Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Behold the Metronomicon!

You might have seen the image at right before. On some of the loonier nodes of the web, it's paraded as proof that monsters live beneath whatever big city is in vogue with conspiracy theorists at the moment. In saner quadrants, debunkers will tell you it's just one in a series of photomanips created by Russian artist Alexey Andreev.

And yes, it is true that Andreev has a blog of his digital artwork, including a number of faux-tographs grouped together under the heading Metronomicon. But that doesn't mean the loonies are completely wrong. Maybe Andreev is a modern-day Abdul-Alhazred whose paranormal investigations drove him around the bend. Maybe the only way he can retain even a tenuous grip on sanity is by telling himself and the world that these photographs are just manips.

Suppose it happened this way. Exterminators in the deepest tunnels of a Russian subway discovered a cache of eggs, too large to be those of any ordinary spider. Unfortunately, their thin protective garments were no match for the adults and their stingers.

Acting on orders they felt no need to understand, the exterminators emptied the insecticide from their sprayers and replaced it with chemicals from their new owners' bodies. Then they trudged back to the upper levels of the station and began to spray. A mere whiff of venom was enough to conquer most wills, and there were hypodermics for the rest.

One by one, the stops along the route were taken over, and with them, everyone who passed through those stops. Now the spiders (and their even-stranger cousins) could operate in the open. The Metro riders didn't blink at the sight of a man-sized cocoon, or flinch at the insertion of any number of organic cables in any number of body parts. Cattle don't question their owners.

Eventually, the riders knelt before their monstrous overlords and received new orders: to carry eggs out into the rest of Europe and Asia - and then into the world at large. After all, their owners were hungry, and they couldn't eat all their slaves. That would leave no one to handle the manual labor.

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