I awoke the other morning from uneasy dreams to find that, lying in my bed, I had been transformed into a giant insect. In the unearthly morning light, the remnants of a purple mist could be seen, passing through walls and windows. Not again.
There was nothing for it. Lying on my hard, as it were armour plated, back, I knew I had to wait it out. What about sleeping a little longer and forgetting all this nonsense, I thought, the klaxon lighted sky making me feel melancholy.
But then I thought some more. Realising no one else was about (for I share my fortified compound with no-one), I dangled first one leg, then the next, then another, from the bed, until my centre of gravity shifted and I tumbled to the floor. I shook my segments, set my bearings with my multi-faceted eyes, and set off to explore the room. Before I knew it, I was walking up the wall, and on the ceiling. I felt my wings begin to quiver, and was almost overcome by a desire to set sail across the air.
I explored my home as though a stranger, which I suppose I was. I knew I should not be doing this. The accepted etiquette is to simply wait until one is one’s self again. We are in possession of our faculties. We know better. As I set off, I felt naughty, then more than that. I felt great.
I opened the door (yes, I was a giant insect and did not have opposable thumbs, however I retained a human brain and it was my door after all), and nearly fainted with the overload of my senses, with all the signals of death and decay. A whole universe of half broken down organisms to be clambered through and consumed.
Shaking a little, I danced with joy. Liberation. A secret indulgence. How often does one get to experience the pleasures of another creature, to live in the body of another? Even if it was the body of a giant cockroach.
Then I noticed the stillness. Something was wrong. From a corner of the garden, it ran at me.
Before I knew what I was doing, I realised that I too was running as fast as my six legs could take me. Purely from instinct, I jinked and changed direction. One of my compound lenses revealed what was in pursuit. A giant spider was coming at me at terrifying speed. This was outrageous. It was nothing natural. A creature of that size could only be another person, transformed for the moment by this morning’s toxic discharge. I tried to gather who it must be. It could only be the woman from across the road. She always seemed a little wrong headed. She knew she was supposed to stay in her own place. I cursed myself for my stupidity, no matter how high my walls, they were no match for a giant arachnid.
I turned again, having the advantage of knowledge of the layout of my fortified compound. Fool. I was running where she was driving me. Just when I thought I was about to reach the safety of the house, I stopped. The more I struggled, the more I was stopped. Web!
I turned and looked at her. There was something disturbingly Freudian about the way she was manically manipulating her pincers. I tried to reason with her, but only a whole lot of roach gibberish came out. Though afraid, my anger dropped away: she was only doing the same as me, experiencing the alien.
Then it stopped. The rigidity of the armour passed away, and there I was, flesh bodied and human again. The same for the woman, although she continued to run oddly for a few steps after her body had returned. At least she had the courtesy to help unwrap the web from me. It was only afterwards that I reflected how odd it was to be standing there naked in that situation.