When spring came all the nation was happy.
The spring came first to the ankles and the legs. The ankles would split, ripe and shiny, spilling a warm yellow liquid over the feet that dried into a crust and fell into yellow vapour that itched the walking feet. Sometimes the split would be a deep one, and the white of the bone could be seen swimming upwards into the light. Sometimes it would be splintered and messy, and sometimes it would be smooth and whole, a more painful wholeness that reeked of a caged and terrible parasite.
This yellow infection would diffuse up to the knees. There was a smooth one-sidedness to this motion, as the sickness manoeuvred in sudden unseen leaps, whittling its white shiny teeth and sinking tiny rows of grey claws in the most sterile of midnight blues. The spring was inside, not out. The knees would shake and rattle and quake in a vicious rhythm. They were pods tasked with the egestion of a million fertile seeds. The sweat reprised in sudden crescendos that left the knees shaking and gasping in tiny leggy breaths, skin staggering with the effort of drawing air where no pores would admit. Here the tiny tremulous kneecap in its pod of sinew keened long and despairingly. When the worse of the labour was thought to be over and the legs were left shaking without the strength of another cry the entire tortuous cycle would begin again.