It was a cold day that Friday morning in Harringtown. The icy cold air was biting the ears of those who braved the unforgiving weather. It was one of those days when nothing seemed to be going right. Firstly, at 7. 30 I fell out of bed like a baby the first time it sleeps in its new bed. Then at 8 o’clock I spilt my cornflakes all over my uniform, at 8. 30 I realised I needed my P. E. kit for football practice. I felt so clumsy and useless, by 9 o’clock it went too far, this was no joke. I have no idea how this could have happened – this was a real mystery.
Maybe it was when we all went to the park, me, John and Mike and did something that was slightly out of the ordinary. Maybe it was my father and his strange experiments he’s performing at his work. It could be anything. It was like a movie. “No way”, I thought to myself, “this can’t be true”. I pinched myself once, I pinched myself twice. No, this wasn’t a dream, this had really happened…… Everything happened so suddenly, one minute I was an average teenager at an average school with an average life. Then the next minute I was… Well, I wasn’t.
My father who worked for the ministry of defence had been testing on all sorts of insects and animals to see the effect these chemical weapons had on them. I could understand my dad being subject to a weird chain of events. But why me? The other night me, John and Mike all went to the park, we went into the woods and we found a petrol can, we knew we shouldn’t but we gathered together some wood and looked for any paper we might have had in our pocket and started to make a fire. Mike smoked so he had a lighter with him, we lit the fire and poured petrol all over it.
We had no idea it would react so violently. At first it was exciting and exhilarating but after a while it was no fun, for some reason Mike came up with the strange but wonderful idea of burning bugs, me and John weren’t too keen and sat down but there was no holding back for Mike. He put as many bugs as he could find into the raging fire, any that crawled out went straight back in. After Mike got bored of that idea he turned to something else, ‘spit roast’, after piercing and skewering at least 5 insects he cooked them slowly over the rampant fire, then he ate them.
I could also understand Mike being subject to a weird chain of events. But once again why me? Why was it me that suffered the consequences for other people’s strange antics with bugs? Harringtown, in the centre of the Harrow District, used to be such a basic, simple town, now it was complicated and awkward. The small quaint town with the aging beamed library and the customary narrow streets all looked so different now that I am 1 inch long and have 6 legs.
The short, peaceful walk to school through the overhanging weeping willows, wading through the brown, orange and golden leaves that fall during autumn, then freeze in the harsh sub-zero temperatures that follow during the winter months, became more of a mission than a relaxing stroll in the picturesque scenery, not only did the weight of the leaves on my hard yet miniature back begin to take its toll but if any monstrous human beings happened to walk by my options were clear either stay on my toes, well ends of my legs, and try to avoid those clumsy feet that trample on poor insects just minding there own business, or I could take my chances curl up, as best as I can, under a leaf and hope for the best.
These walks for humans are straight forward and undemanding but for the small, defenceless creatures that are shield bugs, these walks can be gauntlets. As a small defenceless creature myself I was beginning to realise life is not so easy. My first day as a bug seemed to fly by, not because I was enjoying myself though. The whole day I was on the move, dodging, dashing and burying myself in the leaves, cracks and under the ground it was a tiring day but I managed to get through it in the end, just. To be honest I have preferred it to school anyway. It was getting late and the sun was beginning to set.
The sunset with the all the reds, oranges and even purples was striking, it was sensational it really was, even more spectacular than when your 5ft 10 and have everything in the world. When you’re an inch long you really learn to appreciate the small things in life, even after 1 day I had learned so much. I found a comfortable bed for the night under a pile of leaves and dirt, I never could have imagined the true potential of rubble, dirt and leaves, very snug indeed. It was quite worrying, my first night as a beetle, anything could have happened, I could have been eaten, I could have changed back to a human. Nevertheless I closed my eyes and dropped off to bed.
I woke the next morning and was feeling refreshed and ready to go, only I forgot I was a bug. It first hit me when I saw a tree it was the size of about 50 normal trees I thought to myself. Until I realised that it was me being small not the tree being big. I went for a morning stroll that only took me about 10 minutes but when you think that it was only to a tree 3 yards away and back it makes you think what a marathon a short stroll can be. As I was recovering from my trying experience a truck pulled up next to me and parked. I took this opportunity to hitch a ride downtown and see what’s going on. As we pulled up I realised this probably wasn’t the best idea, however I jumped off and looked around.
The town was bustling and the sun was beaming through the oaks and elms that bow over the main street. As the giants that were the general public crowded the engrossed streets of Harringtown centre, out for there Saturday morning shopping, there I was scrambling for survival. The feet of the shoppers trampled and stomped hastily. I crawled and struggled in and out of the colossal boots that crashed down to earth with tremendous force and imprecision. I looked up and saw the grooves and grip from the soul of a brilliant white adidas trainer hurtling to the ground from above me.
I was stuck in between the solid concrete floor and the huge force of a mere size 6 trainer from a human being millions of times bigger than me, “Great! I moved left then right, forward then back, trying to judge my positioning inside the grooves perfectly, if I didn’t… “Curtains! ” It came closer, nearer, I couldn’t pick a spot that satisfied me, I couldn’t stay still, my positioning had to be perfect. The trainer was like a meteorite from outer space plummeting to the earth’s surface at tremendous velocity and I was underneath it. I had less than a split second to react, I moved a few millimetres to the right, held my breath, and I was safe… “Phew! ” That was close and there were many experiences like it. I finally found a crack in the pavement to rest until my next encounter with the swarming, congested streets of Harringtown. I thought I was safe, but I was wrong.
A group of young school kids came and started poking and scraping at the crack I was relaxing in. This was all I needed after a close encounter with death. The kids were really starting to torment me and I was left with no choice but to make a dash for it. I knew my chances were slim but I was sure if I stayed they wouldn’t leave me alone and probably torture me. As I was running as fast as my little legs would carry me one of the boys brought the stick beneath me and flicked me over. I was lying on my back, my legs squirming, I was helpless. I looked up to catch a glimpse of who it was that was to end my life. No, it can’t be, I glanced away then looked back again. It was, the child was me.