There’s a blade of grass. It’s rooted into the ground. It’s leaves are being devoured by an insect barely the size of a drop of rain. The air is searing from all directions. The sun, the ground, and everything else radiates or reflects an impatient heat. The rocks of the suburban lawn that the grass belongs to are being kicked up by a neurotic house cat. The cat hasn’t killed anything for ages, and was suffering from unreleased hunting energies. The insect doesn’t know it, but the pearl of consciousness formed by it’s 100,000 neurons will soon be screaming in pain. A small rock will hit the exoskeleton of the bug, and for a single moment, the armor honed by billions of years of evolution will hold. Then it will collapse in on itself.
The bug’s life will end less than an hour after an excruciating spike of awareness where the bug is catapulted out of any sense of time into a blended future and past where it sees it’s ancestry and the path it’s own genetic line will take. The bug had reproduced a few days back to achieve immortality from it’s death. And achieve immortality it will. The bug’s genes would become dominant in it’s insect species due to a single letter change of DNA. An insidious error would be caused by that letter… a bug, some would say. It would let the insect species duplicate as fire does on a haystack doused in petroleum. It would threaten agriculture and eventually all land species to near extinction. The species would revel in it’s slow destruction and conquest of an entire planet. Then it’s fuel would run dry. The biomass of the dying and hungry species would reach a point so high that it would layer continents with lifeless insect bodies. As the bug’s vision ends, it will only feel a single thing. Terror. A terror that overrides pain.
The bug can’t let this happen. It will realize there may be a way to stop this. In it’s pain-heightened awareness, it manages the strength to move to it’s near-broken legs. The bug manages to beat it’s bent wings. It will do it again. Then again. Again and again until it will be airborne for the last time. In it’s final and most heroic voyage, the bug will catch the attention of the neurotic cat. The feline will follow the bug to a small nest of the insect’s kind near the porch of the house. There will ensue a frenzied killing of the bug’s species where the cat’s instinctual hunting energies will be soothed. In the jihad of invertebrates will be all the offspring of the bug. The bug, filled with the relief of saving countless lives and species, will then resign itself to death. It’s dead body will lay on the driveway of a small house in unending suburbs. No living being will ever know of the selfless act committed by something barely the size of a drop of rain and with not much more intelligence. A week later, a gray pickup truck will crush the hero’s body flat.
But for now, the bug only thinks of how the grass it’s eating probably isn’t that grass but probably the other grass.
2021/06/09 by Ishaan Koratkar