That Which Endures

The blast came unexpectedly, and was severe. Caught unawares, V'lah and her children found a crawlspace, and hunkered down. The building above them was splintered and swept away, disintegrating almost in the blink of an eye. The powerful nuclear winds swept over them, driving wood, concrete, and steel before the awesome force. Her children cowered beside her as V'lah pressed her body and theirs tightly against the concrete foundation. At a depth of fifteen feet in the earth, they might survive this assault as their kind had survived the best efforts of man since the dawn of time. And if they did not survive, others of her kind would.

The blast passed, but they remained motionless for hours, pressed tightly against the cinder blocks and almost indistinguishable from them. Discretion is the greater part of valor when you are an arthropod. At last V'lah extended her antennae, discerning that her brood was still present and that their immediate environment appeared intact. Cautiously she advanced further on multiple jointed legs, ascending the vertical cinderblock wall. She scurried to the top of it, advancing into the shrouded daylight.

There was little remaining of the human dwellings, those places that had afforded her kind sanctuary for countless years. The sky was an unnatural angry gray, and radioactive particles descended like snow upon the blasted landscape. While not optimal, these conditions were not necessarily lethal to her kind, and they would survive them, enduring as they had for millions of years. The homo sapiens, "wise men," had sought their extinction since they first walked upright, but could succeed only in smashing individuals, never in eradicating the race. And now it appeared that the humans had exterminated themselves rather than a species that they despised.-So which species was really contemptible here?

V'lah, however, was merely a cockroach, and her rudimentary brain did not concern itself with irony or philosophy but rather survival, and that she was most adept at. Indeed, her body would continue to exhibit responsiveness for some time even were she decapitated. Gathering her brood, V'lah moved her flat, oval body swiftly over the ruins of human civilization in search of a new location where they might continue to endure, her children scurrying behind her. She belonged to the night, and now the darkness was everywhere...