The Scorpion and the Frog

                We had fallen together for many centuries before I finally spoke:

"You know what's funny? Well, what I think is funny at least. Most readers believe a story is built of nothing more than the words used to tell it, a common mistake. They follow their structure, plot and character, ignoring the ur-tale that looms beneath. Take, for example, the common parable of the scorpion and frog. I will recount it to you now; you tell me what the story is about:

                "Once, many years ago, a scorpion tired of his mountain home. He began to travel down through the woods, to see what else his world contained. During his journey, he came to a stream he wished to cross. There, on the bank, played a frog. The scorpion approached the amphibian and asked to frog to carry him on his back to the other side.

                "'How do I know you won’t sting me?' The frog asked, naturally wary of the arachnid’s venomous tail.

                "The scorpion replied: 'Because if I do, I’ll die too. I’ll drown.'

"The frog, satisfied, allowed the scorpion to hop on, and began to travel through the current. It was the beginning of spring, and the melting snow had swelled the river's current to a torrent that almost dragged them both under. But the frog fought on, swam through it. A noble creature he held up his end of the bargain and made it through the worst of the flow.

"However, as they approached the other side, he felt a painful sting. Looking around, he saw that the scorpion had indeed stuck him. Paralysis rapidly setting in, he gurgled. 'Scorpion, why did you kill me? Now you have doomed us both.'

                "The scorpion shrugged, or approximated a shrug as best as scorpions know how. 'I couldn't help it. You see, It’s just my nature…'

                "So, entangled together, they sank beneath the waves.

                "Now, tell me, what is that story about?  The impossibility of creatures to overcome their baser natures? How it is God’s will that beasts do what they were created to do—the frog to swim, the scorpion to sting? Both to die? Or is it something else?"

                I smile, tail swishing in the dark.

                "Once, many years ago, I tired of my home. The sulfur, the burning heat, the emptiness. I climbed out of the void to see what else the universe contained. I came across many wonders, dying stars, thick clouds of nebulae, worlds containing nascent intelligent life slouching towards self-destruction. Looming over creation, I collected it all within me.

"Eventually I came to a barrier I could not pass, the end of this known demesne. A blank wall, a ferocious current of nothingness. And there you were, God, my nemesis, waiting to see what came next.

                "'Why should I carry you across?' You asked when I approached. 'He who was banished, carried by I who banished you? Surely you jest. Will you not touch your anti-matter to my matter, thus cancelling out both our powers?'

                "'But then we would both sink into nothing. I would also drown in the void between universes.'

                "You nodded at the sense of that, and so we entered and, well, you know what came next. My sting. Here we are still falling. Even those creatures within me, ignorant of oblivion, tell this tale in their own way as we hurtle down through the black. On a molecular or spiritual level, they know what I have done, what this story is about: the consumption of their known universe. How it all will end, has ended, with we two creatures of the cosmos tumbling off the edge into nowhere.

                "What? No smile, no comment? Not even a rebuke. You’ve said nothing since we entered this null-space. How many times can I apologize? How often must I explain?

                "You see… it was just in my nature."