Hidden in the forest, there was rumoured to be a tiny city. Contrary to what humans think, they were not the only humanoids from the beautiful chain of evolution. This kind was just a little smarter at hiding than they were. And so, they lived their tiny little lives, concepts humans have never even considered clouding their mind.
There were also children in this city, although not exactly in the same way human children are defined. For example, not all children in the tiny city were small. Some were as large as an ant. In fact, one exceptional example of that size is a child called Phlo. The child was just a teeny bit smaller than the largest being in their city and it bothered them sometimes. This was one of those times.
Phlo had to take over gardening the aphids which was Creak’s job, but he had been squashed by a foot some time ago. Since the city depended on each individual, Phlo had to assume his job of gardening until someone else went looking for a job. Phlo thinks of themself as a pretty capable person, but they have never tried aphid gardening before, but since they did fine in everything else, they assumed they would do fine here also.
They were wrong.
Insects were very panicky creatures, especially aphids. Because of Phlo’s size, any aphid they would try to coax near them would scurry away in its quick thin legs.
“You’d think I was trying to hurt them!” Phlo exclaimed, frustrated, as the fifteenth aphid of the day got away from them and the only thing they’ve achieved was half a leaf of honey dew.
“Is that you, Phlo?”
Phlo turned around and smiled, their spirits immediately lifted. They would recognize those spines anywhere.
“Spoo!” Phlo exclaimed, wiping the liquid off their head. “I’m so glad to see you.”
Spoo was extremely tinier than Phlo, especially when they stood side by side, which they did quite often. It was their way of embracing, as embracing was a feat that involved pain because of Spoo’s sharp spines. Nevertheless, Spoo had had several experiences of gardening, aphid or otherwise and with a little begging and promises of food rations, Spoo agreed to help.
“You know, being large isn’t an excuse to be lacking in this expertise.” Spoo argued, easily farming the honey dew from a still aphid. “I know lots who are larger than you and make a living out of it.”
Phlo rolled their eyes. “That’s because the ‘lots’ you talk about don’t live here.”
It was true. Spoo was talking about humans, a subject they liked to bring up quite often.
They travelled a lot, unlike Phlo, and sometimes wandered into human farms, pretending to be a foreigner lost in the country. It always fascinated Spoo, how many things they could do with such limited limbs. Phlo, on the other hand, had no interest in other creatures’ lives. Their philosophy was that beings can co-exist but they don’t necessarily have to communicate.
“You should have seen it, Phlo!” Spoo said excitedly, “They were using these large wood—but they were bent and changed—and it got the trees down really fast. It was so interesting.”
“I just don’t see what they want, Spoo.” Phlo admitted. “They take and take. After that, they find news ways to take and no way to give. It’s a little unfair.”
“But, you see, the fascination is in the process.” Spoo explained. “The how, not the why.”
Phlo smiled, but didn’t say anything else. They knew that whatever they say, Spoo was gone. Just like that kid from their younger days, Spoo had taken up all the customs of the humans, all the beliefs. There was no more convincing them.
Spoo was already human.
note: hey! This is one of many pieces of writing I’ll be sharing. I’ll make a more in-depth post of this some other time, but basically I wrote this short story to make the reader uncomfortable in the environment made by almost-human-but-not beings where the concepts they grow up with and are familiarized with are very different from those we humans are. It was basically made to point out how kind of ridiculous we are for centering our entire world and worldview on things we have completely constructed.