Bogleech.com's 2014 Horror Write-off:

" SPECIMEN JOURNAL "

Submitted by HISHAM H.

Today I collected something quite strange; a caterpillar that I can't identify in any of the books. To the internet!

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Looks like I found something pretty special; I posted pics of my mystery caterpillar on several sites, but no one could identify it! Even the entomologists (real science guys with PhDs and everything, not like us armchair enthusiasts) were completely stumped! They couldn't even identify the family!

But they did tell me that there was something strange about the caterpillar. It's definitely an insect larva, not a velvet worm or anything, but there are a few things off; way too many prolegs for a caterpillar or even a sawfly grub, way too long antennae, and large compound eyes.

It's definitely not some sort of adult larviform beetle, the experts were sure on that, although it could be the larviform adult of some other insect. It sure acts like a caterpillar though; eating all the time. I'll call it a caterpillar for the time being.

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I may be on to something here. This could be a completely new sort of insect, not just a new species or genus, but something more. I better document this insect thoroughly with pictures.

If I were an entomologist, I'd be writing a full description right now, but I'm no expert, so I'll leave the jargon to the scientists. In the meantime, I'll just record my own crude observations. Then, when I take it to an expert, they can write the official report. But before I do, I'm gonna try raising it to maturity, (if indeed it's still a larva). After all, having the adult insect would be even more valuable for cataloging/describing.

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I found it by the road, so I have no idea what the foodplant is. Or if it even eats plants. But there were some weeds growing nearby, so I gathered those up. I also offered it various leafy vegetables, plus clippings from every bush in the area.

I hope it accepts them.

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Success! It ate everything! It seems any sort of plant matter works. I've been giving it turnip greens and potato peels, and it wolfs them all down.

I hope it'll thrive on this diet.

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This is really exciting for me. I've always wanted to discover a new species, and have it named after me! But I'm afraid someone might beat me to the punch, so for now I've removed all the pictures I've uploaded; although some of my internet pals may have saved the images, they don't have the specimen itself. I can only hope nobody else finds another one. It sucks to be so paranoid and suspicious like this, but the fact is that scientists steal each otherís work all the time; I can't let this opportunity of a lifetime get away from me!

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This thing grows quickly! It's molting every three to four days! And it's getting HUGE! It must be at least six inches long! It's starting to grow branched tentacles down its back too.

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It doesn't seem to getting any bigger. No molts for a week now. Maybe it will finally pupate.

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It's been three weeks, and no chrysalis. It's not even molting anymore. It's still an eating machine though. Maybe a diet of bok choy and lettuce isn't cutting it anymore.

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I finally figured out why its growth stopped: not enough protein! I added some kidney beans and soybeans, and growth seems to have picked up again.

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I can't believe how big it's getting! It must be almost a foot long now! I'm gonna need a bigger tank!

But seriously, this thing should not possible. This is not prehistoric Earth; insect physiology in modern times shouldn't allow it. But somehow it has overcome those hurdles.

I think it actually has a pair of lungs. Even when it's at rest, it seems to be slowly expanding and contracting, as if it was exhaling and inhaling. I'm tempted to bring in an expert and have him dissect it right now, but if the adult insect is anywhere near this size, it should have some similar mechanism to get enough oxygen. Gotta be patient.

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Couldn't get any legumes today. So I sprinkled its food with fish flakes and cat food, hope it likes it.

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I added peanutbutter and hardboiled eggs to its diet. If it eats those, I'll try a bit of beef liver next.

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This thing really eats everything. Leftover ravioli, chicken feet, turkey gizzards, boiled turnips, rotten pumpkins, all of it.

But its poop smells so bad now. There wasn't any noticeable smell when it was eating mostly veggies, but now that I've expanded the menu its droppings have become just nasty. I'll have to hose down the whole tank.

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The tentacles on it back seem to secrete a sort of orange, milky liquid, which it then smears all over its body.

I was terrified that it was sick at first, but it's been doing it for a while now. I think it's normal behavior.

I recorded a ten-minute clip of it doing the thing.

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I hadn't written anything in this journal because I was so busy. I couldn't believe how big it was getting. It's almost three feet long, and fat as a pillow! I spent the entire week emptying the basement while I kept it trapped in the shower. I'm gonna keep it in the basement after this. There an open drain down there, so it'll be a simple matter to hose down everything once a week.

I can't believe how much it poops.

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Now it's smearing its orange milk all over the walls and ceiling.

How did it even get that high? I've never seen it crawling on the walls; I think it's too big to do so anyway.

Does it squirt it through the tentacles?

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This freaking thing is almost six feet long now! It's now so fat I can barely put my arms around it.

Not that I want to. I have a feeling that its orange milk is poisonous, and I do not relish being drenched in it as part of some defensive mechanism.

I hope it doesn't get any bigger than this.

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Seriously, this thing is about to eat me out of house and home. I'm trucking in loads of chicken feed and catfood, plus all the discount stuff straight from the slaughterhouse, like brains and eyes and tongues.

And my entire house reeks. No matter how many times I hose down the basement, the stench is still there.

But it'll all be worth it.

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Because it's so big now, it's easy to see of of the finer details you might miss if it were smaller. It's like looking at a macro photograph.

Like how each spiracle has a ring of tubercles with tufts of needlelike spines.

I wonder what they will call it. I'd like it if my name is in both the genus and the species name. Maybe the whole family will be named after me. I need to read up on Latin and Greek.

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IT FINALLY PUPATED!

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Okay, now that I've calmed down, let me document what happened; the thing covered the walls with yellowish silk, and it webbed off one corner, where it made a huge, egg-shaped amber-yellow cocoon.

Too bad I missed the actual cocoon-making process, but seriously I had no warning. Don't caterpillars stop eating or something before they do whole chrysalis thing? This thing kept eating right up to the day before. One night it's chowing down on bull lungs, the next morning it's a cocoon.

Finally! I can't wait for it to hatch!

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Day 2 post cocoon:

The cocoon turned brown.

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Day 3 post cocoon:

No change. I carefully removed some of the webbing from the area around the cocoon so I could get a better view and have greater access.

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Day 4 post cocoon:

No change. Maybe I shouldn't make this a daily thing.

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Day 25:

Nothing

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Day 50:

No change. But at least my house is smelling better.

And it's nice to eat roast chicken and grilled steak again after weeks of deep-fried chicken gizzards and stewed ox-tongue. I've been really pigging out these days, I'm almost as bad as the caterpillar. Yesterday I ate a whole fudge cheesecake by myself.

I really hope the adult drinks nectar or fruit juice or something.

If I'm lucky the adult might not need to feed at all.

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Day 87:

Today I hear a rustling sound coming from within! Today must be the day! I've set up the camera and everything!

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I've had enough. I'm selling the house, I'm moving.

I'm not sure about the pictures. Or the videos.

On one hand I just want to get rid of it all, wipe out all evidence of what happened.

On the other, there is still some small part of me that wants to share it with the world.

It's an amazing discovery, a fantastic discovery; if I reveal it I'll probably go down in history.

This is the stuff of legends. And there is so much to learn.

But part of me hopes we never learn too much about this thing; I just don't want to know.

All my life I burned with a curiosity to know the how and why of things.

But not this time. I'm afraid of what I might uncover.

The cocoon finally hatched. I recorded the whole process.

At first it was a vague, glistening shape, pushing out of the cocoon.

Soon, I was able to make out a head. Jointed legs. A furry thorax.

Then as it perched there to dry and harden, I was able to make out details.

The colors were soft and creamy.

It had six legs. Although still soft, they looked stout and powerful.

It had wings. Two pairs.

The front pair were covered in a fuzzy coat, like a moth's wings.

The hindwings were membranous, like a dragonfly's.

The abdomen seemed to be disproportionately huge, distended and bloated, but that could be because it had just emerged from the cocoon.

It was covered all over in pale mauve hair.

I could see the bizarre, sausage-shaped antennae, sprouting from its head like the horns of an oryx.

And although it had its back towards me, I could see that it didn't have the two compound eyes an insect would normally have. In their place were what seemed to be fleshy, wrinkled lumps. And as it swiveled its head, I could see that the wrinkly flesh sort of joined in the middle of the face.

A bunch of weird suckers in the place of mouthparts. Like an octopus's suction cups, but toothed.

But that's not what made do it.

That's not what made me beat it to death with a shovel before it hardened, then bury the body in the back.

What made me kill it was when it turned around.

When I saw the upside-down human face nestled in its thorax open its eyes.

It looked just like me.