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An Earthworm’s Journey

By SE BaranPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
Photo by Oscar Manrique on Unsplash

I was suffocating, dying. The nourishing dirt surrounding me was drying out. The underland had not seen new moisture in a long time. I couldn’t breathe. I kept digging through the rough ground, trying to find moisture. The others were doing the same. We were panicking. I kept finding the holes of the others as we zigzagged through the now crumbling dirt. We knew death was close on our tails.

A vibration ran though the earth surrounding us, and we all paused for a moment to wait for more. It was slow at first, but we started to recognize a steady drumming from above. The tempo increased until the vibration was a roar all around us. We began moving upward towards the overland. Before we reached the air the ground began to soften. The moisture seeping into the dry and cracking dirt. We drank in the moisture with gluttonous fury, our bodies reveling in the sensation of life renewed.

I continued to move, easier now, through the softened soil. Other creatures, ones that made me strong, were also moving to the surface, and I followed them. I devoured those I could and was pleased the others would be spreading out into the dirt to provide later meals. As I neared the surface, I savored the feel of the soft dirt on my aching skin. The dryness of the dirt before had left small scratches on my surface and now the moisture soothed me. Happiness overtook my panic, and I slowed my pace to the surface.

When I finally broke through, water settled on the overland. More continued to come from above but had slowed back to a steady beat. I took in what I could until I was fat and slow. I slid across the surface of the overland, weaving around the tall plants of the overland. Under the surface, the plants sent their projections to share the moisture with us, and we could move easily among them, but on the overland, the projections above the surface didn’t give way as I moved through them. There was space to move between though and I continued on, without direction, enjoying everything around me.

Photo by Liis Saar on Pexels

After some time, I came upon a wall. It felt coarse, like the projections of the plants above the overland, but was much larger. I couldn’t feel an end to move around. Perhaps the overland bent upward here and through this wall was underland. I couldn’t puncture through to the nutritious dirt beneath, so I climbed. I could feel the underland I left behind pulling at me, but I continued up the strange wall.

I reached another bend of the wall. This time, the surface levelled out, even with the underland below. I moved around and felt nothing new. The course material was the same all over. I found a small lip and moved over it. It bent under my weight, but I did not fall. There were no others on this plain and I could not find the edge I came from. The new surface seemed infinite.

The water from above stopped its flow and a new warmth overtook me. At first, the feeling was pleasant, and I stretched out on the coarse surface beneath me. After a time, though, I began to feel dry again. I moved along the surface and realized it was also beginning to dry out. Worried, I tried to find the wall I climbed to come to this unsafe place. I couldn’t find it and began a new panic. I couldn’t find an escape no matter how hard I tried.

I nearly gave up when a new vibration rippled through the surface below me. It was followed by another, closer, and then another. A rumble passed through the air and the warmth disappeared suddenly. Alarmingly, the surface beneath me moved and shook as I was pressed into it without warning.

Another creature touched my side and I curled into a ball. Then I was pressed on both sides. At first, I worried that my insides would be flattened between the two creatures, but they didn’t keep squeezing. Instead, they moved away from the coarse surface, and I went with them. I was no longer on the surface. Nothing was touching my body except for the two creatures. Had any other of my kind felt such a sensation?

I felt the air around me moved and a rumble nearby vibrated with the movement of the air. As suddenly as I moved away form the coarse surface, I was now moving in another direction. The air seemed to be coming at me from below. Not for the first time that day, I wondered if I was approaching the end of my life.

A surface came up beneath me once again. I moved around feeling the moist dirt once again under my skin. I moved around and found the overland plants. I dove into the dirt to escape this frightening overland. The underland was as moist and fertile as ever. The safety of my home surrounded me once again.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

I would remember my foray into the overland. I would cherish the feel of the falling water, I would wonder at the coarse wall of plant that caused me to lose my way, and I am grateful to the creatures that returned me to my home. I vowed never again to chase the water to the overland. I will remain in the underland for the rest of my days.

Short Story

About the Creator

SE Baran

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