From territory to territory we have roamed. We prefer the warm, the dark, the places with circulation and room to expand. There are explosive moments, expulsions that carry us forth to new homes, and no matter how few we might be when we move beyond the blinding like back into the darkness, we grow stronger and in number until we are ready to expand once again.

The new territory is unlike anything we’ve experienced. We had more room before. Things were relatively stable. The sounds were soothing, the feeling comfortable. Now, things are chaotic. There are violent, explosive noises within. Other noises are without, things we do not understand. And then we, as one, our people and our home, are moving faster than we’ve ever moved before, a longer distance than we’ve ever known.

Strange, caustic chemicals flow through our territory. We die in droves. We struggle to survive. We avoid the places where the death pumps in towards us, gather our strength, shelter our numbers. When we’re ready, when the time is right, we strike. The territory convulses. We fly free. And we find new homes.

We multiply, we continue, we spread. This territory is vast and varied, but similar enough. The warmth helps us grow. The movement takes us far. Even as one part of the territory does dark and cold, others gather and we find new, warm, dark places to take root and grow.

Never before could we have imagined being so many. Not in our wildest dreams did we see ourselves being this spread out. From one to another we speak, we strike, we grow. We embrace our manifest destiny.

Though our territories may wither and die, we remain strong.

Some believe these resources are finite. At some point sooner or later, they say, the fuel will run out, the territory will no longer be vital, and we will cease to exist.

Perhaps. But until then, we thrive.

We rise.

We are one.

For GISHWHES I was challenged to write a story from the perspective of a virus.