Monday, November 30, 2015

28 Xmas Stories, 3:

Bug God’s First Gift To Her People, 1

As darkness fell, Bug God happened to look up at the sky.

This was the first time, and the last, that the sun would set for her. It was the first and last time she would see stars winking into existence one by one by one by millions.

It also happened to be December 24, but that date held no special significance for any bug.

“Vizier,” Bug God said, “What are those?”

Her vizier ticktacked over to where she sat on the edge of a leaf at the very top of her realm, staring upwards with all her eyes.

“What are what, Bug God?” the vizier asked.

“Those,” Bug God said, indicating with her antennae the sky in general and then pointing at one after one after another of the stars.

The vizier looked.

“They are stars, Bug God.”

Stars,” Bug God said quietly. “Stars.” Bug God thought them beautiful. She could not stop staring, as more and more of the stars came out. Each time she thought the sky was too full of them, that there could not possibly be any more, she would notice another, another ANOTHER.

Stars,” Bug God said again.

“Yes, Bug God. Will that be all?” The vizier did not like being out after dark. Bats. Owls. It thought: Nothing good out here in the dark.

“Wait, vizier. What are they, though? What do they do? Where do they come from? Are they hot? Cold? Solid? Flames?”

The vizier said “I do not know, Bug God.”

“You do not know? But you have been alive for so long, and served so many of my predecessors.”

“True, Bug God, but the question has never come up before.”



“No Bug God before me ever wondered about what the stars were, why they were, how they were?”

The vizier paused only a moment before he said: “No bug has ever wondered that, Bug God – neither Bug God nor bug … wonders.”

Bug God almost looked away from the stars then, she was so surprised. Though she could not tear her gaze off the raptures of the heavens but the rapid wavery flits of her antennae showed her confusion. 

“No bug wonders?”

“No, Bug God,” the vizier said. “No, they do not.”

Bug God only briefly mourned that she had so little time to get to know not only herself, but her world, and her people. Life was too short for mourning, especially her life: 24 hours. That was it. No time to dwell on the lack of time. But she had greater trouble letting go of this new fact about the beings she was currently 100% responsible for: that they did not wonder. All day long, she had been wondering about this, and that, and the other thing. She had asked, all day, what something was, learning about fruit and spiders and the sun and water and tree and wind. Her attention had darted around like… well, like a bug. She felt as though the time had been well-spent. She felt like it had made her… more.

“Don’t they… don’t they…” Bug God, for all her power, could not formulate the question. She kept staring at the stars, trying to put her concerns into words.

Finally she had it: “Don’t they know what they’re missing out on?”

“Perhaps,” the vizier said, “They are not missing out on anything.”

“Explain that, vizier.”

“Bugs have always existed, Bug God. We have been here since before the flood, before the war of gods, since the world was cool enough for anything to live. We are numerous and timeless, and we survive, generation upon generation. We have always thrived, and never wondered.” The vizier paused, for effect, then said:

“Perhaps the lack of the latter leads to the former.”

Bug God considered this, still looking up at the stars. “So I am the first, the first to wonder?” she asked.

“Yes,” the vizier said. It was his job to know things, to teach Bug God.

Bug God waved her antennae.

Stars,” she said again. She stared up at them, wondering how many Bug Gods had come and gone before her, each given their day, each presiding over subjects who never wondered, who never marveled, who never asked questions.  She stared at the stars, so bright that they must be hot, but caught in the cold of the dark sky, so numerous it seemed they must crowd her out but so far away they were impossible, so beautiful that she must have them, so remote that she never could. She thought about her subjects, so incurious as to never ask how come, to never ask why, to never want to know.

It is the job of any god, even a Bug God, to leave her mark on her subjects. Most gods never do this, and that is why they are not remembered. Bug God knew then what she had to do.

“Goodbye, vizier,” she said, and before the other bug could react, she flapped her wings with all her godly might and flew straight up into the sky. 


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