The Lives of Insignificant Creatures

A caucus of centipedes presided over the divine matters of the day.

Jeremy Butler had passed away that morning following a rather horrific incident involving a turnstile that doesn’t bear repeating.

He now found himself face to face with a centipede at least 6ft tall, its upper legs tickling his skin as it felt his features. He stood frozen to the spot. In his peripheral vision he saw that several more of these enormous creatures seemed to have taken over a large meeting room.

Does the defendant know the reason for today’s business?” bellowed a particularly stout bug from the centre of the room. “I believe not” responded the centipede that was caressing Jeremy’s cheek. “Don’t worry dear, you strike me as the kind type” she said to him offering what she must have intended as reassurance.

A centipede presides over a courtroomJeremy waited to wake up from what he could only assume was his worst nightmare to date, marvelling at the horrific detail his subconscious had gone to in order to torment him. He looked through the sheen of the centipede’s upper body and saw its organs through the translucent skin, so very detailed.

The stout bug sighed and pulled a rather large ring binder from a filing cabinet with Jeremy Anthony Butler’s full name, date of birth and then date of death – today’s date written on the spine.
You sir,” began the stout bug “on the 12th October 1969, aged 4, poured a watering can over an ant nest – 24 innocent lives were lost as well as 53 unhatched eggs, the damage to the nest was irreparable and the colony never recovered.” The centipede next to him dropped Jeremy’s hand and let out an inaudible gasp.

Do you have anything to say in you defence sir?” Jeremy sensing the increasing hostility towards him in the room proffered that he had not meant to cause any harm or offence and that he had only been 4.

May the jury note that despite the defendant’s age at the time of the crime being 6 times that of the average insect’s life expectancy he would like this to be taken into consideration as a mitigating factor for his defence.

A pair of scales in the corner of the room tipped to the right, on one side there was a bloody organ and the other appeared empty. “We regret to inform you that in this matter you have been found guilty and that your heart has outweighed that of an ant egg.


On the 3rd September 1967” began the bug again inexorably “you took a book and beat it repeatedly upon a mosquito who died only on the fourth blow. Please can the courtroom note that there was a functioning window within the premises and at no point did the defendant make any attempt to open this.

One of the insects in the courtroom was making a weeping sound hunched over in the corner and another left the room entirely.
That was an act of self-defence” blustered Jeremy “the mosquito had bitten me or at least was going to.

The stout bug sighed “Can the jury please note that the defendant believes that this brutal murder was an acceptable form of retaliation to a mosquito bite.” Jeremy stayed quiet and scuffed his trainers against the wooden podium as the scales tipped further to the right, dread and guilt causing him to perspire.
On the 12th April 1968, Mr Butler stood on three snails who had gone out to enjoy the rain whilst he was running into the house. Two of the snails died on impact, the third Mr Butler took into the house after seeing the broken shell and tried to repair this with glue. The third snail died an excruciatingly slow death.

A debate broke out in the courtroom as to the severity of the crime. Should Jeremy’s “good” intentions redeem him at all? It was agreed that at the very least Jeremy should have made some attempt to research snail shell repair, but the scales did not tip as heavily as they had done for his previous crimes.A courtroom of insects

The day dragged on with an unrelenting toll of further incidents added to Jeremy’s record and only a few acts of redemption including a ladybird saved from a hot car in 1973.
Jeremy pleaded with the jury – he was a good man, had lived a good life, had always been respectful to his parents, his wife, had made an honest living.

This is the very lesson you have failed to sufficiently comprehend in life Mr Butler – it is not by how we treat those who hold equal or higher status that we are judged, it is by how we treat those of appearing insignificance that the true measure of our character is demonstrated.
Didn’t you ever question why we never answered your prayers? The failed exams, the job demotion, Zara moving to Australia and of course most recently the turnstile were all quite tragically avoidable.
I’m afraid your life sir has been found wanting, but do not fret, we are not as cruel as you. We will take mercy on your insignificant soul. You may return to life to try again.

Thank you, thank you!” cried Jeremy on his knees hugging the centipede next to him who stroked his head with scarcely suppressed disdain.
When he opened his eyes again Jeremy was relieved to wake up in a hospital room, his family all around him. He felt the sun on his face and vowed to himself to live a life of kindness.

His wife was crying at the end of the bed and as he reached out a tiny, furry leg to comfort her, she screamed.

By Jasmine Larford

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1 month ago

More of this

1 month ago

I loved this story! Thanks Jasmine

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