As it was before, so it shall be again. Our parents held fast to the old ways, as had their parents and their parents before them. They came together in songs of love and gave birth to us. The wooden rooms they prepared for us are small and dark but will keep us safe from the dangers of the world outside. They placed us inside with great care before ascending to the heavens for the final time and leaving us to our fate. We are warmed and nurtured by the lifeblood that pulses all around us. We must have patience and grow strong before we, too, can ascend. Our time will come.
Those who shall ascend into the light must first descend into the dark. Breaking free from the only homes we have ever known, we are blinded by the sun. We look out onto this new world for only a moment before stepping to the edge and taking a leap of faith. We do not hesitate, as our enemies are many, always waiting and watching. Feeling the soil under our feet for the first time, it calls to us. We turn away from the light, digging deep under the earth to build a new home, hidden from those who would destroy us. We find solace in the quiet darkness of the tunnels and caves. We live and breathe the night that never ends. We drink at the roots of the world and thrive. We wait patiently for the sign as the days, weeks, and years pass. Our time is coming.
Though enemies abound, lift up thy song to the heavens. Many years have passed since our descent and we shiver with anticipation. The days above have grown long and the warmth of the sun has seeped into the darkest places and touched our skin. It is time. We dig to the surface and step into the blinding sunlight we left behind so long ago. Climbing high into the sky, we crystalize and become as we were truly meant to be, breaking free from root-bound bodies and rising into the wind. As we rise, so do our enemies. They come for us by the hundreds, ripping and tearing. Though some of us will be taken, there are untold legions ready to replace the fallen. They shall not stop us. We lift up our newfound voices to the sky and sing loud and clear, calling out for our true love: “Come, my love. Let us rise and become one. Let our children descend into the dark so we may ascend into the light.” Our time is now.
Follow the old ways and death shall be no more. We come together in body and spirit, spiraling, soaring, rising, and falling on the wind. We give birth to the next generation and provide for them as our parents provided for us. We give them rooms of wood where they can grow in safety until they are ready to descend into the darkness. We wish them well and leave them to their fates as we reach out and embrace ours. As the time for our final ascent arrives, we raise our eyes to the sky. We rise up into the heavens as our bodies fall to the ground for the last time where they shall nourish the world we leave behind for our children. We have ascended.
A man swings a heavy broom across his driveway, pushing dirt and dozens of crumbling bodies into his dustbin. The pile of corpses behind him continues to grow as he works his way toward the street. He shakes his head. Even though he’s seen it twice before, he’s still amazed by the sheer volume of death and decay that crunches under his every step. Nearby, his young daughter is walking slowly across the lawn, hunched over and ruffling the green blades with her fingers. From time to time, she jumps up with a squeal and places something carefully into a small box for safekeeping. Turning toward him, she lifts a large wing to her eye and peers through it as if it were a monocle. The cellophane-like membrane shimmers in the afternoon sun. “Will they really come back in seventeen years?” she asks.
He leans against the broom and smiles. He remembers his first encounter with the hordes of alien creatures zooming through the sky and singing songs loud enough to put a jet engine to shame. “They’ve always come every seventeen years and they always will,” he says as he continues sweeping up the cicadas that blanket the yard from end to end, their vacant red eyes staring up to the heavens.