Sunday, 22 October 2017

Veils From the Crypt


Cryptic monsters... undercover horrors... sleeper creepers... From the monsters under the bed to the ghosts in the attic, the vampire on the board of directors to the werewolf in the historical reenactment society, there's no getting away from them. Is your paperboy a ghoul? Is your sister-in-law a zombie? Are you absolutely sure you're not a fish-person?

It's no different in the deep sea (they might be more concerned about person-fishes). We all know the deep sea is essentially an alternate dimension populated entirely by monsters, but that doesn't mean they all get along. Even when monstrosities reign supreme where normality fears to tread, a monster still gotta hide...

Tritonia tetraquetra
Veil of the Occult
Monsters tend to be rather old-fashioned and typically have a lot of time to read ancient tomes since they never get invited to parties. All of which means that they know very well that 'occult' comes from the Latin celare, which means 'to hide'.

The occultic veil is a classic technique. Just make sure your veil is big enough to cover your entire body and its colour matches your surroundings and BOOM! Instant occultism, or camouflage, if you prefer. Perhaps "BOOM!" isn't quite right. A "barely discernible but oddly sinister hiss" might be more appropriate.

Play your cards right and you can be as splendidly pink as this sea slug and still go unnoticed!

Deep-sea skate (Bathyraja abyssicola)
Veil of the Grave
Everyone's sick of zombies these days. They've been done to death, and that's unfortunate. After all that work rising from the grave and making their dreams come true, we've ended up with so many undead that they're all dead again. It's the tragedy of the commons in action.

But what about a zombie with five arms and no legs? What about a zombie that bursts from the earth and bites down with powerful, bone-crushing jaws? There's nothing common about that.

Sea Spider and Jellyfish
Veil of Fellowship
Monsters are famous for their habit of hiding under the bed, and who can blame them? It's warm, it's dark and sometimes there're cookies. Unfortunately, there aren't many beds in the deep sea. There's that one big one called the seabed, but it just isn't the same. Luckily, other options abound.

One thing the deep see is in no short supply of is... monsters! Where better to hide than under a fellow comrade of monstrousness? Whether it's the tentacles of a jellyfish or the flabby chin of a sea cucumber, the deep sea is full to the brim with handy appendages and peculiar crevices to hide in. And I'm sure they value the companionship too, even though they'd never admit it.

Masking crab (Loxorhynchus crispatus)
Veil of Flesh
Here's one for all the skeletons out there. The land of the living is a difficult place for a skeleton. It's tough to look people in the eye when you have no eyeballs. Finding clothes that both fit and give the illusion of any kind of figure at all is a nightmare and don't even talk about comfortable shoes.

What to do? Well, if you're impoverished in the flesh department then maybe borrow someone else's? For the Masking Crab, a few clumps of sponge fills out those spindly limbs nicely. Up here, a plucky skeleton need only visit the local supermarket. A bit of sirloin here, some rump there, fill in the gaps with a handful of mince. No-one will ever know.

Phronima
Veil of Death
This is the ultimate disguise best left to the real sickos and psychos. Have you seen some other guy's camouflage and would like to get your claws on it? Does Fellowship turn you off because of your companion's incessant whining and overly loud chewing? Do you find living flesh more of a hassle than it's worth? Are you troubled by all those corpses going to waste now that the zombies are dead yet again?

If your answer to any of those questions is "Yes, a thousand times yes!" then the Veil of Death may be for you. Simply cloak yourself in the bodies of the dead. What better hiding place than a corpse? Simply tell the deceased's friends and loved ones that you're tired or "going through some things right now" and they'll be none the wiser.

Reduce, reuse, recycle—wearing cadavers is the ethical, environmentally friendly thing to do.

2 comments:

Jerry Cant said...

The politically correct term for us is "gillperson", and 94% certain, yes.

Also, good to see you back, mate.

Joseph Jameson-Gould said...

Ha! I shall have to remember that in future.

Also, thanks!

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