Before it was called Earth. Before people walked its lands. Before any creature stirred on the surface, a spaceship crashed. The silver vessel streaked orange through the sky and landed in with a plop and a hiss into the water. It sank until its downward velocity ran out and then it bobbed to the surface. The spaceship remained dormant for some time. Drifting on the waves. Was it waiting for land? Was it taking measurements of the atmosphere? No one was around to ask those questions and no answers came from inside. Finally, the spaceship sounded a metallic click followed by a hiss as air rushed both in and out of the ship. Seconds pass. The click sounded again. Minutes pass. A knocking and then a banging from the inside. The craft swayed back and forth on the waves before it flipped. The banging continued as bubbles surrounded the silver. Then the craft sank beneath the waves. The banging stopped before it reached the bottom. Hour pass. Days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries. Time flies when there’s no one to pass it.
Whatever was inside separates from itself. It decomposes down as far as it can, but it doesn’t disperse. The waves flow around it, but the particles that once were this thing stick together in a sort of underwater cloud of death. Eventually, life happens. Not to this once dead thing, but elsewhere. Life starts and spreads. The water becomes a home with this spaceship its neighbor.
The spaceship and its sticky dead particles remained at the bottom of this now life filled ocean. Alone and undisturbed, but not forever. Eventually, the living reached them. To say that the microscopic creatures were afraid of this foreign object would be wrong, but there was something in their biology somewhere that told them not to approach. For generations upon generations nothing would mingle with the visitor’s remains. If this behavior had continued for eternity, the dead molecules would have remained just that, dead, inert, stuck. But they didn’t. Whether you anthropomorphize the creature with bravery or call it a genetic mutation where it didn’t have this aversion to the spaceship and its once inhabitant, or perhaps even still it was a slipstream of the water that the creature couldn’t get away from. Whatever the case, a living being found itself inside of the dead one. Then they were no longer two beings. They were no longer dead, and no longer alive. They were both. They, the new it, continued to do what the loose conglomeration of death had done for so long before, it waited. Yet, it did so with one difference from before. It sensed.
It could sense and think. It felt apart from the water, but still, it was the water. It drew into itself. The molecules contracted and it forced the water from it. This was actually it. This small ball of mass separate from everything else, but it didn’t like that. It wanted to feel the water again. It wanted to feel with the water again. It let itself spread as far as it could and it felt great. It could cover an area no bigger than the spaceship, but it experienced something akin to happiness. It experienced satisfaction—fullness.
This process of self-exploration had taken some time, and life was more complex. The smaller organisms continued to keep their distance from it. Whenever it would expand or contract, they would somehow know and retreat or advance accordingly. That’s when something bigger approached—a fish. It likewise, kept its distance, but the being could sense something different about it. It could sense the fish’s curiosity. The fish would approach and back away with a different tempo and awareness than the other creatures around. So, the being contracted into the ball it hated being and waited. The fish gave it some room, but after some time, it closed the distance. The being expanded. The fish was inside of it. The fish was it. It was the fish. It consumed the fish. The being knew about breathing and swimming and parts of the water it had never been able to see. The being expanded. It was larger now, it could go farther now. It could feel all the water between itself and it was all the water between itself. It felt better than it had when it expanded previously. Where once it was content, it knew it could no longer be content with just waiting. For if this amount of area felt better than before, imagine reaching to the places that it had only seen with the fish’s memories.
More time passed. It waited for more fish to approach, but none came as close as the one had before. So it took to contracting itself and expanding to see if that could elicit the same feelings as when it had first expaned. It didn’t, but it did learn more about itself. When it contracted, it didn’t have to become that ball. It could control its contractions. It remembered the shape of the fish and it could become that shape. It remembered how the fish moved and it could twist and turn its shape to do the same. It was no longer bound to the area in which it had arrived. It could move away. It set out to find more fish. It found them. It consumed them it grew. It grew and grew and every time it expanded it felt better and better. Then it hit the walls. It expanded to a point where it could no longer expand. It was the water. It felt everything inside of it. It was everything inside of it. All of the microscopic pieces that avoided it, were now it. That’s when it learned it had needlessly consumed all of the fish. There was some in between that was both apart of and apart from it. All these small being in the water existed in both states, but, unlike the fish, they still existed.
The being experienced something most would describe as sadness but was more accurately an emptiness. It was the water. It was everything in the water. But everything in the water was so much less than what it could have been.
It waited in that emptiness. It experienced being a whole. It felt the sunlight on its surface. It felt the coolness of its cage. It felt the vibration of something new? A new creature jumped in. It kicked its legs and propelled itself through the being. The being that was the water did not consume it, but became it nonetheless. Out of itself it created more of this new creature, and with it’s newfound legs it left itself. Time passed. It journeyed outside of its cage and experienced the world. It saw that its cage was so much smaller than it felt. There were bigger places and bigger creatures too. It wanted to be all of those. While part of its splitscreen consciousness explored new things, the rest of it probed at its cage. Eventually finding that it wasn’t a cage, it was just another boundary to be overcome. It seeped through the walls and became one with the ground. It fed itself to the vegetation nearby and became those too. Powered by the visions of its other self, it crafted what was once this small body of water into a humid biome of being. It created life like the other had seen, small flying creatures to stock the trees it had become. Buzzing creatures that skimmed its own surface and fed the jumping bits of itself. It became it own cycle of life slowly creeping outward.
In time, the frog returned to itself. Their split memories became one. It experienced jealousy against itself from both sides simultaneously. The frog was jealous of how the swamp had expanded and the swamp was jealous of how the frog had seen and done so much in its time away. The end result was the same for both now one, they needed more. They needed more expansion through the land and waters. They needed more of this world to be theirs. They needed a larger form to compete with those on the outside.
The swamp sits as silent as a swamp can sit. It bubbles and gurgles. The insects nearby never cease their cries. Bird in the trees sound with regular irregularity. How much of the biome is this one being? How much is separate but still apart of it. How much is completely foreign, not yet assimilated. Perhaps even the being doesn’t know at this point. A frog jumps out from the murky water and onto the land. A second follows. Soon, too many bound from the swamp. They converge on a planned spot near a fallen tree. They pile on one another and writhe and croak as more and more join the fray. The shape of a human body starts to emerge. The frogs begin to melt into one another. Their dividing lines divide them no longer until eventually they are all one again. A new one. A one seen before on its long frog journey about in the world. Now, it pushes itself off the ground with its newly created limbs. It stumbles. It didn’t absorb one of this kind, it only recreated this body from its own memories, so the control isn’t what it could be. It pushes up again and stands for a second before losing balance and falling. It picks itself off the ground and braces against the fallen tree. It tries to take a step and starts to stumble, but instead catches itself by forming a new leg underneath it. It does this for some distance before it fully falls again. Instead of picking itself up from the ground, frogs leap upward from the fallen body forming a new torso and head as they re-merge into themselves in the air. It continues in this way for some time, before it actually starts to get the hang of this walking thing. It would be even more time before it would look like it knew how to walk to others, but no amount of perfection in the walk would disguise its true nature from the humans it would soon meet. They were more concerned with the looks of the being and they would scream before it silenced them and absorbed them and only then did it learn how it would fit in with them—by sticking to the shadows.