A Head Louse’s Perspective by Katherine M Waters

Thousands of tiny legs shifted, teetering on oversized claws. Moving quickly through the pink floored forest they scuttled towards their leader.

She stood in a clearing, proud on her hind legs. Her large translucent diamond shaped body, a testament to her age and authority.

She paused a little; then folding her large claws across her chest, uplifted her closed eyes, and offered a prayer so deeply devout that she seemed kneeling and praying at the bottom of the sea.

This ended, in prolonged solemn tones.

“Beloved kinsmen, remember the story of Hexapodicus passed down to us, through our foremothers? ‘And the Gods had prepared a great dragon to swallow up Hexapodicus, for he was sinful and cared only for his own life, not the lives of others and the continuation of his like.

Surveying the crowd, she lifted her forearms to the sky. “The tempest will soon be upon us, get into formations, hold the line, let not a single one be lost in the flood”. She paused “this we can do, if the wall remains intact we survive but if the gods send the great jawed dragon we are all in danger. Be not like Hexapodicus thinking of himself but think of the children. If the abhorrent teeth comes we must move them from the feeding grounds and into the two great caves for safety.”

She dropped and fell away from herself for a moment; then lifting her face to them again, showed a deep joy in her eyes, as she cried out with a heavenly enthusiasm, — “But oh! kinsmen! Delight is to her whose strong legs support her and others, when the ship of this base treacherous world has gone down beneath her.

She said no more, but slowly waving a benediction, covered her face with her claws, and so remained kneeling, till all the beasts had departed for preparations, and she was left alone in the place.

The tempest came, giant waves of foam and rocks beat down upon them and they held the line, the forest rocked with the power of the storm and still they held, the thunderous screams of a thousand seabirds vibrated through their bodies and still they held. And then it was over, not a single one lost.

“Do you see him?” The cry came up from the leader “Do you see him?”

All stood still

“Save the children!” A thousand legs ran to the feeding grounds as the giant metal teeth swept through the forest. Screaming with the voice of the ancients the leader threw herself onto the jaws, trying to stop the carnage.

The monster was gone.

Carrying the eggs to the safety of the caves, the lice worked quickly and efficiently, all were saved.

Looking back into the forest the beasts saw the teeth rake the ground again, “Look it’s her, there’s the old leader”. Caught in the teeth, barely alive, she waved them to stay hidden.

The hot air blew, drying out the rivers, then the night came.

The new leader gathered the females around her, “get to work, we have eggs to lay and children to tend to”.


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