Cicada by Gabriel

Cicada’s ill-fitting, un-ironed shirt hung down his agonising chair. His trousers almost completely covered his generic black shoes. He reached for the next pile of data and sighed; seventeen years he had been working at Con Corp as a data entry clerk. He was probably the most experienced on the team and yet no promotion. He stood with a groan and grabbed the note sitting on top of the cabinet and trundled towards the H.R. Office.

Cicada stood in the office, his feeble legs – hidden by his ill-fitting trousers – struggled to keep him upright. Awkwardly, he shuffled towards the desk; he laid his note down on the clear cuboid of a table – the air became thick and heavy.

“Cicada ask promotion,” mumbled Cicada – his legs crumbled underneath him; he steadied himself on the desk. “Cicada tired of harass come from office neighbours,” he muttered the final words so quietly it was almost impossible to hear, “Cicada ask boss for same rights.”

The man’s sneer changed in an instant to an angered frown.  “You asked for WHAT?” His temple bulged as he bellowed. “You believe that you deserve equal rights to your human co-workers! Ludicrous! Now remove your senseless body from my office this instant! Cicada reframed from crying as he trudged towards the lift; ready to go twelve blocks just to use the toilet.

The street outside the office was filled with workers, just like Cicada on their lunch break. He didn’t get a lunch break – nor did he get lunch. When he had got to the public toilets the lock on the cubical door had been broken (not that it would have mattered much as he would not have normally been able to reach it without standing on the toilet) and he had been shoved out of the way before he was able to relive himself. Slowly, Cicada plodded up the stairs only to find his office in ruins, his cabinet was on its side; its contents lay next to it. The clock was shattered – its arms bent in all directions. The only thing that wasn’t wrecked was his hidden pile of paper: four months of work remained untouched.

Swiftly, he waddled down the corridor, his trousers brushed the ground – sweeping the dust and dirt off the light grey carpet. In his four hands lay the spreadsheets that were previously hidden under his desk. The clicking of the keyboards in the other offices almost masked the sound of his co-workers footsteps creeping up behind him.

A blue arm shot over his shoulder, grabbing his papers and pulling away. The co-workers sneered as Cicada struggled against the strength of a human. Suddenly cicada fell to the floor as the men swiped at his legs.

Alarmed cicada let out a sudden scream as his co-workers foot plunged into his chest: a brown shoe print was left on cicada’s suit. “Cicada sorry…” Mumbled Cicada, his mandibles tucked back it his mouth. “Cicada do nothing!”

Laughing, the men returned to their desks; wishing the insect that was cicada wasn’t alive. “You little fly you is nuffink to no one!” shouted one of the men from his office. Putting his hands on his face, he cried.

His papers were strewn along the corridor each ripped multiple times. He didn’t bother to retrieve them on his way back home, he only shuffled past them, wiping away his tears with his sleeve.

In truth Cicada didn’t have a home – he lived in the office wall space. He had a makeshift clothes hanger (a power cable) and a coffee table (the power box). Rats occasionally scurried past his cubical and would eat away at his shoes. The pipes would rattle and hum all through the night; he wondered what they held. The dull-grey crumbling walls reflected his mood throughout the day. Tomorrow knew he had to make a change.

He returned to the H.R office – this time with an even simpler message – Cicada resign. He wasn’t at all nervous, what could the manager do to him after he leaves? But then it struck him like a bullet to the chest. He would have no home, no money and no job. He would be nothing. Nothing… he couldn’t take another day working there. He had to do it.

Cicada pushed the door open with all four hands and cautiously stepped inside. He swallowed the lump in this throat and spoke “C-c-cicada retire; cicada tired of unfair treatment, cicada stop work.” He turned to leave but a voice stopped him before he did.

“Clean your desk.” Cicada stumbled out of the door and headed for the top of the building. Time to say goodbye.

Cicada stared into the almost endless city. The grey buildings were almost indistinguishable to their shadows. He stepped closer to the edge and looked down. That’s where he will finish his life, exactly where he started.

Suddenly, he felt a sensation in the back of his head; it seemed to be spreading down his back and towards his forehead. His heart raced as his skin slipped over his eyes. His arms where a vibrant vivid red and he felt two strange cape like arms unfolding on his back. He jumped… the capes opened up and he soared above the buildings along with his thousands of brothers and sisters and back to the forest.

Cicada re-write by Gabriel cocks


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