All posts by Komo

It was a dark and stormy night... the little slug, abandoned by all of it's friends, moved onwards. It undertook a hard and unwelcome journey. The ground was made of slippery, mismatched cobblestone, but the marble managed to glue the jagged edges together into something that could almost be considered lovely. But that beauty couldn't smooth over the reality: jagged pebbles dusted the walkway, and without thick skin or protection, traversing the path would only lead to injury. But life had mercy on the soft, vulnerable slug; the skies cried, and the water was enough to pave the slug's way to a place of suitable shells, lifting it high above the debris.The slug continued on this path, a little nervous and a lot determined, until two long shadows coalesced and stood in its way. "Slug! It's a slimy slug!" one crowed. The rest loomed over the slug, dark and threatening. "I'm not a slug!" it said in response, even as it flinched back. "I am a snail, like the rest of the snails. I just have no shell." The shadows did not seem to hear. Perhaps they simply didn't care. "No snail has no shell," another scoffed, crowding closer to the slug without any fear. Unlike the slug, they were uninhibited by the waters, able to wade through the slow current with long legs. "What, do you have a shell here?" they mocked, brandishing sticks in their mouths, prodding the slug's weak flesh viciously. "Stop!" the slug cried in a panic, but they did not stop. Rain spilled over the slug, licking its wounds, until it didn't. The slug lay helpless on the side of the streets, unmoving. There were many voices, screeching their victory as they walked into the distance, and the slug was bitterly reminded of the insults its siblings had told it. It did not resist as it was kicked harshly by some passing creature and thrown into the air, landing on its hurting underside so harshly it was jarred into unconsciousness. Perhaps, its siblings had been right. The slug was useless on its own, and the weak never survived. But the slug did not die. It came to, after a long, long time, to see a large, patterned rock. "...Hello?" the slug whispered, barely audible, not expecting an answer. But surprisingly, the rock moved, revealing a wisened head that craned over to look at the slug. "Hello," it greeted calmly, "What are you? I have not seen any like you before." The slug took a long moment to comprehend its words, and even then, it felt floored. Someone who had not heard of slugs at all? "I...am a snail, who has no shell, seeking a place of suitable shells that will fit me, like the shells in the place of suitable shells near my home that fit my kin." "...Is that so?" the other asked. Its eyes went wide. "I cannot understand, for this shell of mine has been mine ever since my birth. I can, however, understand the need for a shell to watch your back and hide you away from the world, if that is why you wish for a shell." "It is," the slug replied. "It must be a joy to you, to have a shell crafted for you for your lifetime." "But I cannot choose another," the other answered, "While you can." It was a long, quiet moment of contemplation before the other spoke again. "Do you think this shell of mine is good?" The slug was startled, but it answered willingly enough. "Yes." "Do you think this shell of mine is strong?" "Yes," the slug answered, this time a lot more slowly, bemused. The other gave a tiny, weak smile. "Do you think this shell of mine is suitable?" The slug did not hesitate. "Yes," it said, and it could not have said anything more honest. "What are you?" the slug finally queried. "I am a turtle." And the turtle smiled wider, kindly. It may have been just a feeling. It may have been just a thought. But the turtle also said these very words: "You are a snail with a shell." And even though the turtle's shell was all lines and edges and angles, and the shells of the snail's brethren were all curls and swirls wrapping itself into rings of promise, the slug was a snail with a shell, and that was all that mattered. "Yes," the snail said at last, with the turtle's shell heavy on its back. It laid on the turtle's back. It had found its place of suitable shells, and all was well.