The gangridrene (/ˈɡæŋɡrədriːn/) is a pale green stranger with thin, spindly legs and an engorged and lolling head. Its skin is clammy and slimy to the touch, and its flesh is soft and silvery. Its body cavity is filled with thick intestines, which float in a viscous, colorless fluid. The gangridrene's mouth is four to five feet deep, but does not connect with its body cavity. Its many long, sharp teeth are, despite their fearsome appearance, weak enough to break with one's bare hands; due to this breakage, the gangridrene grows new teeth continuously over the course of its life, causing most individuals to possess a jagged and many-rowed smile. The gangridrene drips saliva from its mouth in slight but continuous strands. It possesses no regenerative ability, and even firm pressing can be enough to cause its body to bruise.
Its voice is quiet and whispery, and predominantly masculine in tone, with higher-pitched individuals accounting for only 23% of gangridrene. This stranger usually eschews outright speech, and instead hums to itself in aimless, somber tunes.
The gangridrene appears anywhere that human corpses or parts of corpses are found. Graveyards and morgues are the most common loci, but even museums or medical research facilities can house a gangridrene infestation. It appears with less frequency in hot climates, and the gangridrene that do appear in these regions usually possess slightly more saturated colors and a markedly brownish tint.
The gangridrene first appears as a pile of dirt and grime, which shifts and clumps together until the gangridrene's body is formed. Five percent of the time, individuals only successful generate 80-90% of their body – these incomplete gangridrene often have open wounds through which their guts spill slightly forth, and usually possess lower stability and lead shorter lives than individuals which have formed fully, but display no significant differences in behaviour.
The gangridrene possesses a determined but sluggish disposition, and moves from place to place with torpid, plodding motions. Its muculent hands and feet make wet slurping sounds with each step, and the gangridrene leaves a layer of slime behind on everything it touches. It is motivated solely by a desire to seek out corpses within its environment, and trudges towards them at a leisurely rate. While it lacks outright strength, it displays considerable persistence, and spends days pulling clumps of earth aside in order to exhume buried bodies, or pounds at morgue drawers for weeks straight.
Once it does obtain a dead body, it crams it into its mouth with clumsy desperation, twisting and crunching the limbs and arms to get the corpse to fit inside its oral cavity. In addition to this hunger towards corpses, the gangridrene's presence also causes flesh to decay at an accelerated rate. As such, bodies inside the gangridrene's mouth rot completely within three to seven days, where they jellify into a clear slime in the later stages.
When there are no corpses nearby, the gangridrene wanders with no goal. Although it displays little interest in non-corpses, it does approach mannequins, statues, or other objects which possess a human form. While it does not devour them, it will slurp and slobber at their limbs and bodies, just as a small infant or dog might mouth a favorite toy.
The gangridrene does not gravitate towards animal corpses1.
The gangridrene is non-grouping, but does approach others of its strain that it encounters on its travels. When two gangridrene meet, the older tends to place its hand upon the forehead of the younger, an action which leaves behind a black handprint that fades away within several seconds. Individuals sometimes lick each other's heads, as well, the wet slopping sounds filing the air around them.
Unlike many other predatory strangers, the gangridrene is rather amicable, and does not fight over corpses. Instead, the larger of the two tends to claim the corpse, with the smaller nodding and continuing on its own way.
Although the gangridrene's flesh-rotting effect is most pronounced in corpses, it does affect living sensitives, as well. Sensitives first notice this effect around cuts or abrasions, which grow dark and mottled before the flesh decays outright. Even wound-free sensitives, however, experience a dark patchwork effect on their skin, which spreads and grows necrotic as exposure continues. It takes approximately twelve minutes for an otherwise healthy sensitive to develop dangerous injuries in the gangridrene's presence, and forty minutes for these wounds to spread to a fatal degree.
Just as it seeks out and consumes corpses, the gangridrene also approaches and attempts to devour any living sensitive it finds, and does not appear able to make any distinction between the two. While the gangridrene is far larger than a human being, it is not significantly stronger (possessing the strength of an average but not markedly athletic adult human), and, due to its slow movement, is only a threat when it is able to corner its victim. The gangridrene can be dissuaded with both fire (which it always avoids) or by sharp, stabbing attacks (such as those caused by a knife or pin), whilst blunt impacts do not cause it to give up its pursuit.
Once it has captured a sensitive, it places them inside its mouth. Although this, in and of itself, is not immediately fatal, sensitives who find themselves unable to escape decay alive over the span of several hours. Ultimately, however, this proves fatal for the gangridrene, as well, as the corpses of devoured sensitives are converted not to clear gelatin, but to a thick, corrosive black fluid, which causes severe injuries (and often death) to the gangridrene as this fluid eats through the stranger's flesh. A gangridrene affected in this way cries plaintively to itself, but continues to engage in its usual actions until its face softens and sloughs off, at which point, the gangridrene collapses into a heap and dissolves into the same thick, black fluid, itself2.
Over the course of its life, the gangridrene's skin grows softer, its body becomes misshapen, and wounds and sores develop in its flesh. Although its strength fades as its body weakens, the gangridrene's behaviour remains the same. It continues to seek out sensitives and corpses, even when it is only strong enough to tiredly suckle on a foot or hand. Once it is no longer able to move, its body falls apart and decays first into mushy grey chunks, which decrease in size day by day until they have disappeared completely. Although the presence of other gangridrene speeds up decomposition, these individuals display no regard to their fallen companions.