The Network: Myths of the Mirror November Writing Challenge

Written in response to a challenge at Diana’s blog.

A big old one is down. We knew it was ailing. It had given up part of its substance to the Eaters and Dissolvers, and for long its messages had become faint. It went down hard. The whole net shuddered. The Burrowers trembled and Stompers scattered. Now the entire flow shifts and jiggles. Water has backed up through the nets and mineral transport has halted. Our hyphae tingle, for we know what is to come.

We’ve been through this before. The fall of a big one tears a rift in the fabric, laying the matrix open to That Which Is Above. The whole network redeploys, full of flurries and judders. Messages vibrate through us. Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus—hold those supplies! Protective compounds, a flux of nutrients—more, more, more! Make chitin, build new tubes, shut down useless sections. Pump and transmit. That old one existed for many lives of our kind, many cycles and thrummings of the World. Its mass—everything it built in its long life—will have to be divided, managed, mobilized for All. Transformation commences!

The crawlers and wigglers, burrowers and borers, they’re at work already. The matrix vibrates with their chewing, grinding, and jabbing. Water comes down from Above. Some of our kind are brewing solvents to squirt down the holes and cracks, loosening the bonds, freeing the elements—to us. We absorb liquids and shunt them from tube to tube, to the ends of our net, to where it mingles with other nets. Our tubes will take the stuff of the Big One and turn it into the stuff of Life.

Life. For the Big One made seeds. We know where they fell, descending soft into the matrix, swelling, breaking open, extending roots and stems. We surround them, cradle them, feed the tender rootlets, make substances to tell them of others of their kind. We transmit wisdom, help them grow and stretch, so they will fill the rift and seek That Which Is Above. We are always here. We endure. We sustain. We dwell in the matrix, and the matrix dwells in us.



        1. Oh, you were definitely in the ball park. To be honest, I’m not sure if the term “mycelium” applies once the fungal hyphae have formed an association with plant roots (which is a mycorrhiza). A mass of hyphae is called mycelium, however. I saw the prompt, got the idea, did some quick and dirty checking in Wikipedia, and wrote. So I may have missed a few details. 😀 Glad you liked it, though!


          1. lol – your quick and dirty foray into Wiki left you with far more knowledge than I’ve ever had. I remembered the word and the fact that it had something to do with roots but that was it.
            I love learning new stuff in such an interesting way.

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  1. I know what it is. The word “hyphae” gave it away to me! And the “big old one” is an ancient tree, while the “burrowers and borers” – well, how could I not know what they are? I like this piece a lot.

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  2. Now, that took some work and vision. Well done.


    Yeah, hyphae helped. Networks and chemical agents seemed to point to one answer. But chitin threw me. With no mention of the blooming of fruit, nor spores, I’m reticent to say mycelium. Perhaps chitin is the key after all? (Termites.)

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    1. Thanks! Hyphae are apparently made of chitin, which is also part of insect bodies. There would be termites in such an ecosystem too, of course, but my point of view organism was a network of mycelium.

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  3. Brilliant, simply brilliant. I’m guessing maybe mycellium? Mostly though I’m in awe of the story of life and death and renewal, told in just a few short paragraphs. Excellent. 🙂

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