The first time I saw my own blood under a microscope, I was in high school. We were supposed to be looking at pond scum, but I pricked my finger when my teacher wasn’t looking.
Translucent disks, each like a tiny, unrolled scarlet condom, drifted though the microscope’s viewing pane. Millions of them. They were my red blood cells. I was a healthy, sanguine kid.
Now, looking at my “blood” through what may have been exactly the same microscope—Chris had stolen it from the high school, after all—I saw something totally different.
Not a single red blood cell remained. Legions of microscopic organisms propelled themselves languidly through a pale fluid—the honey that had replaced my blood.
I’d prepared myself to feel revolted by the parasites in my veins. But I wasn’t. These tiny, single-cell creatures appeared only peaceful, bobbing and dancing around one another, surviving in the only way they knew how.
Earlier that morning, at dawn, I’d woken up to a faint but distinctively eerie sound.
I sat up slowly and listened.
A murmur of what sounded like human voices whispered through the dwellings and echoed softly across the cliff’s walls.
It wasn’t my imagination. Just when I thought I’d lost the sound, the murmuring would pick up for a moment, then die back down again to a barely-audible rustle.