I shook them out of the bush as best I could, with the admission that I was humbly intimidated by the brightness of their ruby bodies, the yellow specks and their very long, black legs. My intimidation was likely instinctive: bugs bite and bright ones are often poisonous. My respect, though, was my own, for never has destruction been my first instinct upon seeing insects and spiders. I found them beautiful, fascinating, and to be intimidated by them was the greatest compliment I could give them. But the shrub had to go, the plant frozen to death in the unusually cold week prior, and so I shook the dozen bright red bodies from the dead limbs of their home. Just like humans would one day, the bugs had outlived their tiny world.
Cutting the shrub off at its roots and turning it over, I had left it mostly whole. And now, having shaken it nearly to the point of destroying it, seeing the beautiful, large, long red insects scramble confused into the brown-green grass, I lifted the shrub over the garbage bin and watch its sharp limbs poke into the black trash bag. I let the shrub fall into the bin. I pushed it down and listened to the crunch of dead twigs.
I thought about the one stubborn bug I had almost certainly failed to shake from the bush. Its strong, many-joined limbs would be wrapped around some deep branch that had fallen below my notice, below my attention, below my concern. While I respected them enough to shake most of them from the shrub, I certainly wasn't going to go fishing into it to make sure I'd gotten every one. The limits of my mercy were drawn by convenience. So this old bug, perhaps one, perhaps with a companion or two -- I could only guess -- simply clung fast with no notion at all as to why it should have let go. And why it was too late now.
And I pushed down on the shrub. The branches cracked and broke and compressed, closing around it, the light fading as the shrub sank deeper. The brittle edges of the bug's world strained against the unyielding walls of the bin, black like glistening shadows. Panic and confusion would overcome the bug as its world fell into darkness, inexplicably, suddenly. Perhaps it thought to itself, "We cannot surrender even an inch. This is our home. God help me, where is my family?" as I crushed the shrub, as I pulled the garbage bag around its world and tied it shut, and set it all off to the side as though unimportant.
Sweet, I love it when blogs post short stories. I also enjoy the speculative fiction, because isn't all fiction speculative?ReplyDelete
I guess it is! Even when I write something that isn't scifi or fantasy, it still feels speculative to me. :)Delete