Singing Roach Rosy (MG redesign contest) chapter 1: The Founding Of a Star


CHAPTER 1: The Founding Of a Star


Disclaimer: Though focused on a known species of mamono, this narrative is set in a universe where certain laws do not apply, and so may feature aspects problematic to some such as male mamono, as well as gray subject matter and instinctive deviance. If any of these topics are triggering or offensive, please cease and depart. Do not use this narrative to troll, harass the author of the work, or distribute it to malefactors. Thank you.

Foreword: This is the first time in history where I finally post here lol. Prepare for some crappy beige prose and some blank room syndrome as your side and lack of variety for your drink, HAVE FUN! and mge cultist dni…


 

Rosy gazed out from the comfort of the manhole, her heart stirred by the bustling city above her. Both man and monster walked, trotted, crawled, and flew wherever the wind took them. Some went to work. Others traveled to other locales to socialize or enjoy freshly brewed coffee on a sunlit afternoon. Her senses twitched and waggled at a fresh scent. Rosy’s nostrils inhaled the odor of greasy pizza before the fragrance of delicious chili peppers tickled her feelers. Nostalgia, unseen yet palpable. The melancholic force seeped like a gentle, familiar melody, causing a variety of tunes to play at her throat. Rosy quickly shoved it down as panicked sweat poured.

If she sang even once, they’d know. The folks above didn’t take kindly to her. If anything, they’d grab her by the feelers and squash her head. Her body hanging in front of millions shivered her exoskeleton.

Rosy followed the trail towards Jo’s Pizzeria. Mama and Pa never brought it up, but the dumpsters nearby were like a pizza graveyard. Last week, she and her siblings noticed a pattern – always the flavors no one liked. Still better than those ancient canned apple sleeves Mama tried to salvage. The aftertaste stuck around, and getting rid it ended in a scuffed tongue.

However, she’d go hungry if Ma couldn’t cook. No way she’d trust Pa with pickled rat tails, let alone Ma’s signature stew. That’s why, as of today, Rosy alone set off for this day’s dumpster dive

Her antennae sensed the previously harsh echoes of protest. The alleyway stared down her neck from the rear, far from prying eyes. A shadow man, made from the congealed essence of dark forces, presumably roamed. The younger ones talked non stop about him. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were never free from the hushed tales of the shadow man snatching poor, wary souls from the dark corners of the void. As an adult devil bug, she was too old for these nymph tales, despite feeling frightened.

Driven, she skittered across like a brown and pink blur, stopping to nestle in the darker parts of the alley. The dumpster loomed in silent vigil as she climbed over. In one go, she lifted the lid and scanned it for this week’s goodies. Junk and sealed trash bags. The young roach struggled to find anything of value. The humans had woken up to their tricks, had they? A pang of suspicion pointed to the raccoon boys.
Those good for nothing pains in the thorax!

They’d intercepted their weekly dumpster dives, jumped on little Sis, and that time they tied her over a lamp pole. Poor thing couldn’t fend for herself, let alone take on three full-sized raccoon guys. Biggest Bro intervened like a valiant knight, protecting them from the wretched vermin who dared to disrupt their scavenging routine.

A wet and spongy thing sploshed against her fingertips. Oh!? Yanking it out, a soggy breadstick flopped into her grasp. Who, in their right mind, dumps a perfectly fresh piece of bread? In a literal trash heap, no less. Well, food is food, Mama always said. Bread had gone low this month, and little Sis couldn’t get enough. She’s the first to shout “Bread!” during dives, and the last to carry a handful home, her little hands making sure no bread went un-snatched.

Rosy slipped from the dumpster and focused her attempts at getting out of here. To stay much longer than a second would risk “those guys” coming to nab the only food on her person. Finding food, good food, was a rarity — she couldn’t bear to lose even a crumb.

A sleek gray blur swooshed past, sending her reeling towards the ground. Slipping out, the breadsticks skidded through the air, halting inches from the manhole. Rosy would’ve felt relief if a trio of familiar faces hadn’t come rearing in.

Not the raccoon boys. Things usually went fine till they showed up. Each wore a grin embodying mischief incarnate, spelling trouble no matter how you put it. One of their eyes angled at the breadstick. She broke into a sweat. Don’t you dare or by Beelz’s beard–

Zoom! Faster than lighting, he bolted like a tiger upon seeing its prey. The soggy “deer”, the breadstick, stood motionless as she stumbled over the fray, her wings leveraging towards speed.

A thunderous screech broke free from her lips. “IT’S MINE!”

It was later in the day, so thankfully fewer folks were there to witness four ravenous scavengers scrambling for the last sliver of gluttonous glory. If Big Bro was here, he’d laugh till the moon went blue. The echoes of his signature measly snicker propelled the young roach girl to get that bread no matter the cost. She cared little about the pulling on her hair, the locked arms under her armpit, nor something sharp that gnawed at her leg. Her exoskeleton worked overtime to null any semblance of pain.

Quick, she used her leg to deliver a hard slam to the jaw. The stupid masked fool flew writhing in pain as the other two gazed at their brother, briefly paralyzed with fear. Sparing time, she seized the prize while slipping free of her captors’ grasp.

“Hey! Where’d da bread go?”

“SHE GOT IT!”

Oh no…

She was a girl devilbug, so her wings were less actual wings and more over-glorified propellers. She could leap for the roof, but racoons were climbers just like roaches, so keeping them off her trail was probably hopeless. Rosy prayed to Beelzebub to muffle her assailants under a pile of garbage.

Ba-boom. The raccoons froze in their tracks. The earth rumbled beneath them, sending tremors through the ground. The air became charged with an undeniable force, and a sense of foreboding hung in the stillness. The raccoon boys, usually quite cheeky, tingled as the approaching presence grew stronger.

“Leave.”

That deep resounding voice. Waves of thunder reverberated through the caverns of her mind and perhaps there’s. Her Biggest brother towered over her and a bundle of quivering bandits as his shadow practically took over even the alley.

“Breadstick’s ours,” he proclaimed, and under his command, they complied.

They scurried in all directions, leaving just the two roachfolk to soak in the victorious aroma in the air. Mustering her courage, she asked, “how’d you know?”

He pointed at his feelers.

“Oh?” she said unsurprisingly. “Well, thank you.”

“Ma and pa worried sick, you know.” He said plainly in his usual stoic inflection. “Best to leave.”

“I know…”

She hoped this day marked the end of those masked idiots’ escapades. If Biggest Bro hadn’t stepped in, she would’ve been coon mush. It brought a pang of happiness to her heart along with a smooth gentle warmth knowing her favorite brother had her back. Big bro would leave her to die and Little Sis would wind up just like her, steamrolled and left to boil under the sun’s scorching whips.

Offering his hand, Rosy’s fingers could only rest on his palm as the two slipped into the manhole.

─────☙✦❧─────

The scent trails of home greeted her nose, rousing the seated throngs of relief, accompanied by the eerie sounds of dripping water and echoing skittering of rats.

The tunnel led downwards and then right to the main Underslums, where the lower levels were located. She and her family had made their quaint home in a place known as Scrapyard Heights, an unconventional neighborhood built from discarded debris, repurposed shipping containers, and forgotten dumpsters. Those who lived above ground often overlooked this community, but it thrived on life and resilience despite its humble origins.

As the murky waters lapped at her toes, they both carefully navigated them to move downstream, then turned east when the flow sloped more steeply, revealing a massive entrance that beckoned ahead.

It’s a heap, but it was their heap. Thank goodness she lived long enough to see it again. Having to fight tooth and nail for some bread stole the wind out of her.

The trek was rife with greetings from neighbors, a few welcome back gifts, and the odd insult levied at her pink hair. Rosebud was common, though it felt less like an insult, and more like those rib-pressing nicknames you give among friends.

The home, a product of the tender touch of a storage container and adorned with a roof crafted from repurposed solar panels, smelled of pa and ma’s handy work. Ma wanted the roof nice and sleek, whereas Pa made the body sturdier and more resilient, like the enduring strength of a devil bug’s tenacity.

The Underslums enjoyed (or hated) its fair share of unpredictable floods, dank sewer odors, and occasional critter visitors. Her family was just now recovering from last week’s rat invasion. Pa recently installed a makeshift barricade around the area, hoping to prevent such an event from happening again. It took them until dawn to get their stock up to snuff, replenishing not only their wares but also Ma’s prized collection of homemade herbal remedies. All her peers swear by the lavender, chamomile, and calendula trinity. Anything else, Ma’s skin might melt off. So it was up to the rest to gather some from their dives. Herbs were rare commodities as discarding such treasures was no short of unthinkable.

Cases like them desired a different measure. They usually prohibited anything besides dumpster dives because they feared that humans and others might spot them. But over the cloak of night, the park became free for looting.

One knock on the door, and it flung open and Rosy found her back against the ground.

“OH, MY BABY’S HOME!” exclaimed a soft, motherly voice followed by the pressing of Rosy’s poor waist. “Are you hurt?! Oh my goodness, what happened to your hair?!”

Ma singled out one ripped strand from the dozen or so locks from her head. The young roach, occupied with coming home at last, didn’t mind combing her hair into a sane and presentable look. They may be literal roach people, but they weren’t savages.

“Sorry ma, me and those coons had a scuffle,” Rosy cast her sweetest smile out of reassurance for ma. “No biggie. See?”

She offered her arm. Ma narrowed her gaze, inspecting each nook and cranny of her arm provided by the trailing of her fingers, then directed her soft, welling eyes into her own.

“Thank goodness.” she exhaled softly. “Come now, y’all favorite’s getting cold~”

Both expressed gratitude before heading in.

─────☙✦❧─────

Her feelers tingled at the sharp aroma of Ma’s signature stew. The twins rustled over the last corn while Big bro leaned on the rackety spool, taking in a good handful of popcorn. Being the first to enter, Rosy prowled, stealing a seat near the end of the table—repurposed from a pallet hoisted by a few spools. Pa, at the other end, drank a liter of beer before nibbling on an aged fast food burger. Some bits dripped on his tank top—not like he cared—then he went back to snorting another liter in one gulp.

Once Biggest Bro entered, the table hushed into a symphony of silence. Pa’s eyes met his before resuming his concerning mealtime.

“Ey, bro,” big bro spoke up. “Finally saved the damsel, ey?”

Thank Beelz he stood silent.

“For the record, ” Rosy stated pedantically. “Was just fine before they showed up.”

“Well, you’re a mess.” Big bro chuckled, a mischievous glint in his eye. “Lemme guess, did the coon boys come over and scruff yea up, Rosebud?”

Heat stole her face. The gull of this man to mock her in front of Pa and Ma, right after being ambushed and nearly beaten near the inch of her life. The fact they’re related didn’t absolve the animosity boiling within. His smug grin etched across his punchable face as her patience became gaseous.

Ma idled with her fingers twiddled, whereas Pa continued to down yet another liter of beer, setting it down by the audible thud of glass on wood. The twins finally put their fight to a stalemate, just to bear witness to the impending verbal smackdown.

“You little–”

Biggest Bro, savior turned gatekeeper, was a step between Rosy’s yearning to slap a fool.

“Family we all are,” Biggest Bro declared, turning to Ma. “Some stew, please.”

“Coming right up, sweetie.” Ma sang, heading for the pot and ladled a helping on top of his bowl.

Pa finally spoke. “What ya got?” A flash of bread widened his eyes. “Is that it?”

Rosy sadly shook her head.

Rosy thought about little old sis, sound asleep in her cotton sewn bed, dreaming of raining breadsticks and Big Sis tossing her so high she met the clouds. She wasn’t here to see her muse scrabble among family all over an unlucky dive. The pie in the sky outlook fueled her little sis after all. No man was born mean, as she put it. Big bro had his ways, though crass, of comforting family. Less harsh on Ma after she whacked his head as a wee nymph. That’s what you get when you play and find out, mama said, after jarring his head before it bleed blue.

“Oh, for the love of Beelz, how’re we gonna live this off for a week?” pa motioned to the whole family.

“Always Ma’s stew” Rosy retorted lightly.” Or maybe we could ration it for a month?”

Pa cocked a brow like her head became confetti. “What? Do I look like I have months?”

“Well sweetie,” Ma interjected, “she has a point. Winter’s coming up and food won’t knock at our doorstep?”

“We’re roaches for crying out loud?” He gestures aggressively, the table and bottles trembling. “A single setback ain’t gonna kill nobody. We either starve or take what we get!”

A myth and a fallacy in one. Way to go, dad. Rosy rolled her eyes until they reached her eye sockets. You’ll tell me the nuclear rapture will spare us while the rest go extinct.

His tirades aren’t new. He went on a crazed ramble last week around Abovelanders stringing along so the Underslums toiled away in abject poverty. I mean, who else could explain the lack of funds, secrecy, and said conditions? Anything else, like maybe some “vermin ” liking this way. She, admittedly, didn’t, but it beat living above ground fighting for her life. Today’s scuffle reminded her of that and then some.

Rosy sighed but held her sanity for their sake. Her vacuous heart hummed to her–tell them, tell them–what they really need. She won’t sugarcoat it, these dives, they weren’t enough. She needed some relief from the shortages, mishaps, and the fear that one day the Slums would implode on itself. Keeping it inside was ripping her body in two and at this rate, If she never let it out, it would leave Rosy a husk.
So, with bated breaths. “Everyone… What if…I became a singer? A very famous singer? So that maybe…maybe we can finally move out and make a name for ourselves?”

“A what?” Big Bro uttered in disbelief.

Ma broke her gaze, leaving the twins in a state of both curiosity and befuddlement. Meanwhile, Pa wore a face of darkness, and Biggest bro went MIA. In the midst of it all, Rosy’s realization struck deep.

Oh what was I thinking!

“We’re slinkers not singers.” Pa said plainly. “You’d sooner be a mop girl than a star, hon. Give it up.”

“But Pa, this could be our big break? finally eating proper food, living in a nice yacht or…”

“Zip it, head up, and hit the hay. Dinner’s dismissed.”

Well that worked out…
No sound deadening yells, or a tossed apple, or an abrupt break from the house. None were in order. But having gone up in defeat weighed on her chest. Her trek of shame led up to her bedroom–hers and Little Sis’s actually. They couldn’t afford more rooms so they did a joint deal where two or more shared a space together. For some, it worked wonders, others not so much. Big bro screeched a storm when he and biggest had to share one. His rambunctious motormouth combined with his stoic defending silence were like oil and water. Neither could mix even if they wanted to.

Her and Sis told a tale of peanut butter and chocolate. Rosy was always there to comfort her during nightmares, to read her to sleep, and hum a soft lullaby. Little Sis was surprisingly awake, her soft doe eyes nestling into Rosy as she ambled into her bed, slumped and defeated.

“I heard everything,” Little Sis whispered. “Is papa mad?” Her little hands bunched the tips of her blanket, as if pa could snatch her up at any moment and let her meet the monster under the bed.

Rosy simply sighed. “Papa…Papa’s upset but he’s not mad, okay?”

Nothing like a fine beer won’t fix. The several liters he ingested weren’t enough to cull his temper. Rosy could tell a nasty bunch based on his mood, and it seemed like a horrid one if his quick discarding of her dreams were any sign. Actually, why is she awake?

“Lilly, are you sleepy?”

The little nymph shook her head. Without the shadow of a doubt, sleep wouldn’t come easily tonight. Hoping to allay her worries, Rosy slipped out of her bed and headed to Lilly’s, lying near the bedside.

“How about a song, huh? For old time’s sake.”

Little Sis’s warm smile beckoned her to hum a gentle tune, one plucked from cotton clouds and wishing stars. Growing and flowing, lyrics of heartbreak winded into hope, a yearning of the future afar. Dreams and realities danced hand in hand in a waltz towards heaven, where Rosy’s fears, demons, and convictions melted away, leaving behind a trail of dispersed serenity in its wake.

Rosy stopped seamlessly. With Lilly fast asleep, it was time for her nightly warm-ups. By then, her footfalls became drops of feather plumes against the ragged floorboards. Ma was the deepest sleeper among all, Pa a close second. Her leaving was a blip in their sleep cycle. Good thing too since beforehand, Pa wasn’t keen on being disturbed.

She doesn’t slink, she sang, and she will sing her heart out till her larynx grew bare.

In a quick swooping maneuver, the eager young devil bug exited home and aimed for her usual singing spot: above ground.

─────☙✦❧─────

The empty, acoustically perfect alley, with its vacant walls and echoing silence, served as Rosy’s chosen stage.

“Five hundred, twenty-six thousand—crud—ok again.”

Rosy cleared her throat. The scuffle from earlier was getting to her, wasn’t it? She had been popping off lines for days, but now her lips wavered when she wanted a note in.

And it was the most rehearsed song too— “Seasons of Love.” The Cupid troupe often sang it during February, where love hung in the air, couples’ hands intertwined as they savored these moments together. Her heart burst, ruminating on various small things she’d do with her lover. But sadly, love never crossed her mind as she stood in her box solitude, holding out a mug for a dash of love. Perhaps knowing she’d find love, fame, and fortune should be the key to her pursuit.

“Five hundred, twenty-six thousand, six hundred minutes…”

She closed her eyes and felt the breeze wrap around her like the welcoming tendrils of a familiar friend. As the lyrics flowed out, she released the tension in her shoulders and let her voice soar. The gentle hum of the city above, the rustle of the wind, and the distant murmur of passing footsteps formed an accidental symphony to accompany her.

“Five hundred, twenty-six thousand, six hundred minutes…”

With each verse, Rosy allowed herself to lose the grip on her surroundings. The earlier frustration melted into the lyrics. The melody buried the uncharted fear of failure and Pa’s disappointment, leaving only the purity of her voice behind.

“Five hundred, twenty-six thousand, six hundred minutes…”

The song echoed in the alley, perhaps reaching the ears of some unsuspecting night wanderers or insomniac pigeons. For Rosy, this impromptu performance became an emotional release. The lyrics, once rehearsed to monotony, now felt like a cathartic expression of her struggles, dreams, and the ticking seconds of an uncertain future.

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear…”

“Five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes
Five hundred, twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?”

Once she passed that stanza, the next sent a jolt through her skin, causing her body to dance amidst the cold concrete beneath her toes.

“In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife”

“In five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in a life?”

Her vocal range soared into a symphony of celestial notes, each melody so profound that the heavens themselves took notice, cradling her voice in a celestial embrace as if the stars themselves were applauding her performance. She quickly pearly gates, threads of song streaming back into her throat, as soft footsteps echoed from behind.

Was it the shadowman?

But the deliberate claps disrupted her theory. A sharp-dressed tanuki strolled into the alley wearing a smirk on his sunglass-clad face. Each step carried a swagger almost intoxicating.

The man must have taken “how to stride” classes because she envied the way he hauled himself into her presence like a maestro in a grand symphony.

“Bravo, bravo.” He congratulated her. “Très magnifique, madame!”

Huh.

A high tenor laced his inflection, leaving her to wonder if he was serious or just a wannabe crooner. With that slickly professional outfit and shoes that must have cost a fortune, hastily jumping to conclusions may put her in more debt than she bargained.

Look at the heart, not the face

Little Sis’s modus operandi. If she was here, pushing her down that path was in order. Rosy could see her eyes brimming with starlight as her big sis pranced on the stage entertaining millions, winning awards, and a harem of cute butlers at her beck and call. Their worries were put to rest as her family became set for life. And just maybe, big bro would finally eat his words.

Elated, she quickly zoomed way in, right up to his noses. “Are you legit?”

“Why yes I am,” he replied with a smile ”Here’s my credential, sweetheart.”

One rummage from the rear came a card. It listed his name—Eric Takashi—then his details, and most importantly his credentials.

“Legit enough for yea?”

Rosy’s eyes grew wide.

“Oh? You could hook me up with a manager?!”

“Sure can, and much, much more!” Eric Takashi exclaimed. “How about a proposition? You and I taking the world by storm. What’ll it be, buttercup?”

As he said this, Rosy found her waist encircled by his arm while he gestured to the sky above. Then, facing her, she could see the glint in his eyes. The glint of ambition.

“I…I accept?”

“Well then, it’s settled.” letting her go, turned on his heel, but before he floored it…”oh, meet me by noon at central park. Don’t keep me waiting~!”

It’s actually happening. Rosy couldn’t believe it herself. Her, a run of mill, born on the wrong side girl, becoming a star? Not only that, managers, possibly makeup artists, designers. The whole nine yards! Her body was gonna burst. Her!

Take that world, I’M GONNA BE A STAR!

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