Gruyo fed his son. It was large now, as big as he was. Its belly hung like a sack, cartoonish and bloating. Most of the time it followed him around the house like a sick spirit, when the sun came through the window it lay on its side in the light, warming itself like a cat.
It bit him.
If it was morning it bit him.
If it was brunch it bit him.
If it was lunch it bit him.
If it was night it bit him.
If Gruyo was unconscious it bit him.
If Gruyo was happy it bit him.
If Gruyo was sad it bit him.
If Gruyo hadn’t seen it it bit him.
If Gruyo was having a bit of food on his own, a midnight snack, it found him and it bit him.
Bit by bit by bit Gruyo was turning to nothing.
It bit him until Gruyo shrunk, until he was a wraith. It bit him until he was a dense remnant of inedible parts.
It feasted, it ate, it slept, it turned its eyes inside out.
It never spoke.
Nevertheless those were glorious days.
But what was on its brain? Gruyo put placards in pubs, hospitals and trains:
MIND DOCTOR, ANALYST? MY SON WHO CANNOT TALK WANTS YOUR AID. GOOD PAY: ASK FOR GRUYO AT 14 CHALANT WAY.
The next morning he woke to loud knocking at the front door. It was a woman and two bags. “I am Lana,” she said.
She introduced herself as a doctor of the mind, not a psychiatrist or therapist per se. What was the difference? A simple question of apparatus. What were her rates? A flat fee of £500 to cover three weeks.
“In three weeks I can guarantee a cure,” she said, “or a total and conclusive failure. After that, I am leaving for Geneva. Where is the patient?”
Gruyo called to his larval child, which heaved itself to him, rasping its maxillae.