anne Valente

I. VISCERITUS

A virus that spreads through the entire body, visceritus manifests in the heightened sensation of each organ within the body. Sufferers become immobilized, acutely aware of each organ’s function and feel within the body, weights that anchor the afflicted to the safety of their beds.

Causes

Visceritus most readily strikes when humans push

upon the surface of their own skin. A self-generated virus, one produced by the human body, visceritus is thought to be a pushing back, an assertion of massed cells that scream to be heard. In the silence of their darkened rooms, sufferers have reported hearing a soft chant: an almost imperceptible call, we are here, we are here.

Symptoms

· Sensation that the body is a sea, a multiplicity of drowned weights

· Necessity of laying perfectly still, maintaining equilibrium, in a dimmed room until the body-sea subsides

· Phobia of rolling over in one’s sheets and crushing the liver, the lungs, the heart

· Subtle massaging of one’s skin to coax cells into complacency, into receding like waves

Treatment

Maintaining bedrest. Reading calmly. Drinking only cold liquids to calm a red sea. Pulling one’s hands softly across a wide landscape of skin to quell the roil beneath, a heaviness of hail that if calmed will melt back to the inconsequence of water.

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