The conscious mite that lived on the moon


A Short Story

Contrary to what Earth’s leading scientists believe, there is life on the moon. Moe lived with her family amongst a small colony of mites in one particular crevice on one particular corner of the moon. Which particular corner or which particular crevice, she wasn’t sure. In fact, she wasn’t sure either who were her family. She just assumed that the two older, grayer-looking mites that intermittently sifted through the moondust and lobbed a speck of juicy moonfungus in her general direction did so out of affection. And when she looked at either of them, she did feel a sort of pleasant sensation, perhaps comparable to warmth, wash over her cold, bloodless body. She twiddled her whiskers and cooed a moonmite coo, expressing her love in the only way she knew how, but they just stared past her and continued sifting through the moondust.

Moe couldn’t recall how she came to live here. All she knew was that her recollections since long ago came like the gradual arrival of light in the sky: she never noticed it happening, but before she knew it, she could see the shimmer in the moondust appear beneath her spindly legs. But unlike the light, which dimmed, went out, then returned, her feeling—thinking—seemed to stretch far backwards, uninterrupted, for what felt like a long, long time, falling eventually into the thick, dark folds of the unknowable. There was a time, though, when she too had scurried, it seemed, but she couldn’t remember where she was scurrying to, or why. It didn’t seem like her—Moe. In fact, “Moe” was her own assumption of identity, created and labeled as such simply because of the small, almost imperceptible sound that escaped her body when she opened her mouth to coo. “Moe”. 

At first, she remembered, the sound, though quiet, had startled her, bringing her newfound consciousness into sharper focus. It confirmed her existence. None of the other mites seemed to take notice, however, and never paused their scurrying and sifting. She watched the coming and going of the light in the sky, and the shimmer in the moondust, with ever growing fascination. The members of her colony, including her family, scurried around in silence with neither urgency nor sloth. When she tried to approach any one of them, their spindly legs would swiftly rotate, sending the body they carried scurrying on a new trajectory. Moe sensed no animosity—one of many feelings that she had gradually come to know since the beginning of awareness—just a placid, effortless avoidance of collision. Over time, self-conscious surprise and fascination at her surroundings gave way to disappointment. Her coos grew louder, more insistent, and each echo more desperate as it dissipated across the desolate moonscape.

Moe looked up at the sky and watched the looming circle of blue, white, and gray. She didn’t know what it was, but she liked it. The moonscape varied in shades of shimmer, but the circle in the sky—it was different, but not in shade (color was not a part of her awareness). Sometimes, she couldn’t find the circle, no matter how hard she searched among the sparkles. It would disappear from the sky for a while and then reappear, just like the light. Moe twiddled her whiskers and wondered if her existence was a good thing. She looked around at her scurrying colony and considered this. Sometimes, she was glad to know herself as Moe. But other times, she wished she didn’t know. She wished she could be just like the other moonmites, scurrying around, sifting moondust. Not happy, but not unhappy. Not questioning why she had to know, think, feel. Blissfully unaware.

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