This is actually a flash fiction sorta thing, not really a short story. It was inspired by an ant that I accidentally squished in science. The story itself talks about a person's contemplation over a bug's death and his wavering conscience as the story progresses. Enjoy :)



The bug was fragile.

You were finishing your introduction. It was twelve o’ four; there were still thirty-two minutes left. The bell rung for C-lunch and you panicked. There was still plenty of time, but you panicked. You dotted the last period of that first paragraph, pressed on your pencil too hard, and panicked.

In fact, it was very fragile.

You held in a curse, grinded your teeth. You reached for a container on your table, took out a piece of lead, and put it in your pencil. You glanced at the timer on the projector; there were thirty-one minutes left. You exhaled slowly. You gripped your pencil and looked back at your paper, about to start on the first body paragraph. Paused. Halted. Two lines below your introduction, there was a small, black dot.

You saw it breathing. Moving. Living. Then, just a second later, it was dying.

What? You thought you felt something. Oh, you realized. It was a bug. You blinked. Twice. You cocked your head, confused. Why was there a bug in here? The thought of your final exam fled your mind. One. Two. The janitors must’ve slacked off, you concluded. Tsk.

There wasn’t even time for the blood to spurt.

You shook your head slightly, clearing your mind. You looked at the timer again. Twenty-nine minutes. You shook your head and tightened your grip. You pressed on the eraser of your pencil. You tried to start the body paragraph. Paused. Halted.

And then, on your thumb, there was a black smudge. On the white paper, nothing.

When you thought back about it on the way home, it was quite silly. To think that you actually wasted two minutes over a bug! Wait. You pondered for awhile, fingering your chin. In fact, was it not three? You laughed.


Huh? Your eyebrows squinted. Should you go wash your hands? You entertained the thought, but there were only twenty-eight minutes left. You had to hurry. You were a bit annoyed. Why did you choose to analyze dialogue anyways? There were only two, at most, in the excerpt. How stupid.


Your eyes widened. You had just noticed that your legs were shaking. How embarrassing. You looked away; saw the spot where the bug was. White. Clean. No smudges. You heaved a sigh of relief. What if your teacher takes off points because you dirtied the exam paper? You couldn’t bear the thought.

You didn’t mean to. You just tried to move the bug away because you had to finish your essay.

You struggled through the analysis. Practice makes perfect, you thought. You should’ve listened. You looked back at the excerpt and read it over. There were three pieces of dialogue, one more than you had thought. How nice.

You didn’t want the bug to die.

You finally finished the second paragraph. Twenty-three minutes. You had four more paragraphs to write. Three bodies and one conclusion. Maybe you should just combine two of the body paragraphs together, you thought. You frowned. What does dialogue have to do with choice details? You blamed yourself for not studying more carefully.

You just didn’t think that it’d be so fragile.

You shook your head. You started writing and pressed the lead too hard. Again. And again. You grinded your teeth. You just couldn’t focus on what to write. Your eyes turned. You cursed the bug.

You wiped your thumb on your jeans and brushed it a few times.

You rolled your head a bit, remembering your mother’s relaxed breathing when she practices yoga. You inhaled. Exhaled. You gathered your thoughts and started writing. Your ideas were flowing fluently. Yoga’s working pretty well, you thought, maybe you should try it out.

It wasn’t your fault. The bug was just too fragile.

You finished it. Satisfactory. There were fifteen minutes left. You thought about your next body paragraph and then the conclusion. You smiled slightly, feeling good. Piece of cake.

Well, it wasn’t like you’ll get caught.

You looked over the third paragraph that you had just finished. Much better. You rotated your wrist, cracked your knuckles a bit, and blinked twice. You pressed on the eraser of your pencil and started toward the conclusion.



Submitted: May 24, 2014

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