Phobia – A not so irrational fear.
By Jenny K Brennan
Part 2 of 2
– Read Part 1 here.
“Trust me, you little shit!” I said to the bug. I barely recognized my own voice. I drew in air through my nose in short raspy drags as I rraised a heavy boot and drove it down hard. The thing didn’t even twitch before I crushed it and
squeezed its insides from its shell with a sickening wet crackle. White
stringy slime and black flakes appeared around the edge of the boot.
I stepped back, dragging my foot, and scraped the thing off. “If you hadn’t
bothered me, I wouldn’t have bothered you.”
I stared for another moment and walked to the front door, giddy with
delight. I had to tell David. I smiled, threw the door open and rushed out
on the porch. And there I stopped, fought, and failed, to swallow a whimper.
Crawling, turning, shivering, the oily bugs covered every surface. Patio
set, the truck, garden shed, all layered in shiny black beetles. As I
watched, a clump fell from a maple branch, and my bamboo windchime clattered
for the last time, scattering bugs as it crashed to the ground.
“David, where are you?”, I choked on the words and my legs crumbled beneath
me. I turned toward the garage to call again, and I saw him.
He lay just beyond the porch, covered in bugs. Their thick blanket broke up
as I stared; revealing blue cotton, pale skin, a shrivelled limp hand. They
evacuated his body in moments.
“David.”, I tried to say, but it was locked as a scream in my head.
Cold, numb, I somehow found my feet and went to him. As I dropped down
again, all but one creature moved away. It shivered and buzzed madly,
struggling to get free from a thin gold chain that had slipped between hard
shell and flimsy fraying wings, trapping it.
I grabbed it; wrapped my fingers around bug and chain and ripped it loose. I
felt it shudder and crack, before throwing it into the crowd of retreating
bugs, trailed by a sparkle of gold. I released the scream, a horror without
words, in rage without limits. Then, I saw his face and stopped. If I hadn’t,
I never would have. David didn’t like screaming, he was.
I touched his cold skin. I brushed away his hair and stared at his open
eyes, his slack mouth, waxy white features.
“David.” I whispered. “I killed it, David. I’m not afraid of bugs anymore.”
I looked up from my dead husband, to the house, our house. It was theirs
Thousands, millions of black silent monsters covered every surface. A slow
river of insects poured over doorframe and threshold, taking possession.
That was the final straw. “Evicted am I? You just knock yourselves out you
fucking bastards! Did you forget me? I’m right here!” I screamed. I raged, I
cursed and pleaded until my voice broke.
I lay down beside David and held him, wondering why they wouldn’t come to
take me too, to ease the pain that scraped, clawed, and scratched at me with
its inevitability. “I’m going to wake up soon. Any minute now.”, I told
David as I smoothed out a wrinkle in his shirt.
I pulled my legs up, dragging the heavy boots along the grass, and then I
could smell it. A sharp, sickly bitter scent. It came from the shoes, from
the remains of the one I had crushed. The bastards wouldn’t touch me. I
glared at them, empty of fear. “You fucking cowards!” I sat up and something
eerily like a laugh escaped me, “We’re not having such a great day, are we
honey?” I refused to feel the burning behind my eyelids, and postponed any
recognition of ache.
I eased my feet out of the death-marked work boots, grabbed them both with
my usable hand and threw them. They landed on the porch and bugs nearby
shuffled, jumped, or flew from the scent of death.
In the few seconds remaining, I rolled David onto his back, snuggled close,
pulled his hand on to his chest, and braided our fingers together. I closed
The sharp rustling started, increased, stopped. I knew what they were doing;
they were shifting, preparing, then they would jump.