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Tap, tap, tap.

Sophodra glanced up at the sound that had become familiar to her after so long. Out of all the vertebrates she had seen (and captured) over the years, the source of the tapping was still by far the strangest.

Humans were supposed to be pack creatures, and yet this one had seemed surprisingly content by itself.

Tap, tap, tap.

Knowing that it wouldn’t stop unless she paid it attention, the praying mantis exhaled through her spiracles.

“I’m coming.”

They might not be able to communicate in a way that both could understand, not yet, but rudimentary gestures seemed to be working so far. This one didn’t seem particularly keen on making the odd noises with their mouths that the others did anyways.

Sophodra leaned over the terrarium and tilted her head.

“Well? What is it?”

The human got up and raised its arms, jumping up and down. It was something that Sophodra had never seen before, mostly because this one had never been the most energetic of humans.

“You…want more cloth?” she guessed, gesturing to the pile of fabric that she had given the human.

The human shook its head and repeated the motion, jumping up and down with its arms outstretched.


Did it want out?

Sophodra hesitated. She didn’t usually take them out of their enclosures, mostly because it was all too easy for the tiny creatures to escape. But would this one take the risk? She did provide it with food, water, and the soft fabrics it liked, after all.

“If you try to run, you won’t get far,” she advised, though she lowered a claw into the terrarium for the human to cling to. Thank goodness that humans tended to clothe themselves from head to foot, otherwise the strange grease coating their bodies might have rubbed off on her carapace.

That just wouldn’t do.

She raised her claw to get a closer look at the human clinging to her.

“Are you happy now, little one?”

The human didn’t answer, not that Sophodra expected one. Instead, it reached out to her with one of its arms. Then it paused, seeming…hesitant?

Just another one of these creatures’ many quirks, she supposed. But if she wasn’t careful, it wouldn’t be able to hold on for much longer. She moved her other claw so that the human wasn’t relying solely on the grip strength of its upper appendages, allowing it to stand on the flat side of her own.

It was still reaching out to her.

She moved her head closer, peering into its face.

“I don’t understand, what do you want?”

One of the human’s gloved hands placed itself on her face and she froze. What on Tricularia was it doing?

Then it began moving its hand up and down against her carapace.

Was it…petting her?

She could have laughed.

“What an odd little thing you are,” she told it, though she knew it had no idea what she was saying.

Maybe it wouldn’t hurt if she let this one out of its terrarium more often.

Created by Rev Storm CC BY-NC-SA 4.0