Friday, July 30, 2010
They Can't Kill Us All
By Nomar Knight
You can't live life without taking risks. In my world, something routine like getting food, can be lethal. Only the strong survive and size does matter.
I stand frozen, hiding in the shadows, aware of my misstep. A giant creature occupies the very territory I set out to explore. The others warned me not to venture off at daylight, but when I started my journey, darkness had concealed my presence.
I swear these creatures are gods. They possess gargantuan size, incredible strength, and somehow they make light appear at will. Illumination is my natural enemy. Our species survived for centuries because we lurk in the shadows.
The beast not only controls light, but also the elements. With one swift motion, the creature makes it rain. Not soft slow drops, but fast powerful pellets that when striking the surface, sound like the war drums of ancient tribes.
The creature succeeds in blinding me with light and pounding my senses with rain. Its slow psychological warfare awakens my survival instincts. I want nothing more than to cut and run, but from the tales I've been told by survivors, I must wait and hope for total invisibility.
Our deep hatred for each other's species began with their total disregard with our right to exist. While the creatures grow in abundance, we do what is necessary to procreate at a more accelerated rate. We believe that we have power in numbers.
Oh, oh! The vile creature is caressing itself.
It stands on what amounts to two enormous trees and its appendages, like thick branches, are attached to spider-like worms that seem to move apart from the rest of its body. What hideous rotten monsters!
Careful not to move, for the slightest motion on my part would spell instant death, I search my surroundings to no avail. The daylight blurs my vision. Fortunately, I can retrace my exact steps until I reach the comforting shadows. For now, time stands still and so must I.
The powerful rain bounces off the creature's hairy back and splashes on me, almost making me flinch.
Don't move! Don't move an inch!
Suddenly, as its appendages work in unison throughout its shell, a disgusting filmy substance escapes its pores. The creature, at first dark, is coated with the color we hate most--white. At least that much I can see.
As I pray for my survival, my thoughts become preoccupied. All I can think about is what drew me here. My mate left one night to find us food, but like so many others, never returned. His dangerous mission is our reality since we depend on them for nourishment. Putting my children's safety before my own, I began my journey only to find my life hanging in the balance.
The rain rinses away the disgusting white film leaving the creature shining like a majestic bronze statue. Its strange physique has an almost alluring quality about it.
Focus! It is the enemy. It wants you dead!
As sudden as the rain started, it stops. At least before, the creature could not hear me, but now, surrounded by an eerie silence, its senses heighten.
Run for it!
Courage is not a word my kind knows. The creature's overwhelming size causes my insides to constrict preventing me from losing my previous meal.
Wait! Damn it! Wait!
A boisterous boom wreaks havoc with my senses. Then, darkness encompasses me, giving me a sense of triumph. The shadows have always been my friend. I dash back from whence I came, allowing memory to guide me.
All of a sudden, a sharp slam, followed by blackness and intense pain crushes me. My insides splatter about, paralyzing me.
As I lie there helpless on the tiles, only my antennae moving slowly, I cry for my babies, my precious offspring.
"Yuck! Disgusting Cockroaches!"
The ominous shadow returns over me and I laugh. My last thoughts, these creatures, these humans, they can't kill us all. What do they call it? Oh yes, the human holds what they call a sandal. I call it a building.
You may kill me, but you're too late. My babies will have babies and they'll have others and no matter how hard you try to erase us, you can't because we're resilient. In the end, we will win.
Previously published in August 2009 issue- Suspense Magazine.