Bug Compass is a short story from the "Pixel Juice" collection in the Vurt series, written by author Jeff Noon.



The early days of Beetle's and Scribble's friendship, the first taste of Vurt.


The events take place in Manchester, near Shakespeare Estate, where both boys originate from.


The 7-year-old Scribble and the 10-year-old Beetle (whose real name appears to be Eliot) spend summer together, hunting candle bugs and selling them to Uncle Slippy. who re-sells them as living cigarette lighters. The Uncle tells them about a compass bug (a "hideous" 2-inches long black and orange bug with a black cross on his back). He says that "if you find one of those, you'll never get lost." He is willing to pay generously for a female compass bug, so the boys decide to catch it.

Eliot steals a black Vurt feather from Uncle Slippy because he wanted to learn how to tame candle bugs and reckoned the feather might help him. The boys share their first ever Vurt trip. The feather takes them to Scribble's house, where they successfully catch a compass bug in the kitchen. Having returned to the bedroom, they experience a strange homoerotic scene, which was apparently a part of Uncle Slippy's sexual fantasy. When the trip is over, Eliot tells Scribble that "It never happened." Their frustration is doubled as it turns out the bug they've caught was a male, a cheap common catch. Uncle Slippy is furious about his "stolen pleasures", as well as about the fact the boys having a bug from the Vurt without leaving anything as an exchange. It is unknown what has Vurt swapped back.

Eliot starts keeping distance with Scribble and hangs out with a company of his own age. He keeps the dead compass bug in a box, which earns him his nickname, The Beetle.