He stepped and hopped about his nocturnal exploration and almost jumped into a bottomless chasm. He clung on for dear life, to the slippery smooth cold metal on the lip of the abyss. Carefully shifting his body weight he pivoted himself onto the expanse ahead. Land here felt very different – smooth, lifeless and cold. But was surely preferable to a fall, which might have been nasty, even fatal.
Suddenly the land was flooded with bright light, it wasn’t the sun, though. And some huge predator almost came crashing down on him. Jumping to save his life yet again, he hit the end of land, slid and crash-landed. He lay there, dazed. All the while the land kept hurtling skywards, crushing him down.
At long last, the land stopped moving and quaking. The great predator moved away. The heavens appeared to close down and the stunning bright light was suddenly doused. Even in this strange land, the darkness offered a semblance of comfort. But a sliver of light shone ahead, tantalizingly beckoned further exploration. He crept ahead into another land flooded with the bright light that he was now becoming accustomed to. Still exploring, he crawled straight into the inviting darkness of my neighbour's fourth floor apartment. An intruder silently breached locked doors that night, while the residents lived through their wonderful dreams.
He crept into a cool corner. Behind a shoe rack ? After he had calmed himself, the genetic programming of millions of years took over and he began his rasping call. Not the low tone call to a mate, but his signature tune - announcing his arrival to the apartment and the world at large. His shrill call shattered the peace of the night. Through the haze of deep sleep it was distant at first but steadily became proximal, persistent and irritating. It was a rude awakening for the Kumar family.
They would have all come out of bed in crumpled night-dresses, surprised and irritated by the intrusion. Armed with flashlights and brooms, the entire family would have initiated a mission to “seek and evict”, rummaging all dark recesses of their home. The coordinated efforts of three human brains would have quickly located him behind the shoe rack. He would have felt the vibrations come nearer and halted his call, in alarm. But it would have been too late by then. He would have cowered in his corner under this sudden spot of bright light, exposed and frightened.
A quick swish of a broom would have sent him sliding out, rolling helplessly across the smooth floor and under the door, crashing headlong onto the wall of the corridor.
He lay still for some time, hurt and dazed. Eventually he rolled upright, stretched his wings and limbs, brushed his antennae and wiped his eyes - confirming that he had survived yet another ordeal, in one piece !
So, I now have this cricket screeching somewhere in my bathroom.
As I try to settle into a comfortable slumber after a long day at work, I am far from being enthralled…