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Bugs (Short Story)

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posted on Sep, 2 2010 @ 04:36 AM
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BUGS





I hate the dark. You might call me a big baby for being afraid when the sun goes down and the lights are off. Laugh all you want. You haven’t seen what I have. There are things that live there in the deepest shadows and shun the light of day.
It all started with that damn Bobby Shaw. My parents were having a fight one night and I couldn’t stand to listen to the screaming anymore. I knew from experience not to step in when dad was drunk and going after mom. He broke my nose the last time. So, I went down to the park to hang out until dad passed out.
I sat down on a bench and lit up a cigarette. I wasn’t there long before I heard something moving around in the dark. I started wishing that I hadn’t shot out the light with my BB gun. I wasn’t afraid of the dark then. That came later. You just can’t be too careful these days. You could get mugged, or worse. Anyway, there was somebody out there walking around.
“You got another one of those?” The voice came from off to my left. I almost # my pants. I twitched in that direction. The voice came again from , the right. “So, do you have one or not?”
“Sure.” I pulled one out of my pack and held it out.
“Thanks. Do you have a light?”
“Do you want me to smoke it for you, too?”
“Smart ass.”
The striker wheel turned, and in the brief burst of light, I saw part of his face. He looked like he was a few years younger than me. He was wearing black. No wonder I couldn’t see the little bastard in the dark.
“Lighter,” I said and held out my hand.
“Oh. Sorry.” He took it out of his pocket and gave it back. “My name’s Bobby.”
“Dave. People call me Davey.”
“You want a drink?” He handed me a bottle. I flicked my Bic and saw that it was Jim Beam. At least he had taste. I took a swig and gave it back. “So, where did you get this?”
“I swiped it from my mom. She won’t miss it.” He took a couple swallows from the bottle and coughed. “Do you go to Park High?”
“Naw. I dropped out last year. Do you know Tonya Peters?”
“Yeah. I banged her.”
“That’s my cousin.”
He spluttered out an apology and changed the subject.
I went home after a while. Dad was passed out like I hoped he would be. I paused by their room when I was on my way to bed, hoping that I wouldn’t hear my mom crying like I did some nights. It was dead silent. Satisfied, I continued to my room and fell into bed.




posted on Sep, 2 2010 @ 04:37 AM
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reply to post by Skid Mark
 


Bugs, continued...

The next time I saw Bobby was when I was at the store getting new shoes. It was the first good look I got of him but I would know that whiney voice anywhere. He was sixteen or seventeen and had a face that would make a pizza jealous. When I saw him, he was in the middle of a tantrum.
“But, mom, I want a candy bar.”
“No, Robert. You know how it makes your face break out.”
“I want one!”
“No.”
He started stomping his feet, oblivious of how people were staring and shaking their heads. He crossed his arms and turned his back on his mom. His eyes widened and he looked stricken when he saw me. I was embarrassed for him and pretended not to see him. I turned down an aisle and hurried away.
My parents were having another fight a few nights later and I found myself in the park again. This time, I was smart enough to bring a flashlight. Sounds of movement invaded the silence of the park and I switched it on. The sudden burst of light caught Bobby trying to sneak up on me. His pimpled face wore a look of surprise. His shoulders slumped and he came over to the bench and sat down.
“So, what’s up?”
“Not much,” I said.
“Hey. About what happened at the store..”
“What about the store?” I really didn’t want to talk about it.
“Never mind..” He was quiet for a minute. Then: “Hey. Did I tell you that I’m a witch?”
Oh, boy. That’s just the sort of thing a guy like this would say to make himself feel big-especially after being caught acting like a big baby. “Sure, you are.”
“Well, I am. Do you want to see a conjuring?”
“This ought to be good.”
“Yep,” he said, not catching the sarcasm. He lifted up a back pack and said, “I have all the stuff I need right here. Come on.”



posted on Sep, 2 2010 @ 04:39 AM
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reply to post by Skid Mark
 


I don’t know why I went with him. I guess that I was bored and wanted to see him make an ass of himself. We wove our way through the deserted streets to a cemetery a few blocks away. The fence was easy to jump. Bobby led the way through the graves. He stopped, took a flashlight from his back pack, and focused the beam on a grave stone. The death date was for a few months ago. The name read, “Ted Heckler”.
“We need the grave of a murderer to do this,” Bobby said, “Ted here killed his wife and three kids before blowing his brains out. Isn’t that right, Ted?”
“Man, knock it off. Have some respect.”
“Whatever. Hold this.” He gave me the flashlight and put the back pack on the ground. Then, he started rooting through it and pulling things out. He arranged black candles around the grave and lit them. Then, he placed a coffee can on the grave, poured something that looked like lawn waste into it, and threw in a couple of lit matches. The stuff started smoldering and foul smoke drifted into the air. It smelled like burning #.
“Now for the booze. It helps if you have a good buzz on.” He upended the bottle and drank down a couple of inches before handing it over. We passed it back and forth a few more times before he was ready. “You need to be quiet. I need to concentrate.”
“What ever. Just give me that bottle.”
He gave it to me. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back, stretched his arms out at his sides, and started to chant. It sounded like a combination of non-sense and baby talk. It reminded me of a tent revival that I’d made the mistake of letting someone drag me to a few years ago. There were grunts and animal noises mixed in with the chants. At one point, it sounded like he was trying to throw up his anus. It made me uneasy and I backed away from him.
He fell to his knees five minutes later and fell silent. The flickering candles made his face look like a skull. He looked around like he didn’t know where he was.
“What the-” That was all he was able to say. An ice-cold wind came out of nowhere. It carried with it the stench of decay. The candles blew out. We were left in the dark. I heard strange clicking noises. Bobby started to scream. I found the flashlight and turned it on. Something black covered Bobby from the waist down. It was working its way up his body. He had a knife in his hand. It looked like the one my dad used to-
The black stuff was covering his face now. That’s when I realized that it was bugs. Millions of them. The ground around Bobby was a shifting mass of bugs. They were the size of quarters and had large jaws. They looked like a cross between a beetle and a cockroach. He brought the knife up to his throat and brought it across with a savage slash. His screams ended in a gurgle. I expected to see his blood spray out but none did. The bugs went into a feeding frenzy. He fell to the ground, on his side. I stood frozen. I somehow managed to shine the light on the body. My hands were shaking so much. When the beam hit them, the bugs exploded into puffs of pus-yellow smoke. The rest of them scattered into the surrounding darkness, revealing what was left of the body. He’d been stripped to the bone.
I heard clicking sounds to the left and right. They were trying to surround me. I turned and ran, shining the flashlight in wild arcs. The bugs clittered over headstones behind me. My foot caught on a stone. I went flat on my face. The flashlight jolted out of my hand. I scrambled to my feet and grabbed the flashlight. It had been damaged in the fall. The bugs were closer. I tossed the flashlight over my shoulder. The fence loomed closer. Ten feet. Five. I vaulted it.



posted on Sep, 2 2010 @ 04:40 AM
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reply to post by Skid Mark
 


I don’t remember how I got home. All I remember is extreme terror and the clicking of thousands of little bug legs behind me. I found myself on he front porch. I was digging in my pockets for the keys. Frantic whimpering came from my mouth. I finally found them and tore the door open, making enough noise to wake the dead. I was sure that it woke my parents up. I prepared for an ass kicking for going out at night. There wasn’t a sound, except for the clicking of the bugs on the other side of the door. I ran to my room and turned on the light.
I fell asleep some time later and had a horrible nightmare. In it, I was itching all over and decided to take a shower. After the shower, I looked into the mirror. Something was crawling beneath my skin. The skin of my stomach ripped open. A river of bugs poured out.
I awoke to bright sunlight. I got up and went to the kitchen. I passed my parents’ room on the way. Their door was open a crack. I could smell a faint foul odor. It seemed somehow familiar. I pushed the door open. There, on the bed, were the skeletal remains of my parents.
The neighbors must have heard me scream because the police were knocking down the door some time later. They took me to the police station for questioning. I told them this story so many times that my throat was raw. They still wouldn’t believe me. Doctors were called in. They had their own questions. I couldn’t help them any more than I could the police.



posted on Sep, 2 2010 @ 04:40 AM
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reply to post by Skid Mark
 


It’s not so bad here at the hospital. I get fed three meals a day and there’s cable-although, some channels are restricted. They even let me have a night light. They say that I could be a danger to myself without one. The drugs they give me almost make me forget what happened to mom and dad. I hate the weekly therapy sessions, though. The psychiatrists keep insisting that dad killed mom in a fit of rage, then himself. They keep telling me that I was living in the house with their corpses for a year and that I made up the story of Bobby Shaw and the bugs because I can’t deal with the truth. They say that there is no record of a Robert Shaw attending Park High and point out that Robert is my dad’s middle name and that Shaw is my mom’s maiden name.
It’s all bull#. My dad might have been an abusive asshole but he would never kill mom. I know that there are other worlds and somehow geeky Bobby Shaw opened a door to one. Maybe his desire to be something greater than he was gave him the power to.
There was a storm tonight during movie time. The lights flickered and I freaked out. The orderlies put me in the quiet room. It’s a small room with padded walls and floor. I can hear the bugs on the other side of the ceiling, up there in the dark. They’re skittering around and chewing their way through. Oh, #! The lights are going out.



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