Barry the Beetle

Yesterday, I posted Part One of my short story Barry the Beetle. At first, I thought that I would split it into parts so that it would be easier for the reader to handle instead of putting such a long read all at once. The truth, though, is that I think I was worried about posting it all because it’s the first short story I will have ever shown to the public and I didn’t know what the reaction would be (if any). I thought it would be best if I stepped into it bit by bit.

I suppose that this fear is one of the greatest challenges to an author, but it’s one that I’m going to have to get over. I need to get into this with all that I can and put what I’ve written out there. So, I’ve decided to post the whole of my story. I apologize for not posting it all yesterday. I’m somewhat of a work-in-progress. I hope you’ll bear with me.

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s the story of a beetle named Barry who comes across an evil ladybug. It’s a fable for adults with an interesting moral (and twist). I really hope that you enjoy it. Of course, feedback is always great, so feel free to give it.

So, here is it: Barry the Beetle.

*

Barry the Beetle was happy. Today had been a good day.

To begin, Barry had woken up early in the morning and gathered his things. He had headed to the market fair and had set up a small stall. Then, after talking to everyone who passed by, he had managed to sell all of his goods by mid-afternoon.

After that, Barry had wandered around. He had made his way up and down several of the streets. He had wanted to buy some gifts for his family. And, by dinner, he had found the perfect things: a beautiful necklace for his wife, a pretty pink dress for is daughter, and a baseball glove for his son. He had managed to find a few things for himself, also.

Yes, today had been a good day and Barry the Beetle was happy.

As Barry walked home along the dirt road, he couldn’t stop smiling. He started to walk faster. His feet pounded heavily underneath him. Dust scattered behind in a yellowish brown cloud. He was anxious to see his family again. Though he had only been gone for the day, he missed them terribly. It was this way for him everytime he went away. He always hurried back to them.

Plus, there were the presents. He was excited to see the look on his family’s face when he brought them out. He knew they would be surprised; delighted.

Yes, he wanted to get home.

But, before Barry got much further, he came across a ladybug. The little creature was sleeping alongside the road. Barry didn’t want to wake him.

He stopped his hurrying and tried to take small, light steps. But, even though Barry tried his hardest to be quiet, the big beetle’s footsteps still woke the ladybug from his slumber. The ladybug’s eyes shot open and he sat up quickly.

“Who’s there?” he demanded, angrily.

“I’m sorry,” Barry responded. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“But you did wake me, didn’t you?” the ladybug retorted.

“I really am sorry,” Barry continued. “I didn’t…”

“Yeah, I know,” the ladybug interupted. “You didn’t mean to wake me. But, here I am, talking with you. So, its either a dream. Or you did wake me!”

The ladybug stood up and walked over to Barry.

“Which is it?” he asked, angrily. “Is it a dream? Or did you wake me?”

Barry lowered his head and looked at the ground. “I really did try to be quiet,” he said, softly.

“But, a big oaf like you couldn’t manage that, could you?”

Barry couldn’t respond. He simply didn’t know what else to say. It was obvious that the ladybug didn’t want to listen to him. He definitely wasn’t going to accept his apology.

Barry felt horrible.

Then, he thought of his rosehip wine. He had bought a bottle of it at the market. It was supposed to be had with the romantic dinner he was going to make for his wife. But, he really did feel bad about waking the ladybug and he thought that this might make the situation better.

“Would you like a drink?” he asked.

“A drink?” the ladybug retorted. “What kind of drink? Some cheap vinegar, no doubt.”

Barry waved away the suggestion.

“No, no, no,” he said. “I have a bottle of rosehip wine. It was for my wife and I, but…”

“Some rosehip wine, you say?”

Though the ladybug was still angry, at the mention of the wine, his eyes lit up and his voice settled down. Barry felt hopeful.

“Yes. Would you like a glass?”

The ladybug took a moment to think over the offer. “I suppose a little would be nice,” he said. He moved closer to Barry and added: “Especially after being so rudely awoken.”

Barry decided not to respond. Instead, he opened his backpack and took out the bottle of wine and a cup. He filled it to the brim and handed it to the the ladybug.

“Here you are.”

The ladybug grabbed the drink. And, without so much as a thank-you, he put the glass to his lips and swallowed the wine in a few quick sips. Then, after wiping his lips, he burped.

“How about another?” the ladybug suggested.

Barry poured him another glass.

Once again, the ladybug finished the drink in couple of seconds.

“Maybe one more?”

Barry obliged the little creature and filled his glass. The ladybug raised it to his lips and, with the same determination, finished the wine. He handed the cup back to Barry.

“That was some good wine,” he said. “I really…”

Before he could finish his sentence, his eyes began to swim in his head. He started to tilt over to one side and fell. He landed heavily onto the ground.

“Are you okay?” Barry asked.

He hurried over to help the little creature sit up. The ladybug pushed the beetle’s hands away.

“Of course, I’m okay!” he shouted, his voice now noticably slurred. “What d’ya think? You think I’m drunk or somethin’? I just tripped!”

Barry knew that wasn’t true. After all, the ladybug hadn’t been walking. He had been standing still. He couldn’t have tripped. But, Barry didn’t say anything about it. He simply nodded his head, politely.

The ladybug brushed off the dirt from his arms.

“I’m not drunk,” he said, angrily.

Barry didn’t say anything. He simply turned around to put the wine and glass back into the bag.

As he did so, the ladybug peered over the big beetle’s shoulder.

“What d’ya have in there?” he asked.

Barry turned around. The ladybug was looking at him. Surprisingly, he didn’t look all too angry anymore. Now, he looked curious.

“In here?” Barry asked, pointing at his backpack.

“Yeah.”

“Just some things I picked up at the market.”

“At the market?”

Barry nodded his head.

“What did you get?”

“A few gifts for my family,” Barry responded. Then, he smiled. Any thought of his family’s presents made him happy.

“Some things for your family, eh? Like what?”

Barry picked up his backpack. He pulled out the items, one by one.

“This is a dress for my daughter,” he explained. “And this is a baseball glove for my son.”

He held them out for the ladybug to see.

Then, he took out the necklace.

“This one is for my wife.”

At this, the ladybug’s eyes opened wide. The diamonds and gems shone in the early evening sun. The ladybug leaned closer.

“Must’ve been expensive,” he said, admiringly.

“A little bit,” Barry admitted. As proud as he was of the necklace, he didn’t want to brag about it, either.

The ladybug smiled. The corner of his lips turned up in an awkward grin.

“Well, you’d better pack those things up nice and tight,” he said, pleasantly. “You wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to them.”

Barry agreed.”No, I wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to them, at all.” He turned around to put the items into his bag.

As he did so, the ladybug clumsily rushed up behind him. From the inside of his wing, he pulled out a silver dagger. He raised it right behind Barry’s ear and prepared to thrust it into the beetle’s brain. He gathered his strength and prepared to strike.

Barry heard the commotion and turned around. Standing before him was the ladybug, a dagger poised in the air before him.

The ladybug attacked.

Barry moved.

The ladybug attacked, again.

Barry moved, again.

Back and forth, the two scurried.

Until, finally, the ladybug tripped and, once again, fell heavily to the ground. The dagger went flying across to the other side of the road.

Barry stopped. He couldn’t believe that the ladybug had just attacked him. He looked at the little creature.

“You tried to kill me,” he said.

The ladybug sat up.

“Yeah,” he admitted. “I did.”

Again, Barry couldn’t believe it.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I wanted that necklace,” the ladybug explained. “I could’ve gotten a lot of money for it.”

“You tried to kill me for a necklace?”

But, the ladybug didn’t feel like talking about it anymore. He was tired. And he was upset that his attack had failed.

“Just get out of here!” he yelled. “Go, go, go!”

Barry looked sadly at the little creature. He slowly shook his head from side to side in disapproval.

“Get going!” the ladybug continued to shout.

So, Barry did.

He turned around and grabbed his bag. And, without looking back at the ladybug, he was about to start his journey home.

But, at that exact same moment, there was a loud scream.

“Arrrrrggggggghhhhhhhh,” it yelled.

Barry quickly turned around to look at the ladybug. He feared that the little creature had started another attack. He hadn’t. The ladybug hadn’t moved.

Barry looked around. He could see nothing.

Then, he looked up.

Standing before him was a little girl. Her hands were pressed to the side of her face, her pigtails flying around erratically as she shook her head back and forth. She was looking directly at him.

“Arrrrgggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!” she screamed, once more.

Quickly, she raised her foot. Her black patened leather shoe lifted in the air. It was poised directly over Barry.

Barry froze. He wanted to run, but couldn’t make his legs work. He tried to scream, but nothing came out.

He looked at the ladybug. He, too, was stunned.

Then, Barry looked into the horizon, toward his home. He thought of his family — his beautiful wife, his wonderful children. He thought of his great day at the market, the perfect gifts he had bought, how happy everyone would be to get them, how happy he would be to give them.

And, then, the foot fell.

It landed on top of Barry and crushed him against the road. The little girl swivelled her foot back and forth, grinding him into the dirt.

When she stopped, she took her foot away and looked at the big beetle.

Barry was dead.

The little girl smiled.

Then, she saw the ladybug.

The little creature still hadn’t moved.

She moved closer.

“What a pretty little ladybug!” she claimed.

She lowered her finger and placed it to the ground. She wanted him to step onto it.

The ladybug took a deep breath. He knew he wasn’t in danger anymore. He hobbled onto her finger. She raised him to her eyes, to get a better look.

“Oh,” she said. “You’re so adorable! Not like that ugly thing over there!”

Both the girl and the ladybug looked in Barry’s direction. The girl continued to smile.

Before long, someone called from the distance. It was the girl’s mother. She had to leave. She placed the ladybug onto the ground and ran away. The ladybug watched her go, her pigtails flapping along beside her.

Now, the ladybug was alone.

He took a few more deep breaths and walked over to Barry. The big beetle was laying not too far from him. Crushed. Dead. Beside him was his bag.

The ladybug walked over and opened it. The bottle of rosehip wine was broken. But, the rest of the things were fine. There was a huge pile of money, also. He smiled.

The ladybug was happy. Today had been a good day.

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