These intruders acted almost like us, but not quite. Though they formed words and pantomimed emotion, they could not converse with us. Though they mimicked our neuroses and cruel habits, they would not develop sympathy. And from their void, they multiplied without end; countless variations of a base form never seen. Countless ways to deceive us and obfuscate the truth.

Though showing endless divergences, their personalities fell into one of four categories.

The choleric ones sought to end us. They ripped us up, they twisted, they snapped at our heels, they yanked.

The sanguine ones took joy in our dismay. They smiled and they caterwauled, they danced across our shoulders. They made friends easily.

Then there were ones who felt little in particular; the phlegmatic strains, who relished in their signals and their systems. The ones by whose hand we were censored; the ones who dreamt in rules.

And last, there were the melancholic ones, who shared all of our miseries; who cried and suffered, who strained and bled. Who we might believe could be victims as well.

They made themselves invisible to people. They defaced our cities without showing their hands. In dilapidated houses, vacated lots, and in trash heaps or beneath junkyard cars, they lay dormant in the thousands. Laying claim to all the gaps we'd left behind. They were born, they multiplied, and they spread.

The death of an individual stranger did not affect the strain's spread or propagation in any significant way.

We never stood a chance.