Sunday, June 5, 2011

Part 1: Out of the Womb

By Robert Langellier

Yo read this real quick.

I emerge. First in my wings I feel the motion of air for the first time. Then my legs adjust to the new freedom of their surroundings: they walk, for the first time. They are old and brittle, and I cannot use them well. My pace is like molasses, and I limp along awkwardly.

Then my beady red eyes start to focus. I vaguely remember light, from when I was a nymph, but very little comes back to me. I begin to see, finally, for the second time in my life. The eyes are weak, for thirteen years of darkness has kept their development at bay.

I have risen out of instinct, as my father and many generations of fathers have done before me. This new world is one of splendor and of wealth and of vast infinites I never dreamed of in the black. There are colors and movements and feelings, other creatures, endless greens, and millions of things I cannot even describe. All around me they encircle and swirl into one great mass.

It is terrifying to enter this new world. I am fearful and afraid. After over a decade of stillness, I realize I don’t even understand my own body, much less the world around me. I have no sense of how to function, so I trust my instincts. I move along with trepidation, although despite my towering fears I am awed by the beauty all around me.

It is vast and brilliant, but I know this new great world has welcomed me with a death warrant. For me, this divine landscape is the end of the world. I am aging, and I am going to die very soon. I do have passion still in me, and I will join my rising brothers in the fearful rush for a mate before the endtimes. Otherwise, my 13-year life underground will have been in vain.

I drag myself with my strong front legs up the bark of a tree. I find a lonely, comfortable spot about halfway up, and I start to push through my skin. I dig out of myself, bursting forth into the sensitive breeze. After many hours of work, I cling to the heights and try my best to focus in on the light from my old body, stuck next to me on the same bark. After a moment I leave the shell and begin my descent back to earth. I am truly new.

I spend an entire two suns trying to master my body. I never do, but soon I learn to understand it in some ways. Soon thousands of others rise after me, and soon it is millions, and then it is billions, and more and more billions, and on the twelfth sun we are everywhere, for now. I learn to revel.

My passion drives me to sing. I learn that I have a hypnotizing song. Under the early big sun I wait for my brothers to signal the chorus, and I join. I contract my ribs. Click. I dilate them. Click. And my song repeats and continues and carries forth into the females with its luring ancient pull.

Together with my brothers our song is enchanting and beautiful. A gorgeous, beckoning, deafening screech flows in waves through the daytime air until the big sun is gone and I am asleep.

Now I am on the hard concrete. I limp forward still, more confidently and smoothly than before. I have found no mate yet, and I am curious of what will happen to me. And I begin to question even the most fruitful of turnouts. I may find the sweetest of beady eyes, but it seems futile to continue onward upon impending death. I am going to die, and soon. There is no escape, I know, from all this. My fate in this heavenly world has been sealed, and I hate it, and I want nothing more but to yell out, only I have no throat. Only my body commands me to continue, and now it is stronger than I am. Suddenly I see a mammoth, pale-skinned creature, with giant but widely spaced hairs, each one almost as thick around as a pine needle. Instinctively I feel my wings begin to take flight, and I lunge forward at the colossal leg with all my strength, before bouncing off weakly and hitting the ground with a violent screech of my ribs. I wonder momentarily why I did that.

I take flight again, lurching forward randomly in the air, as I have very little control in the direction of my flight. I aim for the tall tree close to me, and upon arrival, I desperately try to cleave to any surface I can find. No use; my flying is far too turbulent. I see a branch and frantically try to grasp it, but as I fly toward it my head hits the trunk and I fall to the ground with another screech. My second attempt I find a leaf and settle upon it. I join my brothers in song.


  1. I absolutely consider cicadas to be hostile. This is probably because I was recently caught in the crossfire of a cicada throwing fight backstage at the Muni.