Tales from the Field

Wrath of Bug 

Gasping for air, sweating and anxious; I was sprinting, sprinting back to the truck. This great buzz of noise was behind me.  I was panicking and fumbling with the truck keys as I ran; desperate to see the truck and press the ‘unlock’ button, at last freeing myself from the devilish, vengeful beasts pursuing me. So, I killed one of their tribe, I swatted him good! So, so who wouldn’t have!? I never would have imagined that the consequence would’ve been…this. I glanced back, with sweat beading down my brow, and locked eyes with one of the tribes’ beelzethugs; he had a low brow, broad-set eyes, thick nose and a strong chin. His eyes were his most disconcerting trait; they were wild. “What a mess I’ve caused,” I thought. By this time I was nearing full-flight, pouring my heart and soul into every stride and making sure to gap my pursuers enough to give myself time to open the truck door. A few long strides later, I could see the truck, victory was mine, HA! I took one more glance back for good measure, and, to my surprise, my pursuers had aborted their efforts. “Yeah, yeah, that’s right, you, you SOB’s!” I passionately exclaimed in between deep gulps for air. I made it to the truck, by this time sweat was dripping from every pore on my body; dribbling out like a summer-time sprinkler not quite fully turned off. As I reached for the door handle, I felt a sudden presence behind my left shoulder. “Bzzzzzzzzz!” I nervously began to turn around with a half-convincing smile, as though to appear as if I hadn’t just been running…for my life. I slipped my hand in my pocket, grabbing my field knife just in case I decided on “Plan B.” When fully turned, I cautiously glanced upward and locked eyes with a beelzethug; a menacing 2″ horsefly. He was sliding his hands together in a devious way and, by the look in his massive black eyes, I knew things were about to get real. I opted for “Plan A,” dropped to my knees and began to bargain and plea; I begged from my knees like a coward. After a moment, I opened my eyes just a sliver and peered slightly beyond my clasped hands to get a read on his expression; deadpan as he stared through soulless black eyes. This fly knew no empathy as it stared down on my sunken frame. I began to hear more and more “buzzing” as other tribe members began to arrive. There was a certain sense of excitement to the crowd. They had their man. Soon after, there was silence. A horrible silence. My heart was beating out of my chest. “Listen, I was just protecting mys…” *slappppp* the thug smacked my cheek and I went silent, lips quivering. “BZZZZZZZZZZZZ!” as he signalled to the others to fly forward. They flew under my left arm and powered it upward with their flight. I clenched my eyes shut. The thug made way for Buzzpolean Horselbud, their ruler. I peeked through my shut eyes and saw that he was undersized. “Heh, OK, bite me there, small-fry,” I mused…accidentally quietly mused aloud. Oopsies. Horselbud carefully examined my forearm, then reared back and sunk-in. “!!!!!!!” to my horror, a chunk of flesh was torn from my forearm; the remains of his bite spat out on the side of the road, like some baseball player discarding his ‘chew. I glanced up with tears in my eyes and saw that Horselbud had flown back a few feet and was pointing to my vehicle. I looked around at the tribe then looked back at Horselbud and nodded a “yes.” I slowly stood up and then began to walk toward my truck. The “buzzing” from the tribe took on a different sound…it’s as though they were taunting me. I opened the truck door and sat in the driver’s seat, emotionally numb. Radio silence broken only by the ticking of my wristwatch. After a moment, I inserted the keys into the ignition and began to drive away…

Notes: Inspiration for this short story came to me during my time spent conducting breeding bird surveys in northern Manitoba (Chicken Lake, in particular) during the summer of 2012.

Photo Source: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/horse-fly-eyes-macro-insect-pixbreak-art.html