The life of a Flea is not a pleasant one. From egg to larva to pupa we grow, eating anything we can nearby. Once grown, we sit in our cocoon and wait for a Home to pass by. It is cold, but our cocoons keep us safe while we wait. The world is too dangerous to travel through, we Fleas are not strong enough to bare the harshness of this planet on our own. Instead we must rely on things greater than us: Homes. Warm and moving, they provide us shelter and sustenance. I remember first feeling the warmth of a Home radiating all around it, filling me with strength. I burst through my cocoon and leaped out toward it. After landing on it, I bit into the ground, it felt as though my body moved without my say. Then I tasted it, the nectar of the Home, and I was happy.

It was a life of hope then, the memories are all I have left.

Today was hot, the scorching air burned my lungs. The others suffer too, though they are all young; their youthful bodies and ignorant minds ease their pain. This Home shifted often in the day, we struggled as we clung to its fur to keep our places. It was a Home of desperation more than anything, where a flea must go if they’re out of options. A wise flea I once knew called them Squirrels, Homes that travel great distances. There were few of us here, maybe twenty at the most, almost all have been here since their first Leap. I keep stories of better days to myself to spare them more suffering, though of course the young ones are always curious with what this old flea has seen. They call me Grandfather.

“Grandfather, tell us of Cat Homes again!” yelled Fil

“Yes! Is it true they have forests big enough for a hundred Fleas?” added Phlina

“Yes Phlina, some are even big enough for two hundred, and more!” I replied.

“Wow!” Phlina exclaimed, and with her Fil, Finni and Phelda gasped together.

I delighted in exciting them, one thing that still brought me any joy.

“What do you think of this day Grandfather, will we have rest?” asked a flea behind me.

“I think not my boy, this Home hungers often!”

My stomach rumbled reminding me of my own needs. I crouched down, still clinging to the fur, and bit into the ground. The Home’s nectar tasted bitter and came slowly, but it served my needs. Feeling fool, I released my bite and stood up. I closed my eyes to rest for a moment.

“Look!”

“What is that? It’s huge!”

“Grandfather, do you see it?!”

The shouts ripped me from my rest, and I opened my eyes in a panic.

I looked at the other fleas and they were all gazing in one direction. I did the same.

It was a giant Home of orange fur so thick you couldn’t see where it started. The name came to me instantly: Cat! The fur mountain was at rest half a jump away, covered in forests of ginger and cream. We were in a trance as we stared out at it, but something felt peculiar. I realized then that the Home we were on was at rest too. The Squirrel was as paralyzed by the Cat as we were! We had to act quickly!

“Everyone, leap for that Home!” I yelled out to them as loudly and quickly as I could.

They looked at me, then at eachother. A moment passed. Then the first one jumped and the rest followed. I bent my legs, gathering all the strength that I had in me, and then I released it all at once. I flew forward and the orange mountain grew in my vision until it was all I could see. I landed in soft fluff that slowed my descent, as if I were falling through Jupiter, the atmosphere growing denser but seeming bottomless.

Eventually I came to a halt, the soft fur holding me gently. I sighed with relief, and then listened for signs of the others. I could hear them talking to eachother, they seemed to have all gathered together. I made my way over to the sounds slowly with what little strength my legs still had.

“Grandfather, you are here! We were so worried!” exclaimed Phelda.

“Yes, I can still keep up with you young ones yet! Is everyone here?”

“With your arrival, yes. The whole group has made it over.”

“Good! Oh my young Fleas, this is a magnificent day. We have found paradise.”

“Grandfather, the fur on this Home is so big! I can’t even see the outside from here!”

“Yes, we will be safe here. Now you will all know a life of happiness, comfort and prosperity so rejoice!”

The other fleas cheered together, cries of joy rang in my ears.

Then the Home began to shift, and we braced ourselves. But its movements were slower than the Squirrel. We loosened our grips and rode along. The movement was a wave in a sea of fur, when all we’d known for so long were earthquakes. It was gentle. This Home would give us a future.

I looked at the other fleas and for the first time in forever, I felt a smile on my face.

END OF PART 1

Written by Cat Uncle