It began with a brainstorm of Stop and Start (one person wrote stop…(something) and then passed it on, for the other to write a start response) which I’d intended to leave as an exercise in itself…but the lists were so heartfelt, and the suggestion came to use it as inspiration for a story.
This is what I wrote. Please remember this was written in just ten minutes, and has not been edited. This felt like a huge topic for me and at the moment it’s a bit fragmented, as a piece of writing, but I wanted to share it exactly as I wrote it…thought I may play with it in future. This was inspired by:
Stop cruelty to animals, Start recognising the value and vulnerability of all life.
It was small things. Pulling the legs off daddy long legs, frying ants with a magnifying glass, treading on a spider that was rushing for the safety of a dark corner. She didn’t like it, but that was just what boys did. She raised her eyebrows, but didn’t intervene. They’d only tease her, call her wet, a sissy, after all – these were just insects – there were millions of them, and surely, they were too tiny to feel.
“The grass is made so green by the nitrates,” he explained. “Farmers add them to bulk the grass up so their cattle will produce higher milk yields.”
He continued, “but that grass is too tough for grasshoppers. They decrease in number, and the birds go hungry.”
She took photos, that early morning, of the spider webs lining the hedgerows that had caught the morning dew and were sparkling like nets full of diamonds. She’d cupped a small spider in her hands once, felt it tickle her palms as she took it to the window, more scared now of squishing it than of this mini eight legged beast itself.
The little things. Ants will sacrifice themselves for the good of the whole, build bridges of their own bodies for others to walk safely over.
The web of cruelty was out of her hands, distanced from her supermarket cheddar wrapped in cling film and far from the green fields where grasshoppers no longer fed and birds went hungry. But she didn’t pull the legs off daddy long legs, or fry ants, or tread on spiders.
I found a couple of links you may be interested in reading as a follow up.
If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here: