Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.101: Worms of the Earth

Gaily-bedecked garden gnomes are a common type of ornamentation found on the lawns of many British households. Mythologically-speaking, the gnome is, of course, a type of elemental power often associated with the regenerative powers of the earth - as well as with death, decay and darkness; in the classical period, the gardens of Rome displayed small statues of the deity Priapus, to ensure growth and fertility - a practice some have claimed as the origin of the simple garden gnome.

Whilst the custom of exhibiting garden gnomes is also common throughout Horsingdon, the residents hereabouts are more circumspect with regard to the manner in which such figurines are displayed: often in the darker recesses of the garden, and usually not in plain sight. Rather than the comedic figures entertained in the typical English garden, in Horsingdon one is more likely to find dwarfish, malformed effigies, often bearing staffs or wands, and with gnarled, grotesque faces sometimes displaying a sinister row of sharpened teeth. In some households, an oblation of beer (and, it is rumoured, a small amount of human blood) is offered up to these misshapen statuettes on the occasion of certain festivals.

One may, infrequently, hear the locals make fearful reference to these beings as 'the Worms of the Earth'; more rarely, one may even hear tales of how, in living memory (but before Horsingdon had yet become fully colonised), on certain nights squat, dark figures might be spied crawling from out the ancient barrows which then dotted the landscape, of yellow eyes seen shining in the darkness, and of a sibilant hissing which might be heard filtering through that darkness - the sound of something neither fully serpentine, but not yet entirely human.

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