She walked out to the driveway of her two story family home in a suburban housing development east of Chattanooga Tennessee, to get into her mother's Passat and go to the pool. She was a senior in high school with long legs and longer hair who enjoyed making hemp necklaces for her friends and bracelets for boys on the varsity lacrosse team. This creature hopped out from under the car. A very small creature that scientists have been unable to place on the tree of life. It had the small body of a chipmunk with a black stripe of fur down it’s almond color body, with little dots of white like a faun’s coat. It had long tall ears like a rabbit, and big eyes that glimmered like jewels. It was no bigger then her cell phone, but its head was so much bigger than its body. She bent down to take a picture with her phone.
Inside the car she pushed her hair out of her face, her watery eyes reflected off the rear view mirror she adjusted to back out of the driveway, but she stopped. Lifting her leg up onto the driver seat she waited in the parked car and sent the picture to her friend. She had started to cry. “I can’t,” she wrote, “What is this thing? So cute!”
That night her parents said the girl had developed a severe fever. Within 24 hours she was delirious and dying from an overwhelming shock to the symptom.
“The last thing I remember her saying,” the girl's mother would later tell doctors, “was, it is so cute, just so cute. I don't know what she was talking about. She was sick.”
It was a plague. 24 hours later the girl's friend who received the text message would succumb to the same symptoms, those uncontrollable tears of pity. But before she did she sent the picture to hundreds through text and thousands through Instagram. Such a strangely adorable creature garnered hundreds of thousands of likes, millions more shares. 24 million people liked the picture by the end of the week. They would all be dead by the next month.
In all cases they had the same symptoms. Uncontrollable sobbing, clutching their hands to their breasts as if embracing their own soul leaving their bodies, and a fever that melted their insides into mushy puddles of sweet and salty tears. Death by the cute little thing with big ears.
“It turns out it is possible,” the Surgeon General said last year, “that an extreme image of cuteness can so overwhelm the receptors in the human brain for adoration that it completely overwhelms the body and heart. The patient is literally thrown into such a state of adoration that the body shuts down.”