Author : Townsend Wright

They came when I was young. Crash landed, really. Science said it was a great discovery, but they couldn’t live in our air. But they could do something to their own DNA, made their offspring suited to earth. Big bug things, we started calling them figits. They latched to our buildings and scampered through our streets. We used bullets but they just adapted again, gave their young a hard shell. So we used fire. Fire retardant shells. Gas. Learned to breathe it. Chainsaw. Repair cuts in themselves. We ended up switching methods every so often just to keep them dying.

One day I’m walking with my young son and stop in a crowd to watch a figit extermination. It’s fire month. Ugly-ass thing, big as a car, latched to an office building, squirming, screeching in the flames. My boy looks up at me.

“Daddy,” he says, “what did the figits ever do to us that made us want to kill ’em so bad?” I looked down at him. So did the folks next to us, and behind us, and in front of us. Whispers spread his question through the crowd and all conversation stops. One by one all heads turned his way, even the exterminators stopped to look and the figit’s screaming stopped. In the dead silence my boy still looks to me.

Nobody has an answer.


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