Flash Fiction Story 004: "Just A Bug"

It was revolting, to begin with.

It had improbable legs that allowed it to imitate the act of movement as I previously understood it.

It’s eyes—vacant and dead though they were—hinted at the possibility of a soul within its tiny frame.

Something—that thing might have been me—had injured it. A goodly amount of red trickled out of its tiny frame, and the ground had turned a faint pink as it absorbed the discharge.

Also, it was screaming.

All these observations occurred to me in a flash, and I leapt away. The idea that such a creature could exist filled me with a dread I couldn’t possibly explain in that moment. It couldn’t reason or become my friend. It wasn’t even aware that it was my enemy. It just ate, and bred, and killed, and then (I hoped) eventually died.

Mother approached to see what was wrong. When she saw the source of my terror, her face tightened in an effort to muster patience with me. She knew I hated the damned things.

“Oh, my boy,” she said. “You’re nearly grown and should have no reason to be afraid of such a tiny, insignificant thing. Even when you were a newborn, you were like a God to this thing.”

The screaming was too much. I raised to cover my ears. “Mother, why is it making that noise?!”

Mother approached the creature. “It doesn’t understand what is going on, son.”

“And that doesn’t frighten you?” I asked her. “What if its friends came to defend it? What if they all got together, and without the ability to think or feel or have a soul, they decided I needed to die! What if—”

Mother approached the creature, and the screaming stopped for a moment. It then started up again, even more harsh than when I first came upon it. Mother crushed the thing with her hand. Beyond a cracking splat, it made no more sound. The area around where it once stood turned a darker shade of red as Mother smeared its remains on the ground.

“They’re merely humans, son. They’re far more afraid of you then you are of them.” She wiped the last remnants away from her tentacle and turned to the village beyond. “Come now, we have quite a bit of work to do.”

I swallowed my fear and followed behind her. I could be brave, if only they wouldn’t scream.

Art by Eris O'Reilly

Art by Eris O'Reilly