The pinzidrote (/ˈpɪnzɪdroʊt/) is a small, green, worm-like stranger that possesses a single eye marking halfway down its body. Although its thin layer of outer skin is smooth and rubbery, its inner flesh is waxy and flaky, and breaks apart when twisted or crushed. The pinzidrote has no regenerative ability.
Its voice is melodic and choral, with each individual possessing its own unique pitch and cadence.
The pinzidrote is found in a wide variety of locations, but prefers outdoor environments with level ground. It generates in groups of 3-54 individuals, with medium-sized groups being more common than larger or smaller groups. When it first appears, the pinzidrote emerges from the ground as though crawling upward from a hole, although its emergence leaves no cavity behind. It never appears within twenty feet of a sensitive individual.
Pinzidrote appear by themselves only 0.08% of the time. After emerging, these singular pinzidrote shake in frenetic coils, and then die with a sudden exhalation.
The pinzidrote's demeanor is basic but persistent. It wriggles from place to place like an inchworm, and although its meandering paths appear random, it always stays within the group, which does disperse. Individual pinzidrote are simple-natured and curious towards their surroundings, and chase insects, push their bodies beneath pieces of paper, or gnaw at and devour small pebbles. When at rest, the pinzidrote forms a small arch with its body, and up to half of a group's members remain at rest at any given time. Groups do not tend to move from where they appear.
Although individual pinzidrote display no particular insight or intelligence, groups of pinzidrote can be observed wriggling in such a way as to form structured formations and arrangements with their bodies. Large enough groups have been shown to form pictogram-like outlines, intricate maps, or geometric diagrams. When these arrangements appear, members of a group hold their position for one to six seconds, before they squirm back into patternless noise.
The pinzidrote is quite vocal, and groups spend a majority of their time singing and repeating random or overheard phrases in a sing-song voice. Clusters of pinzidrote within a group tend to speak in unison and repeat the sounds sung by other clusters, and large enough groups echo and mutate short songs in this way for hours, and sometimes days at a time.
Under neutral circumstances, the pinzidrote shakes and stops moving when near a sensitive. Groups will follow, however, any sensitive who repeats (either vocally, or with an instrument/recorder) the last tune vocalized by a group of pinzidrote. The pinzidrote's pursuit is slow, but continues as long as the sensitive is within range. Groups of pinzidrote even follow sensitives over hot coals and into water, despite an inability to survive these obstacles.
Although the pinzidrote is easy to avoid and possesses only limited physical strength, groups will swarm and wriggle onto a cornered sensitive's body. Physical contact with this strain dries out the skin as the pinzidrote absorbs all moisture from organic tissues, with the effect growing stronger depending on the number of pinzidrote touching the sensitive. Brief contact with one pinzidrote causes slight and harmless dryness, but when a large-sized group swarms an individual, it takes less than four minutes before the sensitive's skin becomes as flaky and dry as the pinzidrote's own inner flesh, and cracks or peels off, like mud flakes at the bottom of a dried-up lake. As the pinzidrote absorbs moisture, its own inner flesh grows saturated, which can prove fatal to this unstable strain. A satiated pinzidrote flops clumsily onto the earth, water spilling from its tiny mouth.
When a sensitive screams within the pinzidrote's effect radius, the group emits a note identical to the tone of the scream, and for the same duration, producing a morbid chorus for any dying sensitive.
The pinzidrote slows down and shivers in response to freezing temperatures, with cold weather proving fatal for this small stranger. Unlike many other temperature-sensitive strangers which huddle together for warmth or seek out sources of heat, the pinzidrote displays no such ingenuity, and, instead, exhibits some level of amusement at cold winds despite the inherent lethality of these gusts.
The short-lived pinzidrote grows weak and dies at the end of its life, and collapses with an exhausted suspiration. Its corpse flakes apart after several minutes, like a crumbling flower. Other nearby pinzidrote bite at and sometimes eat the shredded corpses of their companions, but consistently lose interest after several bites. The pinzidrote's flaky innards are eventually scattered by the wind or dissolved by water, while its skin shrinks and disappears altogether.