A piece from several years ago that I recently revised.
An invasive species has taken hold in Earth’s northern and western hemispheres and is rapidly increasing in the southern and eastern.
The creatures race through Homo sapiens settlements in herds, scooping up large numbers of them and forcing others out of their way. Eventually they come to temporary rest, occupying spaces that the H. sapiens build for them.
Their preferred habitat, however, is on the edges of the settlements, where they burrow into and occupy large portions of sapiens homes.
The creatures travel rapidly on narrow rollers that slowly wear away and are shed and replaced. The discarded limbs are foul smelling and serve as breeding grounds for insects, but dirty the water when buried and the air when burned, so the sapiens invent new uses for them, such as playground equipment for their offspring.
The creature’s preferred diet is comprised of decomposed plant and animal matter, cured for millions of years underground and extracted at great cost and labor for them by the sapiens. They’ve also, however, been known to consume french fry grease, corn liquor, and juice from electric fuel cells.
They don’t hibernate in the winter, but do sometimes slow down and increase their intake of salt. Some grow large shovel-like snouts that they use to remove snow from their paths. The paths are made of asphalt and concrete, byproducts of their preferred diet that they shit in wide strips. The offal hardens and becomes impenetrable, creating problems for the soil and waterways needed by the sapiens to grow their own food.
The creatures also pass a variety of gases—some that change the weather and others that cause the sapiens to choke.
If the species continues to reproduce as rapidly as it has, it’s unclear where they’ll go and if it will be possible to bring the sapiens with them.
—Bridget C. Brown