Once upon a time, in the world of Eyelashes and Sebaceous Glands, there was a mite named Dex.
Dex lived in the follicle of the third eyelash from the left, and for the first several days of his life there was nothing special about him. He ate sebaceous oil and tissue debris like the other mites, and at night he crawled out on to the skin to meet his girlfriend Folli, who lived in the next but one eyelash down.
Then, one day, just after swallowing a particularly tasty drop of mascara-flavoured sebaceous oil, Dex had a revelation. “Why,” he thought to himself, amazed, “how is it that I never thought of it before?”
Hard on the heels of that came a second revelation. “Some higher power must have put this into my head.”
And following that, he had a third revelation. “I must immediately tell all the others all this! They need to know.”
So that night, when all the mites came crawling out of their eyelash follicles to meet their significant others and so on, Dex, instead of crawling all over Folli, as usual, raised himself on the stubs of his legs and shouted, “Everyone, listen to me!”
All the mites left off their talking and fornicating and turned to him with surprise. “What is it, Dex?” Folli asked.
“Have any of you,” Dex said to all the mites, “ever wondered just why we are here?”
The mites looked at each other, or would have if they had possessed eyes. “Why,” one ventured, “to eat oil and dead skin cells and to reproduce, of course.”
“Wrong!” Dex thundered. “Have you ever spent a moment wondering why we are fortunate enough to live in a world where we have cosy hair follicles to inhabit, boyfriends and girlfriends to breed with, and as much sebaceous oil and tissue debris to eat as we would ever want?”
The mites murmured in astonishment. “Well, now that you mention it,” one said, “it is very strange. But what of it?”
“There is only one explanation,” Dex announced. “We live in this ideal world, where we have all we need, because it has been made for us by a divine Creator. He has given us all this, perfectly suited for our requirements. How, otherwise, could we ever have had all this?”
The mites murmured with astonishment again. “But how would this Creator know what we would need?” asked the one who had spoken earlier.
Dex bent an antenna stub towards him in acknowledgement. “He would only know if He had created us, too, of course,” he said. “And because He created this world of eyelashes, oil and debris, all for us, He must love us most dearly. This was all revealed to me, in the first of three Revelations.”
But Folli waggled her antennae at Dex doubtfully. “How do you know all this?” she asked. “How do we know you aren’t just making it up?”
“I could have known none of this,” Dex told her, “if I had not been chosen by Him as His Prophet and Spokesmite. How many untold numbers of generations of Mitedom have lived here, after all, and not one of them have realised it? How could I have known any of this unless I was privileged to be His Prophet? That was my second Revelation, by His divine grace.”
The mites murmured again. “He’s right,” said the one from the audience who had spoken earlier. “He is the chosen Prophet of the Creator.”
“But what is this Creator like?” others asked.
“That will be perhaps Revealed to me someday,” Dex replied. “All I can say is that the third Revelation I have been entrusted with is this: that we must not only be aware of the Creator, but must praise Him for His kindness to us, and His granting us so many blessings, in so many ways.”
“If this is so,” the assembled mites said, “we must at once set to making Him happy, by word and deed.”
Only Folli, however, remained sceptical. “There’s absolutely no proof of anything you’ve been saying,” she said. “There’s absolutely no need to believe in any of this without some evidence.”
But the assembled mites shouted her down. “Heresy!” they shouted. “She is denying the existence of the Creator and His Revelations.”
“I am doing no such thing,” Folli protested. “I am merely stating that there is no reason to accept everything Dex says without question and without evidence. After all, I myself know how unreliable he is, and how wild his imagination.”
“What other reason can you suggest, Folli,” Dex asked smugly, “but a divine Creator, for us finding ourselves in a world so perfectly suited for us? Can you think of anything? I am sure you can’t.”
“Of course I can,” Folli retorted. “Let’s say, for instance, we came to this world from elsewhere and, um, changed to suit ourselves to the conditions, so that we adapted to them, not they to us.”
“That is rubbish,” Dex said firmly. “How could we change? Have you ever seen anyone changing?”
“What further need is there to change,” Folli replied, “when we have already changed enough to fit ourselves to the world we see?”
“And where could we have come from? This is all the world there is, Folli. This is the Universe the Creator made.”
“Or, rather, this is all the universe we know of. How can we tell if there is nowhere else?”
“Can you provide proof of this ‘elsewhere’ you imply exists?” Dex asked, with a smirk.
“No. Can you provide proof of your Creator or these Revelations of yours?”
“Heresy!” some of the mites howled. “She is insulting the Prophet Dex himself!”
“Expel her!” the rest of the mites shrieked. “Throw her out!”
So poor Folli had to crawl away. By great good fortune she managed to make her way over the Bridge of the Nose and to the Other Eye, where she found a home in the second eyelash from the bottom right, and eventually another mite to love her and help her make babies. But enough about her!
Back near the third eyelash from the left, a serious schism had developed.
“If the Creator loves us so much,” one school of thought had decided, “He must have created us to be just like Him. Therefore He must be a Great Mite, perhaps living in the Eyeball.”
“We must therefore worship Him in His image, as a mite like us,” others of this school of thought said.
“Rubbish,” others snapped. “How could a divine Creator be restricted to the form of a mere mite? Surely He hath ten or twelve legs, not just eight, and a pair of long antennae besides.”
“You are both wrong,” another group of mites said. “He has no form or shape, because having a form or shape would degrade Him and restrict His abilities. He is formless and intangible, and yet all powerful.”
“There is no point talking with these stupid mites,” the first mite said to his companion. “Let us therefore go and build a temple to the Great Mite, and worship Him with gifts of oil and debris.”
“Oil and debris?” the second mite asked. “Are you insane? The Great Mite needs and deserves better than mere oil and debris. Nothing less than the sacrifice of our own hearts and souls will suffice for Him.”
“You are both wrong,” said a third mite, who was listening. “The Great Mite can procure all the oil, debris and souls He may want for Himself. You must busy yourselves in studying His essential nature, and in fasting and prayer.”
“Let us go to the Holy Prophet Dex with our question,” the mites decided. So they went to the third eyelash to ask his opinion.
But the Holy Prophet Dex would not give an opinion. Chewing on a drop of mascara-flavoured oil, he listened to them and said that he would have to wait for a Revelation.
Then the mites fell to squabbling among themselves, for they could not wait for a Revelation to make up their minds. And they squabbled so much that in time they spent less and less time eating oil and skin cells, and grew thin and weakly. But the thinner and more emaciated they grew, the brighter the flame of their discord grew.
“I have suffered for my faith more than you,” each said to the other. “Ask the Prophet Dex if you don’t believe me.”
The Prophet Dex nodded his head, and did not answer. There was no way he could have answered anyway. His mouth was too full.
While his acolytes fought busily among themselves, he moved from eyelash to eyelash, eating all the oil and debris from them, one by one.
Copyright B Purkayastha 2014