Saturday, February 2, 2008

Stung

Like a dart, it hit me in the neck and stuck.

I couldn’t see what it was, but my hand immediately reacted to its landing on my skin, where it clung and I could feel it squirming, grasping me dearly and not letting go. It buzzed slightly.

It terrified me in a xenophobic way; the unknown had me and wasn’t letting go.

I expected to be stung because I’d only had such sudden encounters with bees before, but that’s not what happened.

My neck tensed and I was almost afraid to resist with any more strength. What scared me the most was perhaps that I didn’t know what it was doing. It wasn’t leaving, not biting, I couldn’t feel anything but the slow electric hum of its busy, invisible activity and the fierce grasp of its legs.

It didn’t feel like something alive, it was cold—or ambient temperature, just surprisingly without warmth of its own. That must have been normal for insects, but it was another part of the bothersome encounter for me.

I finally steeled myself to try and pull it off. What was it about something surprising or suddenly painful that could make people so reluctant to resist it? Even when the best action might be an immediate removal of the infliction.

I pulled on it. It hurt.

Like an electric sting, like a bee with the impact of a meteor, launched into my neck.

I staggered and had to steady myself against a tree.

Now, I hazedly thought, I can tell it’s doing something to me, something I can’t feel. It’s like inspiration, I mused in my odd emerging state of mind. You don’t see it coming, you can’t see how it works, but it gets you just the same. Gets you and changes you, makes you do something you didn’t want to do before. Maybe you wouldn’t have been against it, but now it compels you, it consumes you.

Consuming, that’s what it was doing. It was eating me away for its own purpose, it was a merciless thing. Merciless muses, but they were the fates and they were the furies, and none could truly be free from their clutches.

Nor would most choose to be free of them, like choosing lobotomy over thought.

This thing I my neck, though, I would never have chosen.

My attempt at meddling must have aroused it to anesthetize me, because now it was feeling foggier, my sensations of both, the thing and of the tree I had leaned against.

And my thoughts were becoming more distant, less attached to what was going on. I was in danger, I realized; something terrible was happening to me and I couldn’t prevent it. Could I?

I touched the thing again, in fact my hand hadn’t left it though my mind had. It was as much leg as it was body, not too long…a generic insect shape. The sort of shape you might make from a vague description of a wasp or a beetle.

It reacted to my touch by hunkering down slightly, securing its position.

Yet it seemed to become farther away, my attention to it waning with my ability to stand.

I collapsed to my knees and barely felt it, barely kept from falling over completely.

The tree’s bark was smooth, I realized, the grass beside the path was green, a swimming vision of new colors, blurred by an endorphic haze and shaking like an artificial horizon, swaying back and forth with each movement of the plane.

I felt like I was flying, like my feet had left the ground and now I could levitate elsewhere, into a higher plane of existence maybe.

That’s where I was going, I must have achieved enlightenment somehow, accidentally stumbled upon a door to another world. Goodbye, world, I thought.

Something bit me, I realized.

Now I could remember, it was that insect. The bug of ascension, it would take me to a better place. It already had, and I could feel its busy little surprise work continuing.

I saw a vision of a clear blue sea, populated by great mounds of white, must have been ice, floating in a Caribbean color. I noticed, too, that I was lying on my back now, it must have been the sky I was seeing, it was above me.

And as I swam in that drug-like state f mind, I thought I remembered that my life was in danger. But that had been my past life, that had been a different me.

Now I could relax; I could let go. There would no longer be any trouble for me, no cares to weigh me down.

I took solace in that thought; I had been saved from all of that by a little bug, a creature of inspiration had seized me and helped me—but what was it doing now? I loved this strange creature perched upon my neck, and now I realized with a certain sadness that it was gone, it was no longer there, just a warm stickiness, a small wound…

My attention wandered again, I looked up at the great blue ocean overhead and my eyes were suddenly heavy, the weight of the sky, the size of the ocean pressing upon them.

They slowly blinked shut for longer periods of time, until they did not open again.

Bliss came to me then as my thoughtless mind went to sleep.

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