If the ending doesn't surprise you, drinks are on me.
Mel and Meg were two inseparable caterpillars. They did everything together. On sunny days they’d crawl from one green leaf to the next munching at it in such a way as to create new shapes. Sometimes the shapes were funny, sometimes sad and sometimes thought-provoking. Mel and Meg called it their art. On rainy days they’d curl up together in the crack of their favourite tree; an old oak that stood proudly in the middle of some large field.
One day they noticed that they had grown; they could stretch higher and reach further. They also noticed that they had gained more control of their body. They belly-danced on the branches, twisting a turning the way they had never done before. In the excitement Mel came up with an idea:
“Do you know what we should do?” Mel said. “We should turn this whole branch into our own personal gallery. Make every leaf tell our story.”
Meg loved the idea. The two of them jumped to work immediately. At first, they worked on each leaf together, but later on decided that they should separate so that each of them have their own creation. As the sun went down, they were both exhausted. They looked at each other’s creation.
“Mine is so much better than yours.” Meg said.
“Is not.” Mel whined examining the results of her hard labour. “You only say that because you’re jealous.”
“Jealous? Me? Of what? That terrible thing?”
Mel was so hurt she took off crying. Meg didn’t follow her. She decided to stay in their gallery until the morning and keep working.
The sun came up. After a good night sleep Mel felt much better. Fresh morning air made her feel like she could take on the world.
“Meg!” Mel called out for her friend. “Meg! Where are you?”
Mel looked everywhere but there was no sign of Meg. As she searched she glanced at the gallery with new set of eyes. It was amazing. They had truly done a great job, but there was something odd on one of the branches. ‘How did Meg do this?’ Mel whispered to herself as she examined an oval shape that looked like a little tube.
All day long Mel searched for her friend. She found all kinds of things which she managed to bring over. Her plan was to surprise Meg with a feast. But night came and there was no sign of Meg. Mel sat up all night in their gallery wondering what to do. Suddenly, the strange thing on the branch started to move. Mel jumped in fright. It was moving, and cracking, making all kinds of hissy noises. Mel observed it from a safe distance, horrified by the image she was seeing. The thing oozed some kind of nasty stuff. ‘What is that’ she said as Meg’s face appeared in the slimy texture.
“Oh my word!” Mel shouted in horror. “Meg! What the heck are you doing? Oh, that’s just nasty!”
Meg could barely hear. She just knew she had to liberate herself from her cocoon. She had to find a way to crack it and see what happened to her body, why did it feel so large and odd.
Meg’s head eventually came out. Meg could breathe again. Gasping for air Meg asked for help.
“How? What can I do?” Mel said wishing to help her friend, but also terrified to go anywhere near her.
“Pull me out.” Meg said.
Mel tried to grab Meg’s head and pull, but her head was slippery from that slimy stuff, which also smelled horrific.
“How did you get yourself into this mess?” Mel asked.
“I didn’t. This is just something that happens to grown caterpillars.” Meg replied.
“I don’t know. I need to get out to find out, don’t I? So help me.”
Mel tried pulling again, but there was no use. There was only one thing to try: smash the stuff that was holding Meg captive. Mel found a strong branch and started hitting the cocoon. She hit and hit and hit until the damn thing cracked. Through the cracks even more of the slimy, smelly stuff came out. Mel was too tired to move.
“Oh I think I’m almost there.” Meg said wiggling. She was also tired, but she had no choice, she had to keep going.
It was high noon when Meg finally liberated herself. She had a pair of wings on.
“That’s it?” Mel pointed at her, very disappointed. “All that suffering for a pair of frigging wings?”
“I know!” Meg said. “But we can’t avoid it.”
Mel sat back, leaning on the tree, she took a drink from one of the cans she found and brought as a surprise feast for Meg’s return.
Suddenly Mel grew a pair of wings. Meg watched in amazement.
“How did you just…” Meg said pointing at Mel.
Mel turned around, trying to see her wings. Before too long she flew. “Check me out.” She said cheerfully.
Meg wanted to try flying, but she was still too tired. “That’s so not fair.”
Mel flew back down to her. “I don’t know how this happened. I must be lucky.” She said.
“Lucky? Is that another word for a cheat? What did you just drink?” Meg said picking up the can and reading out loud ‘Red Bull, gives you wings’. “You bitch!” Meg leaped towards Mel to hit her but Mel flew away. “Come back here!”
“Come down, we can talk about this.” Mel said.
About the author
I'm an activist and a writer, born in Bosnia, grew up in the UK - yes, I know, another war-child who grew up a little too brave. I'm also a bit of a meverick. Please feel free to get in touch.