Dead on the rug

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A kid explores death when he finds a dead bug on the floor.

Submitted: September 17, 2007

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Submitted: September 17, 2007

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Dead on the rug.

I had glanced down to see what crunched under my feet when I saw it there.  It was lying there, dead on the rug: a cockroach.  Most people would have been repulsed by such a thing, but not me.  I hear all the time that bugs don't have a soul, but I don't believe that.  Or at least I'm not sure if I believe it or not.  I just stared at it for a moment and then I started to cry.  There wasn't no blood or anything like that, it just looked so pitiful; you know, all shattered and kind of out of shape.  After a while it sort of looked like the bug belonged there on that rug.  It was like it had become a part of its design and I wondered if it had always been there on the rug like that, and I just never noticed it before.  But then I remembered that crunch, and the way its legs shriveled up into its body right after I stepped on it and knew that it hadn't.

I went into the kitchen for a paper towel to clean it up with.  When I got back to the rug I couldn't pick it up.  Not because I was afraid or grossed out or anything, I just got to thinking.  What if its family comes looking for it and can't find it?  What if its family wanted to have a funeral for it but can't because I've already thrown the body away?  If someone in my family was to get stepped on and whoever stepped on him threw him away without telling anybody, I'd be kind of upset.  So I crawled along the floor, trying to see if I could find any other cockroaches looking for the one I'd stepped on.

Then, something else occurred to me.  What if it makes the others sad to see their friend all squished.  I remember this time, not too long ago, I saw this guy get run over.  His head wasn't in its right shape anymore, and you could see all of the stuff that's supposed to be on his inside on the outside.  He was crossing the street with his kids, and had bent down to pick up his wallet on the street when the car hit him.  No one was there to hold his kids back, so they tried to run over to him but one of them slipped in some blood.  They were hysterical.  I don't think no one should see somebody they love in that shape.

So, I decided to pick the bug up and burry it outside.  I thought about leaving a note for its family but I couldn't find anything to write one with so I didn't.  On my way outside I started thinking about where it was going.  I wondered if it was doing anything important like gathering food for its family or if it was just out walking around; you know, taking in the sights and all.  Wouldn't it be neat to see the world like a little bug sees it?  Everything would seem so big and you'd seem so small and insignificant.  I wonder if bugs ever wonder what it'd be like to be people sized.  Or maybe they just like being small so much that it'd never crossed there minds.  Or maybe they're afraid of heights.

It worried me a little bit that maybe its family could starve without any food; you know, if that's where it was headed and all.  I thought about leaving some bread crumbs around for them to find but then I figured it would just get vacuumed up before they could find it so I decided not to.  I dug a little hole a few inches deep with my hands and put the bug in, napkin and all.  After I covered the hole back up it made me sad that no one was around to say anything so I said a few words: "I'm sorry I stepped on you."  What else was I going to say?  After I washed the dirt off from my hands I went back to where the bug was.  Now, the rug looked funny without the bug there.  I guess I got used to seeing it there.  Like I said, there was no blood or anything to clean up, so that made it easier.  Not like when I saw that man get hit in the street.  There was lots of blood then.

Cody Hobbs  05-05-2006


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