The linnormi /lɪˈnɔːmi/ is a solid black, serpentine stranger with between five and eighteen arm-like appendages that emerge from halfway between its head and tail-tip, each one ending in either three or four fingers. Its skin is slippery to the touch, and its flesh is as black as its outer surface, with no clear internal structures.
Blades cut through the linnormi's flesh with ease. These injuries tend to be initially gruesome – the flesh bubbles and froths, even splattering onto nearby surfaces – but even significant injuries take less than an hour to heal. The site of injury never scars.
The linnormi's voice is neither high nor low in pitch, but somewhere in between, and it limits its vocalizations to a number of vowel-like tones. These sing-song half-melodies reflect no formal linguistic patterns, and possess no repeating structures.
Aaaa-oh, aaaaaaa-ouh. Aa...
The linnormi generates in lakes, rivers, harbors, and other natural aquatic biomes. It first appears as a swirling, sinuous black stain upon the water's surface, taking on solid form and shape over one to eight days. One quarter of linnormi fail to coalesce, and instead dissolve and mix into the surrounding currents.
The linnormi possesses a mischievous, restless disposition. Although it prefers to stay submerged, it is not restricted to water – unaffected by gravity, the linnormi slithers through the air with the same sudden weaving that distinguishes its "swimming". Its attention rarely remains focused for very long, as it darts from place to place in fluid bursts, and when not in motion, it clings to the underside of docks and piers, or (and on still, cloudy days,) piles itself onto a dry surface near the edges of its territory.
This jovial stranger is friendly and social towards others of its strain, lacking in all aggressive or hierarchical behaviours. Groups spend their time playing with one another, and move in sweeping aerial displays over long distances.
Ꮑ the water was warmer than you expected, wasn't it?
The linnormi exudes a pitch black ink from its skin, which, although harmless to touch and possessing no toxic effects when ingested, stains almost every surface it comes in contact with. This fluid permeates even rock and metal, and requires harsh solvents to wash away – when it can be removed at all. The stranger is prolific in its production of this pigment, and cities with large linnormi populations can be identified by their dark, murky bays and lakes.
A "bay" apart?
Last night at approximately 12:15AM, a small tanker carrying over fifteen hundred barrels of de-calcitrated liquid poly-birium phosphate fuel sprung a leak after being struck with a floating piece of debris. This floating "debris", as it turns out, was none other than the wreckage of last year's misfired perimeter missile, which nearby property owners have nicknamed "the shatter of the century". It's not the first time that military interference has led to ecological disaster in the name of civilian defence - to find the next most recent event, in fact, you need only go back to 2013, when at least seven thousand newly restrained ▛▝▚▚▘▚▚▞▚ were dumped off the cargo docks only a seven-minute walk from what may be now, a relic of its time - a pre-recycle cleanbreaker station, or, as it's more commonly known on the streets - a "burner booth". Long-term residents may be familiar with such licensed outposts, where customers are free to burn computer chips, cathode converter rods, and even old lint traps - all for a volume-based fee, of course. But the real cost, some taxpayers have found, isn't found in the itemized bill – it's in the opaque and slimy brine that washes up on beaches, coats the sides of the fish we eat, and clogs boat engines. Politicians say that they're thinking of a new policy, but refuse to set a date. Don't you think you've been jerked around enough?
The linnormi approaches and circles any sensitive it finds. At first, its demeanor is hesitant yet playful, and it flits forward to tug at clothing, or tap on its target's head or shoulder as though playing tag, each brief touch leaving behind an inky handprint that marks all who experience even these brief encounters. The linnormi is a fickle stranger, and loses interest when its target does not react to these actions. After one or two minutes with no response, it darts off in search of more responsive novelty.
When its target does acknowledge the stranger's presence, however, the linnormi becomes excited and insistent. It yanks off clothing and accessories,ɰ and slaps at any exposed skin with the perseverance of an over-excited child. Attacking the linnormi does little to stop its light-hearted antics, which responds as though it is unable to fathom that this assault could be anything more than simple rough-housing.
ɰ Like it wants to start a game of "keep-away"...where it takes something from you, and doesn't let you have it back.
The linnormi always ends its play by coiling itself around its victim's body, and reaching its arms into any exposed orifices (usually, the target's mouth, eye sockets, or ears). At this point, the stranger's touch has stained the victim's clothes, skin, teeth, and eyes as black as coal, and even those sensitives that do escape require months of constant washing to remove the marks.
we're marking it all down
what's a few more spills and stains?
our fabric cleaner gets off everything!
don't fall for off-brand ink again...
have your important documents been ruined by imitation ink???
Even as it attacks, the linnormi's demeanor never becomes aggressive. Instead, it displays disappointment when its coiling and insertions finally suffocate or cause hemorrhaging to its prey, and the corpse no longer reciprocates the teasing advances. Although it continues to play with the corpse of its victim, the stranger grows more and more dejected, and at last slips back into the water without a sound.
but, is the writing on the wall?
reasons to get excited
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ink in your eye??
you can't see what a valuable opportunity that is, a lawsuit!
's entry for the linnormi
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it's almost too good to be real
you can slip down ...
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The linnormi's lifespan reaches an abrupt end. Its eye markings recede into its body, and it loses mobility and drops to the ground with a sudden spasm. There, it writhes in frantic, seizing coils for several minutes, then grows calm. Other linnormi throw rocks and other small objects at the bodies of a seizing companion, but display no regard towards the corpse. The dead linnormi melts down to liquid within the day; this fluid, though it dissipates, leaves behind the expected, lasting stain.