“Johnny,” Sarah screamed as she quickly backed out of the kitchen in her three-floor apartment. “We’ve got a problem!”
Johnny sat at the desk in his office on the top floor listening to music as he played on his computer. The door was slightly closed. Thinking he heard something he turned the music down for a moment. “Must have been part of the song,” he mumbled after waiting a few seconds and not hearing anything.
Not receiving a response from Johnny, Sarah ran up the stairs. As she burst into his office she shouted, “Didn’t you hear me! I just called you! We’ve got a problem! You need to come downstairs. Right now!”
Startled as Sarah burst through the door shouting, Johnny jerked his hand knocking over a can of his favorite soda. The soda rapidly flowed out of the can covering his desk and dripping to the floor. “Great!” he shouted back. “Now look what you’ve done!”
“I’ll clean it up later,” she replied in an unapologetic tone. “We’ve got a problem in the kitchen. You’ll have to take care of it.”
As Sarah turned to leave his office Johnny slowly got up, still not knowing what the problem was or why she couldn’t take care of it. At the bottom of the stairs Sarah paused raising her right hand signaling for Johnny to stop. She turned her head looking toward the kitchen to see if it was safe to proceed.
“What are you looking at?” Johnny asked.
“I’m trying to see if they’re still there.”
“If who’s still there?”
“There!” she shouted while pointing her finger toward the kitchen. “Do you see it?”
“See what? I don’t see anything,” Johnny replied as he shoved Sarah out of the way and began walking to the kitchen. Upon entering the kitchen, he stopped and looked around. Not seeing anything he turned toward Sarah, with thoughts of why did I marry her running through his mind. Suddenly he heard something. He paused. “It’s just a bug,” he said as Sarah slowly came toward him.
“It’s not just ‘a’ bug. Look…look over there,” she replied waving her hand toward the glass sliding door that led to the back porch.
Johnny walked over to the door and slowly opened the shades. The brightness of the sun lit the room revealing the problem Sarah had encountered. “Holy crap!” he shouted while backing away.
The startled bugs began flying, many circling him inspecting this never seen man who just interrupted them as they sat basking in the sunlight.
“There must be at least a hundred of them,” Johnny stated. “I’ve never seen that many flies in a house. One or two maybe, but a hundred. That’s insane. How did they even get in here?”
“What are you gonna do about it?” said Sarah.
“What am I gonna do about it? You mean what are we gonna do about it,” Johnny said in a somewhat disappointed tone.
“I can’t help you. You have to take care of it.”
“Why can’t you help? We are in this together.”
“I can’t. I just can’t,” Sarah hesitantly replied as she turned her head to look away from Johnny.
Johnny, totally confused and curious as to why his wife can’t help get rid of these tiny little pesky creatures replied in a softer and somewhat supportive tone, “Look…we gotta get these things out of here. If we work together, we can do this. Do we have a fly swatter?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Great,” Johnny replied, once again clearly frustrated.
“I’m going to change my clothes,” Sarah said as she turned to head upstairs. “If I’m going to help, I don’t want my skin exposed. I don’t need these things biting me. I’m going to put on some jeans and my long sleeve turtle neck shirt.”
“Okay, while your doing that I’ll think of something. By the way, flies don’t bite.” At least that is what Johnny thought.
As Sarah changed her clothes and Johnny wandered around the apartment looking for something he could use to help get rid of these unwanted bugs, the flies lingered around the kitchen. Most, once again hanging out on the glass sliding door, a few on the window above the kitchen sink, and a couple taking advantage of the opportunity to dine on a few crumbs sitting on the counter near the stove. To them, at least at that moment, they figured they had nothing to worry about.
“Sarah,” Johnny shouted as he stood at the bottom of the stairs. “You almost ready? I have an idea.”
Sarah didn’t respond. She sat on their bed upstairs, half undressed, unsure what to do. She worried that her helping or not helping would ruin everything. “This is not the time. I can’t do this. Not now. Not yet. I know I’ll tell him someday,” she said, her eyes starting to water as she did so.
After a few minutes of waiting for Sarah, Johnny decided he just needed to do it. He needed to get rid of them. Kill them all. He went to the bathroom to get the scrub brush they used for cleaning the toilet. He figured he could use it as a fly swatter. To help make it a more effective swatter, he grabbed a small white bag from under the sink. Coincidentally, it was a bag from Target. He placed the bag over the brush, tightening it so it would have a flatter surface. Upon seeing the bright red Target symbol perfectly positioned for targeting these pesky little creatures, Johnny smiled. He was ready. “Let’s get this thing started,” he shouted.
Still sitting upstairs, Sarah felt bad. She wanted to help but was afraid; afraid if he knew, it would ruin their relationship. She loved him. As she sat there, thoughts and emotions increasingly coming over her, she could here Johnny downstairs fighting the flies. “Gotcha!” he yelled as he swung the swatter at them. “Your mine! If you wanted to live, you should’ve stayed away! This is my house!”
As Johnny violently swung the swatter most of the flies did everything they could to avoid him. Most would fly higher or fly away hoping to hide, but unbeknownst to Johnny, some of the flies were secretly congregating beneath the kitchen table.
While scientist have learned over the years that flies play a key role in the nature of our world by helping consume garbage, decaying plants and animals, as well as fecal matter, what they have not discovered is that flies are quite intelligent. They have the ability think, to plan, to make choices, and communicate with their species and others. They also live together as tribes or colonies in order to care for and grow their species.
“Quiet,” stated Caracan, the leader of their tribe and the eldest of the flies gathered under the table. “We need to do something. We can’t let this man kill us. While we may have invaded his home, we haven’t done anything to harm him. If anything, we were helping him by eating all those bits of food lying all over the place. It’s not our fault they don’t keep things clean.”
As Caracan spoke more and more flies arrived under the table. Based on Caracan’s estimates about have the tribe, roughly sixty flies were now present.
“Malapan,” Caracan called out. “We need you to get help. Head back outside. Hamaran and his tribe as well Zagawin and his group are not far. We need you to convince them to help us. We are going to attack this man. It is time the flies fight back.”
Without saying a word Malapan left. As he flew out from under the table he caught Johnny’s eye. Johnny immediately swung at him. Malapan dove down avoiding the swatter and headed towards the glass sliding door where he flew into a small opening at the bottom where the backsides of the doors met.
Johnny saw where he went and quickly walked over there. Upon examining the doors, he discovered that the opening the fly went into apparently was not completely sealed off. There was enough space for small fly like creatures to pass through. He now knew how they got in. To get a better look at the problem, he decided to open it.
While Johnny examined the door, Caracan and his tribe watched for Malapan, hoping he would return quickly. They already had a plan in place. While Malapan and the other tribes did not know the plan, Caracan was not worried. He knew that as soon as they saw what they were doing they would do the same. Two minutes later, it happened. “I see them. Are you ready? Attack!” shouted Caracan.
Instantly every fly under the table swarmed out toward Johnny. Hearing the swarm, Johnny quickly stood. The flies landed all over him. Johnny rapidly ran into the house viciously swinging his arms and screaming as he did so. Flies were all over him. Struggling to see where he was going because of the flies covering his face, he stumbled and fell to the living room floor. At that moment, Malapan and the other tribes arrived, and it wasn’t just the tribes of Hamaran and Zagawin, but every tribe in the neighborhood. Hundreds of flies landed on Johnny covering his body.
Sarah, hearing the extremely loud buzzing like noise coming from the flies, accompanied by Johnny’s fearful screams, immediately left the room and headed downstairs. Upon seeing Johnny’s fly covered body lying on the floor, memories of her own similar-like fly encounter when she was a ten-year-old child overcame her. More importantly, as she chose, the results of her experience began to appear. “Ug!” she painfully screamed as her body rapidly metamorphosed in to a giant fly.
Upon hearing Sarah, many of the flies stopped their slow devouring of Johnny’s unresponsive body. As soon as they saw the giant fly like creature, one a million times larger than themselves, most of them sped toward the still open sliding door. Sarah immediately flew after them spitting her fly like saliva at them. As the saliva landed on them, the flies fell to the floor, their bodies rapidly breaking down into a watery substance. The remaining flies quickly flew away searching for a way to escape. Some survived and others perished as Sarah continued going after them.
Caracan, one of the survivors, eventually found a way out of the house. He was totally surprised when he saw Sarah. He had heard of the legend, the legend of a human girl who, after being attacked by flies as child, had the capability of metamorphosing into one of them, but he never believed it to be real.
Once all the flies were gone, Sarah transitioned back to her human form. Johnny, unconscious, but still breathing was lying on the floor. When he finally awoke, he had no idea what happened. All he remembered was being attacked by the swarm of flies and falling to the ground as he tried to run away from them. Other than several red spots covering almost his entire body, he appeared to be okay.
Sarah debated whether she should tell Johnny. Part of her wanted to, but part of her still feared she would lose him if she did. If she did tell Johnny, she wouldn’t know how to explain it all. She didn’t even know how it all happened. She just remembered being attacked by a swarm of flies one day while playing in field on her grandfather’s farm. A couple hours later, when she hadn’t returned to the house, her parents went searching for her. Eventually they found her lying in the field. With reddish bite marks all over her body. The doctor they took her to could not find any infections or other health issues.
A few weeks later, now healed from all those bites marks, she was at her grandfather’s farm again. While playing in the barn, one of the horses suddenly freaked out, crashed through the wooden doorway keeping it contained in the barn and fled. Startled, her body immediately switched to that of a fly. Stunned, but also somewhat curious, she did know not what do. She had all the functions of a normal fly, but she was still the size of a human. Once she calmed down, her body returned to its human form. Overtime she learned to control the change, even in times of fear, anger or frustration. She never told anyone, not even Johnny after his own fly encounter.
Johnny and Sarah never saw another fly in their home; at least while they lived in that apartment.
The above short story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.
Copyright 2018 by Joseph Bunch
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, scanning, uploading, electronic or mechanical, including printing, photocopying, recording, or by any other storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of the author.