Free Flash Fiction:
She Had to Stomp Them
By: Jae El Foster
April 7, 2019
“Please…” it begged in the tiniest voice. “Don’t kill me!”
Virginia looked at the creature – a bug, for all she knew – and brought the flyswatter down hard, splattering the creature beneath it. She paid no mind to the fact that it had just spoken to her. That may have been her mind playing tricks on her – toying with her shock of having found a bug in her house.
She kept a spotless house; that was for certain. There was not a bit of dust or a cobweb to be seen. For this, Virginia was proud.
An old spinster of seventy-two, Virginia never married, and she never had children. No pet had ever been allowed in her home – a house that she had paid for herself over the years with her salary as a librarian. Pets and children… and even husbands, she figured, were some of the messiest creatures on the planet, and she wanted nothing to do with them. The other messiest creatures were bugs, and she despised them.
Upon cleaning up the remains of the unusual talking bug and having also cleansed the swatter, Virginia helped herself to a drink. Her nerves were rattled. A bug, of all things… in her house. It was outrageous, and yet, it had happened.
She poured herself a bit of sherry and sipped. The taste of the liquor filled her senses, making her feel instantly better. She walked over to her piano and sat upon the small bench, setting her glass on the square marble table to her left. Then, placing her fingers upon the ivory keys, Virginia played a tune she’d learned as a child – one that had always made her happy.
Midway through the song, she saw it out of the corner of her eye. Another bug… similar to the last one. This one approached her from atop the marble table, waving two of its six little legs at her. Virginia quit playing her happy tune.
“Hey!” she heard the bug yell, though its voice was low in comparison to what a human’s yell would have sounded like. “Hey, lady!”
The sherry, Virginia thought –blaming her sip of drink on this talking bug hallucination.
She’d already returned the flyswatter to its proper spot, and if she went for it, she knew the bug would disappear, and then it would hide somewhere to lay eggs and make more dirty little talking insects. She hated bugs. She did not want an infestation.
There was a book beside the bug – an old copy of a Dickens classic – and she took it with a hurried swipe, lifted it high, and brought it down like a rocket onto the bug. She could hear the bug crush from the impact.
When Virginia lifted the book again, it was goopy from the strange bug’s remains.
She hoped that was the last of the little pests. Taking her glass of sherry, she gulped it down, finishing it.
With a huff, she stood from the piano bench and carried her glass back to her small but adequate bar, where she refilled it. Then, she drank again – this time more slowly – until she had finished her second glass of sherry.
“First thing in the morning,” she told herself, leaving her great room and entering into her kitchen, “I’m calling an exterminator. One bug was a fluke. Two bugs mean trouble.” She opened her fridge and took out the remaining half of a tuna sandwich she’d enjoyed earlier. She then sat at the small table and ate. “I could have the house tented,” she thought out loud, munching away on the cold, toasted bread. “Give it a good bombing. That’ll kill anything in here.”
As she finished her sandwich, she heard the sounds of tiny thumps coming from the floor below. She looked down toward the doorway and watched as hundreds of those little unusual bugs began to march into the kitchen. They moved in unison, heavily and with purpose like an army would when invading a foreign nation. Virginia also noticed that they carried with them minuscule objects – too small for her to tell what they were.
A few feet away from the table, the insect army came to a stop. Virginia, in a state of shock that was nearing a harsher state of panic – watched as one of the bugs stepped forward from the others and began to yell up at her. She couldn’t make out a word of what he was saying – his voice was too low and she was too far away from him to hear – but she knew for sure that she shouldn’t have drank that second glass of sherry.
There was only one thing to do, she thought as she stood from the chair. She had to stomp them – every last one of them.
Yet, as she approached them, she watched the army aim the tiny objects toward her, and Virginia was suddenly the object of an onslaught of tiny rays and beams of heat and light. The minuscule objects were guns, she learned, and the army of bugs was attacking her.
Caught off guard, Virginia dropped to her knees, trying to shield herself from the gun blasts with her hands.
Then, she heard the bug in front yell to the others, “Wave two! Attack!”
Attack? she thought, fearfully. Just then, a mass of these tiny creatures leaped onto her, digging into her skin with their clawed appendages and biting into her flesh with their jagged, beak-like mouths.
Virginia screamed as she fell backward. She tried to wipe the bugs away from her, squishing as many as she could and throwing others to the wall. Still, the more of them that she pushed away, the more reinforcements there were, ready to take the places of the others.
The army of strange insects continued to attack Virginia until she was dead. At that point, the head bug – known as Relarian – messaged his commanding officer. “Attempts at peaceful communications have failed. Humans are violent, dangerous creatures and should be handled with force.”
From there, Relarian’s troop moved on to the next dwelling, where they immediately disposed of the human tenants, no longer bothering with any form of peaceful communication.
Copyright Jae El Foster, 2019