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Estimated reading time — 3 minutes

Do you know what a Cordyceps is? I didn’t either until 20 minutes ago. It’s a family of thousands of different types of fungus, grows all around the word in various rainforests and jungles. The awful thing about them is they’re parasitic, they grow on other animals. An ant happens to run into some spores, and then it starts to colonize his insides, starting with his brain. At some point, the ant starts to act visibly ill; standing in place and shivering, or walking in circles. If a fellow colony member sees him in this condition, he will be dragged to the border of the colony and exiled.

Then, when it’s almost over, the ant weakly climbs as high as he can up the vines, and locks his body on tight. Finally, he dies, and the fungus emerges from the back of his head, bursting forth like a long and foul fruit. After a short time, the little stalk spews forth its own spores, leaving the mummified and broken ant clinging to the stalk, his eye cavities filled with drying fungus.

I mention this because last night, when I was up on the roof of my apartment complex, I found my brother’s body.

He’s been back from 18 months on duty in the Philippines for less than three days. This was the first I’d seen him. My parents called me up the day before yesterday to tell me that he was on his way up. They told me he’d stayed in his room since he got home, and then suddenly got up and announced he was on his way to see me. They thought he was drunk, I’d thought he’d never made it.

He must have come straight up to the roof and died, by the smell of it. I was just finishing a cigarette, all torn up with anxiety and head throbbing, and when the acrid smoke vanished I caught a whiff of rot on the hot wind. It took me just a few minutes before I’d found him; face down behind the vents and fans. A slimy gray column rose up obscenely from the base of his skull, and a frozen waterfall of roots and tendrils was dangling from his eye sockets and mouth. At the top of stalk was small arrangement of feathery wisps, a white powder drifting idly from it tips.

The spores must have drifting over the north side of the building all day. My side of the building. I came down to my apartment to try to call up the police, and my headache was rising to a feverish throb. I got through the door, and the moment I reached for the phone, pain flared in my head, so bad I almost passed out. I’ve since tried three times and I can never get my hand up on it.


The same thing happens when I try to get up and leave the room; I feel spines of ice tunneling up into my skull and my limbs lock up and shudder.

The ants, in their last moments crawl as high up the vines as he can climb. This is so the spore will spread over more of the colony below. In the end, the parasite controls the ant with an almost intelligent drive. God help me.


The pain is almost blinding now, and a new thought has been rising up rhythmically in my head, like a record skipping. Up. Up. Up. It’s joined by an image of my office tower. It’s taller than my apartment, the tallest place I can think off and although the bulge on the back of my neck is the size of a peach, the skin stretched shiny, and I’m dizzy and my eyes are cloudy, I think I can make it there. Up.


No. I’m sick. I need help.

The building pulses again in my mind. The cold wind. The roof and the sky. These images and concepts dull the pain momentarily as they pass through my mind. I think I can get there. Up. Up.

If you live in downtown Chicago, I would get the fuck out.

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159 thoughts on “Up”

  1. RoseByAnyOtherName

    I’ve heard of fungus like that, but didn’t know what it calls. So thanks for the information and adding another reason why I’d never visit a jungle…

    Far cry from the Disney movie by the same name!

  2. Her Grace Killjoy Rainbow

    I don’t want to burst your story’s bubble, but, yes, I did know what Cordyceps is before I read this…A lot of people do…

  3. Guys listen. It is a real fungus, it does exist, but it only affects ants and other small insects. Also, little bit of videogame nerdom here, it’s the same thing that the infected in The Last of Us are based off of.

  4. Buttfartmcassjuice

    In case you didn’t know, the cordyceps are the spore fungus in the last of us, the infections that causes the “zombies”

  5. fantastic concept, but i found the execution sorely lacking. all the talk about the fungus’s effect on insects could be omitted — we’re nerds from 4chan and reddit, we all know what cordyceps is. i think it would be much scarier if the realization of the disease’s true nature dawned on the reader slowly.

    the author also seems unable to decide whether this is body horror or psychological horror. the descriptions of the corpse are a bit goofy/overdone and detract from the story’s overall effect. the narrator writes very coherently for someone with a fungus in their brain. i would find it much more disturbing if the logic and syntax of the writing disintegrated along with the narrator’s mind…
    i’m also extremely gay, and a homo.

  6. This is my favorite creepy pasta of all time. 10/10 for making me think about how a few mutations could actually make this happen.

  7. I think the reason he could use the computer and type the story is because the fungus didn’t see an immediate threat, like the phone would pose. If it has evolved to have some semblance of sentience, it could realize what could hinder its ability to infect a population

  8. Fffff, to think I\\\’ve been feeding my Grunty in .Hack//Infection cordyceps the whole time. D:

    Nice pasta though, reminds me of the parasect one. Creepy. ;A;

  9. Fffff, to think I\’ve been feeding my Grunty in .Hack//Infection cordyceps the whole time. D:

    Nice pasta though, reminds me of the parasect one. Creepy. ;A;

  10. Fffff, to think I’ve been feeding my Grunty in .Hack//Infection cordyceps the whole time. D:

    Nice pasta though, reminds me of the parasect one. Creepy. ;A;

  11. this fungus is a real thing, but its only for little critter such as ants, crickets, etc. so knowing this maybe ruined it for me. it was pretty good. and guys, it’s not saying that he doesent have the energy to lift his hand to his forehead, it was saying that her muscles were locking up and all she could think about was doing was moving up, as what happend to the ants. another term used for this fungus is zombie fungus because thats what it does. it forces the ants to pretty much go insane untill they die.

    on a seperate note…. it was a very well written pasta. :) good job!

  12. im just gonna take a moment here, as a few other already have.

    First, loved the story. Just so we is clear. lol Second, i always read comment on the off chance the authur makes some replies and to view general opinion. Diassapointed. Why? Cause of all the people tearing down the story for stupid reasons. Yes, Cordyceps are real and yes there are types that do such things. No, they obviosly probably dont originated from the phillipines nor do they attack humans. Duh. Thats why its fiction. it was meant to ggive you ab idea of what was going on. No, its not impossible. It just hasnt happened yet. i just dont get why people have to tear things apart just cause they dont get it. like hating a story cause the author didnt capitalize a word in paragraph two. i mean, come on! Loosen up andenjoy the pasta. X3

  13. hi, dont turn around

    To all those complaining that the fungus does not infest humans:
    rule one of horror: make the known unknown
    rule two of horror: make fermilliar scary

  14. I imagine the reason he can’t go for the phone is that the parasite doesn’t want him too, and that’s why he can make it to the office building. Same with his brother. But it still doesn’t make sense that he could type the message on the interwebs. However, you do have to sacrifice logic to actually tell the story.

    But it’s nice and creepy, and I need to stop reading these before bed <3

  15. A short masterpiece in my opinion. Highly descriptive, which I like in a pasta. Also has the disturbing edge of being just a little too close to actual possibility to be easily shrugged off.

  16. I read a number of the earlier responses.

    Some of them missed the point of what the plant does, but the cries of impossible raise a valid, though explainable question. How was the author able to use the computer if they couldn’t use the phone?

    The cordyceps didn’t leech the authors strength, it realized, probably through chemicals, that there was going to be an attempt to get help and stopped that from happening through pain.

    This would, logically, rule out the computer as well. However, if in this situation the cordyceps was creating pain when whatever receptors, neurons and chemicals fired off and released at the thought of getting help, it could be easily pointed out that no one would think they would receive real help by posting on a site like creepypasta.

    Think of it not as real intelligence, but just survival triggers. I hesitate to use it as an example, but the monsters in the movie Tremors were like this.

  17. In this game, castlevania, there is actually a guy/monster crawling on all fours with a gigantic fungus sticking out of his/its back. That kinda ruined the story for me cause I couldn’t stop loling.

    Something refreshing for once, though. No monsters in the mirror or murderers under the bed:)

  18. concept of the story scared the brix out of me, but the execution, well, it wasnt the best, but it was ok.

  19. Good pasta. Strangely effective ending. xD Good thing I don’t live near Chicago.

    I think the ant story was cute. Iderno why D:

  20. I liked it, but tbh the author should’ve cut down on the “pain” bit to make the whole “i write this warning” message a bit more belivable.

  21. …I live on the north side of Chicago.

    But this isn’t really scary. I’m not sure why, ’cause infections and diseases are my biggest fear ever, but maybe I’ve been desensitised by reading about Morgellons.

    Or maybe I just know that this fungus doesn’t really affect humans. I read about something like this in a book once.

  22. Oh god……… I am in an apartment in downtown Chicago right now and……. You know what? I think I’m going to head up to the roof now. /joke

    But seriously, I am currently on the 29th floor of an apartment complex in downtown Chicago right now, so that story hits a little close to home for me.

  23. You know, I’ve had similar thoughts when I was first introduced to parasitic fungi. It’s very good to see someone’s managed to convey the horror that is these brain-sucking fungi.

    Minor nitpick: I believe that most species of parasitic fungi (Cordyceps included) are quite colourful, not a dull grey.

    Otherwise: great pasta.

  24. Majorly delayed comment. But again, with the recent slew of mediocre pastas, I feel I should come back and comment on the GOOD ones. Like this one. Well done! I enjoyed it thoroughly. Even my buddy, who silently voices his disinterest in creepypasta, commended this one for its writing.

    My compliments to the chef..



  25. The effect that it has on ants is REAL! The stalk does grow and burst. It would be scary if it happened to us humans.
    @Lilly. I have seen Firewalker and it’s a good episode that includes this concept.

  26. This is currently my favorite pasta on the site, and it really freaked me out when I read it for the first time. Even though it’s impossible, it’s still a really good pasta. *o*

  27. ….my friend was talking about the ants and the fungus earlier this week….OH MY was he reading creepy pasta on the interwebs??? But wait he has no interwebs???

    Logic just died

  28. The only reason that specific fungi can infect ants is because it has had a very long time (+1 Million years) to evolve alongside the ants. It is imposable for it to jump between two species of animal life which are so different, there are two completely different sets of biological processes going on in humans and ants which make it so that the fungi can not infect humans. That just kind of ruined the story for me. :(

  29. A mushroom walks into a bar. The bartender says, “We don’t serve your kind here!” The mushroom responds, “Hey, c’mon, I’m a fungi!” The bartender’s head explodes.

    ~ Fin ~

  30. I’d be getting a headache as we speak if I wasn’t aware of the fact that cordyceps can’t afflict humans unless we literally bathe in a pool of the bacteria. Our immune systems are way too strong to be effected by some air-born spores that take more than 5 seconds to kill an ant. Still good pasta tho :D.

  31. Reminds me of two of the volumes of Uzumaki, the one where the umbilical cord one (with the babies making mushrooms out of their stomachs) and theeeeeeee errrr, one of the other ones around that chapter.

  32. I won’t lie. This one actually freaked me out a bit. Especially because Cordyceps is a real thing. Talk about a mind fuck.

    Freaky ass plants…

  33. I like the people who are amazed to learn the first two paragraphs are true. Even moreso the one who thought .Hack came up with the word :p

    There are millions of parasitic fungi and animals in nature like the cordyceps, as well as far weirder. Check out Leucochloridium or Sacculina. Actually, I write about both (and other parasites) on my website (linked)

  34. People should think of it like this: What if it changed to where it could attack any mammal?
    What if, back then, there was such a thing but it died out, and a group of archeologists discover a tomb where they, unknowingly, release the fungus into general public? Imagine it…
    Sorry, deep thinker…

  35. …. How easily do you think it would spread to North Chicago? <..> ‘Caaaause if it can travel that fast… can anyone give me a lift outta here? XDD

    I enjoyed it very much. I read about the virus, but I thought it couldn’t effect humans or anything else except it’s own species [depending on the infected]? Hmm..

  36. It was a good story, not nightmare material though.
    We just learned about a typre of parasite that takes over ants and, makes them attach themselves to the tips of grass blades. You dont really want to know the rest of the process though ^^;
    @2, 7 &, 8
    Why does it have to be written? If its from her (or his i forget ^^; hehe) perspective it doesn’t have to be written. Sort’ve like a book in first person.
    Sorry i just dont beleive it has to be taken as -SHE- wrote it. Or anyone else in the story because it’s made up. I mean this -is- a made-up story… Right?

    ~Peace ‘n Love

  37. I find it ironic that people on a creepypasta website are complaining about a ‘lack of realism’. I mean, like anything on this website is actually real. The Cordyceps is a good starting point because it is an actual fungus that has thousands of subtypes, each that attacks a certain type of insect. The ‘scary’ of this story comes from the implication that cordyceps has clearly jumped the species from whatever it was to humans (which wouldn’t be very hard,as, from what I rmeember, the cordyceps mostly attacks at/around the spinal column, where there are few anti-bodies). honestly guys.

  38. Also, I just randomly noticed this, look how many times he says “up”. The frequency increases as the story nears it’s end.

  39. knowing that these tings actually exist makes it WORSE.

    their might be a species of cordyceps out there that can affect humans, only they havent come across it yet.

  40. Actually, I got the impression that the thing that infected the main chaaracter was a different species to the ant-cordycep? I thought he was just likening it to something more familiar :p

  41. @21: There actually is a species of cordyceps that does exactly as described in the ant analogy. It’s called Cordyceps unilateralis.

    Naturally though, it doesn’t attack humans.

  42. Cordyceps rock. I saw that video a while back, and yeah. This pasta was not diminished in creepyness by me knowing that its real. If anything, I read it, got to the first few lines, and went, “Oh shit… thats a scary thought.”

  43. Some Cordyceps species are able to affect the behavior of their insect host; Cordyceps unilateralis for instance causes ants to climb a plant and attach there before they die, assuring maximal distribution of the spores from the fruiting body that sprouts out of the dead insect’s body.

  44. OH HAI.


    Some mushrooms in one of the books…They grow inside of you, but…They don’t burst out the bottom of your skull, they just asphyxiate you.

  45. One thing’s for sure though. Madagascar sure as hell wouldn’t have to worry about cordyceps infected people entering the country.

  46. “I mention this because last night, when I was up on the roof of my apartment complex, I found my brother’s body.”

    I would have liked it better if it had ended at this line.

  47. Actually, there are several types of fungus that are already capable of colonizing human beings. Some are quite commonplace (such as athlete’s foot, for instance). Aspergillus can take root and grow in your lungs, and requires surgery to remove…

  48. This was a well written pasta and I like the concept but the first thing I did after reading the shorter version was to google cordyceps.

    Like Random Passerby says, it loses its effect when you know about it. It totally relies on the hype effect of finding out it’s real but not having all the information… Kind of like most news stations these days :O

  49. Watch the video from post 19; specifically, 1:55 to 2:16.

    And considering 3:02-3:10, how long until a human-targeting Cordyceps comes around? We are rather numerous…

  50. >.<

    First creepypasta-nightmare I have, and it’s about cordyceps? That’s disappointing.

    Obviously shows that the ‘pasta’s effective, though.

  51. Wow, great pasta. Detail is fantastic. I also love how it’s based on a real thing, even though I agree with Miss Betterdone that the name cordyceps sounds ridiculous.

  52. I don’t think the computer could have been a loophole, as it is implied when they think of their office building, the “highest place they know”, that the fungus is controlling them at a primitive level, while they provide the real thought. Also, the reason the brother could leave, while he couldn’t leave the apartment, is the same reason the ant could move to the top of the plant. I imagine the fungus would need time to incubate before using the host to infect others and continue the species.

  53. mmm, if u ask me the last sentence ruined it.
    it was ok i guess, if i hadn’t known about the fungus before maybe i would have been spooked [i like animal planet]
    the description was very well done though i must say, but left me feeling nothing. i didn’t much care for the main character.
    good try though.

  54. The story about the ant and the parasitic fungus was actually the inspiration for an episode of The X-Files. I think the episode is called Firewalker if anyone wants to check it out.

  55. I really like this one, the end was excellent.

    As for all the questions about the narrator being able to type on the computer – maybe it was a loophole? I got the feeling that the fungus was stopping him from using the phone or leaving and getting help.

  56. This one would have scared me shitless, if I didn’t know what a Cordyceps really is. Yes, it indeed exists. But it doesn’t do anything like describe in the story, as far as I know.

    In fact, one species, Cordyceps synensis, or Chinese Caterpillar Fungus, which uses vegetable catarpillars as hosts, is used for medical purposes. It’s been used since ancient China in rejuvination treatments, to treat conditions such as impotence and fatigure, as well as increase fertility, bolster the immune system, and, especially in older men, revitalize the mind and body. Cordyceps also shows promise a treatment for Hepatitis B, malaria, and exposure to certain toxins. It also shows promise as a stress reliever, and pomotes heart and lung health.

    In fact, there is absolutely no known lethal dose of this stuff. In fact, I’d be much more worried about being allergic to the stuff than anything like in this pasta happening in real life. At most, you can expect a dry mouth, upset stomach, and nausea when taking cordyceps tablets.

    I’m rambling, aren’t I? Knowledge of Cordyceps aside, this pasta was worth a read. Not an awfully original concept, but well-executed.

  57. Maybe cordydeps don’t recognize computers as a threat…they’ve been around a long time, but mostly in poorer regions and lower creatures (like ants, apparently), so they probably would have had time to develop an understanding of phones meaning a call for help…but computers are probably not old enough to be ingrained in the natural danger processes of the cordyceps yet. I imagine he could havw written, too, and gotten away with it.

  58. …cordyceps?

    For some reason, I really can’t take this one seriously.

    …it could be because the entire time I was reading it, I kept thinking, “He’s being eaten from the insides by Grunty food.”

    -shameless dot hack fangirl-

  59. This was the one that gave me an appetite for pasta. I saw it on /x/ earlier this week, and now I’m hooked. Thanks for posting it.

  60. The person formerly known as 'Noneya'


    Too bad that fungus s only capable f growing on the outside of a human.

    Im not sure about other animals, but humans had all sorts of acids and antibodies that kill fungus if its on the inside. The funguses on the outside we can kill off with Gold Bond Atheletes Foot creme, or and expensive antifungal medication.

  61. this one is based off of an older creepypasta, but it only described what the fungus does,(with the ant example). this one is much better, but yea if he couldnt use the phone or leave, why could he warn everyone else on computer?

  62. impossible. i don’t like it that much. she’s saying how there’s no strength to lift up the phone but yet, she can type or write this whole thing out. and get the strength to go all the way to her apartment building.

      1. レモングラッブ (Lemongrab)

        The reader is never informed of the narrator’s gender, but I imagined her/him as female too. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl?

  63. that is a scary thought O_o it kinda reminds me of that movie the ruins a little.
    one thing i’m wondering is if he couldn’t even leave his house than how was his brother able to drive over?

    1. Lol I’m getting here too late
      The parasite makes you go to the tallest place you can think of. It’s pretty clearly stated that it’s really smart, and only stopped the victim when it was about to get help. Basically, the brother of the protagonist couldn’t think of a taller place to go than the protagonist’s house, which is why he can go.

  64. I live in Mississippi, so I think I’m safe, as long as it doesn’t get on the trains. The train from Chicago is a straight shot to where I live.


    *phew* Thank goodness I live in Australia :P

    One kinda nagging thought annoyed me. He was unable to call someone for help on the phone… but he had enough time to write this on his computer, and send it to somebody? Logix = Whaaa?

    1. Doctor CreepyStein

      If you can write from the dead, you can write like that lol CREEPYPASTA LOGIC, and Cordyceps is the fungus

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