November 6, 2015 § 1 Comment
Crack! I heard the sound of the stapler go off in the distance, signaling that my time was nearly up.
Just a minute to go, I thought to myself. But time was moving slower. Or maybe my heart just raced faster.
I looked around the edge of the box of paperclips that I was hiding behind and saw the massive assassin bug moving my way. Well…it wasn’t massive, but it was massive relative to my current size. Not that it made much of a difference; its proboscis seemed to quiver menacingly, waiting to explode once it was in range. If the sharp, hooked end didn’t impale me, the sheer speed of the blow would send me flying and likely lead to my demise.
Why did I have to pick the worst bug?
I ducked back behind the container and dashed in the opposite direction of the bug. On the other side of the container I emerged into a small clearing, a dead end. I could see the set of books that I’d taken out of my bag to form a wall on one side. To my left and to my right were the boxes that I had placed in order to contain the bug. I turned to find the assassin bug approaching rapidly. I was trapped.
I made the only choice I could, and ran straight at it.
My trip to Room 0032 started off like any other. I went into Stevenson’s basement per The Professor’s emailed instructions and found the room with relative ease. I knocked on the door and was greeted by a friendly Professor Bronson. She said that she was a bug researcher and that I was to take part in a very important study. I should have known something was off; nothing is ever so simple in Stevenson.
She told me to select an insect from her holding pens. I browsed the various beetles and cockroaches and ants. My gaze stopped wandering when I noticed the assassin bug, my longtime favorite, thanks to its excellent camouflage and the dangerous proboscis it used to stab unsuspecting prey and potential predators.
After selecting it, she released it onto the ground and told me to figure out a way to trap it. I opened my backpack and used books and some nearby boxes of office supplies to build a small boundary with relative ease.
Just before completion, I peered over my shoulder just in time to see her dump all of the contents of my backpack onto me, laugh, and then press a button on a remote I hadn’t seen her holding when I walked in. Less than a second later, I was shrinking, helpless to do anything except ask her, “Why?”
I heard her voice as if it was projecting from a loud speaker. She explained that I was now part of the experiment, and that I had to survive an onslaught from my bug. When I had a minute left of survival time, she would click a stapler in my vicinity to let me know.
I thought that staying in my location would be safest, but something was driving the assassin bug directly towards my location. Within a thirty seconds, the beast crawled over the top of the pencil I had been using as cover, and I rolled away quickly, barely keeping its deadly stab from penetrating my shoulder. At least that gave me an idea of how fast it struck.
I spent most of my time running and hiding. Despite its faster movement capabilities, my assailant couldn’t change direction or maneuver as well. Up until I reached my makeshift pen from just a few minutes before, I was skirting by with only some difficulty.
I guess that brings me back to the first part of my story.
I charged the assassin bug, sliding at the last moment to move right under its body. I saw the proboscis strike and knew that it missed. I was safe, if only for a moment.
Just then, I felt the world shake. No, it wasn’t the world shaking, it was me shaking. I was growing!
I exploded upwards, feeling my limbs push the books and school supplies that surrounded me out of my way. A second later, I was full sized, staring at a room filling up with research assistants and scientists. There seemed to be a good bit of laughing going on.
Suddenly, I felt something crawling on my arm. I looked down and saw the assassin bug. Before I could act to push it off, it stabbed me, sending me immediately to my feet in shock and pain. It fell off and scurried away.
The room exploded into laughter, and I immediately tried to regain composure. The Professor walked up behind me and patted me on the back, still giggling in self-satisfaction.
I shot him a dirty looked and asked, “What was that for?”
He cracked another big smile and replied, “That, my boy, was just for fun.”