A monster commission for a client's science fiction universe! They write:
"Laughing people: The only known race that will hug your skin off…
Most of this horrifying and mysterious creatures’ life cycle is spent deep underground, leading many surface dwelling sentients to dismiss their existence as myth. However, once a decade or so, they enter the final stage of their life cycle, metamorphosing into roughly humanoid entities which emerging en masse to capture every living creature nearby. Their unpredictable, devastating attacks, and the manner in which they kill, have granted them status as the most feared entities on the planet, legendary or otherwise.
Individually, each mobile form is known as a ‘Giggler’ due to the rapid high-pitched laughter they emit from their toothless, grinning maws. These sounds are actually part of the beings’ echolocation system through which these eyeless entities perceive their environment. When a laughing person has detected a prey source it will lock on, appearing to “laugh” at an increasingly hysterical rate until it is within reach. It will then lash out with its long, gangly forearms and grasp the victim in a death embrace. This brings prey into contact with its toxin-infused skin, which rapidly necrotize the preys’ own integument causing it to fall away.
Victims are then dragged back to a new lair and piled on top of one another. Their decomposing flesh now serves as compost for the next generation of laughing people, which will emerge from spores left in the corpses by the adults, who die soon after. The adult phase’s short life is due to the lack of a functional digestive system, instead relying on energy stored on their backs and accumulated during their growth phase. These ‘food pouches’ shrink rapidly, and over two or three days a Giggler will become increasingly shriveled and emaciated with sections of flesh starting to peel away under the influence of its own skin-necrotizing toxin, against which it only has a temporary immunity.
Despite their frail appearance laughing people are extremely hard to kill and can take severe damage. Entire limbs can be blown off and they will still crawl towards their prey giggling away as they try to literally hug them to death…
Laughing People are part of the "Sor Universe" an illustrated sci fi/fantasy novel by Alex Hatton now in the final stages of completion.
For details contact: multi_coloured_alexhotmail.com"
For the art you've done that hasn't already been spoken for, please consider submitting it to DailyScienceFiction (dot com).
They "print" one piece of SF art per month, which appears at the top of each day's SF/fantasy story during that month. Size limit's pretty severe: 498px wide by maximum 350px height. $70 for each piece of art they use.
There's an obvious parallel between Laughing People and cicadas and mayflies.
I'd also point out that the fact that the above-ground post-grub Laughing People are a bit like the Symbion Pandora, critters that grow on the lips of Norwegian lobsters (no, I am not making this up) in that during part of their life cycle, they have no digestive tract. (At another point in their life cycle, their anatomy is entirely different: they have U-shaped digestive tracts. Don't even ask about their sex lives... it's too bizarre. Shoot, not only do they have their own species; they have their own PHYLUM too.) If you haven't read about those crazy critters on lobster lips, I highly recommend it as truth-is-stranger-than-fiction biology reading. It's a powerful reminder that the truth is not obligated to be believable. www.newscientist.com/article/d…