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#SummerofScreams

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Blink Fly

by Victoria Nations

 

Blink Fly, and it started like this.  The camp was fine when I left it.  The girls were fine, and who cared if I hiked off because screw them, that’s why.  They were happy with an afternoon siesta after kitchen duty, and I was happy to have an hour without listening to them swoon over Counselor Jimmy.  Fainting out in the Texas heat was preferable, believe me.  The sun made the orange rocks and pale plants glaze together, and everything looked like stained glass by the time I got to the canyon top.  And…

Blink Fly, and they never got why I loved the robber flies so much.  Lisa flat out screamed when one landed outside the cabin.  Todd tried to stomp on it, and everyone laughed when I got in front of him to protect it.  Nice outdoorsy kids here at camp, stomping on a fuzzy wild creature just because it was different.  I tried to convince them: bristles, shiny dark eyes, and big you-know-whats on the males.  You’d think those kids would think it was hilarious, a hipster, bearded, bad boy fly.  But they didn’t, and they were fine when I left, and so was I.  And…

Blink Fly, that first robber fly I saw on the trail was eating a housefly.  It just appeared there, dinner in mandibles, a second after I looked up.  I would’ve told the counselors my head was down because it was stupid hot in that Texas canyon, but who cared if I was lonely.  Whatever, there was my favorite fly from home, waiting for me.  And that was exactly why they’re so awesome: eating houseflies, hanging out.  It cocked its fuzzy head as it ate, watching me pass, like it wanted to say something.  And…

Blink Fly, and the camp was fine when I left.  The campers were fine.  They didn’t see the robber fly go by, carrying a big wasp, both of them as large as my thumb.  It flew up the trail, then dropped over the canyon edge.  I got woozy looking down, trying to follow it.  It must’ve been so fast to catch that wasp, fast enough to fly all the way to camp and back to meet me on the trail.  I could hear it buzzing down there, until I couldn’t.  That robber fly was so fast, it was gone right in front of my eyes.  And…

Blink Fly, the next one was way too big.  I almost wished those girls had come with me to see it.  It was just way too big, as a big as a banana, sitting there on a rock, a hummingbird in its mouth.  We had hummingbirds down at camp.  They flew right up to the feeders by our cabin.  The girls left the windows open to watch them.  The robber fly had to be really quiet and really quick to catch it.  I was just as quick when I threw my bandana over it and snatched it up.  It was strong, stronger than me.  Its wings beat so hard, I could hardly hold it.  Its spines stabbed my hands, and then it was gone.  Afterwards, I couldn’t tell if it was hummingbird blood or mine smeared on the cloth.  And…

Blink Fly, the girls were fine when I left them, laying on their bunks with the breeze coming in the windows.  They didn’t say anything when I left.  The camp was fine, and the counselors were fine, because they didn’t see that next robber fly crouching on a boulder above the path.  I thought it was cat.  It was hairy, with long legs, and eating something that might’ve been a prairie dog.  I thought it was a cat until it looked at me with bug eyes that glinted in the sun, and it didn’t seem real.  Counselor Jimmy had warned us about that, and the girls had all nodded so seriously and filled their water bottles.  It was something you’d see when you’d walked too long in the heat, an unnatural thing your head made up to scare you.  I was hot for sure, and that robber fly was there for sure, and I was just happy it had something to eat so I could slip past.  I had a hard time walking straight on the trail after that, for all the looking back I did.  And…

Blink Fly, the next fly was the worst.  I didn’t see all of it, not that anyone in camp would’ve believed me if I went back there and said I did.  Big wings, robber fly wings, buzzed  behind an outcrop next to the trail.  They were stiff and clear like windowpanes, and they were large, as long as a truck.  They buzzed in quick bursts, and the buzzing echoed terribly down into the canyon, and I’ll bet the camp heard it and someone came out to look.  When the wings were still, I heard crunching and sobs broken by wet, sloshy cries.  The girls were fine when I left.  But maybe someone had followed me, come to spy on me, because screw me, that’s why.  They had seen all of the robber fly.  I scurried past on the trail because I didn’t want to see what was on the other side.  And…

Blink Fly, I wish it would just stay still.  And…

Blink Fly, I can’t handle it popping in and out like that.  And…

Blink Fly, it’s on the path in front of me now, between the boulders and the ledge.  Thick, jointed legs jut out to either side with black spines like ladder rungs.  It’s tawny brown, the prettiest robber fly yet, and its bristles blend in with the spiky plants that grow between the rocks.  Enormous, faceted eyes look directly at me.  I think it might have followed me here, landed to let me climb on and buzz down to the camp, to show the girls, and Todd, and Counselor Jimmy.  Me and my gorgeous flying steed.  And…

Blink Fly, I look at its mouth to see what its got, but it’s empty.  And…

Blink Fly, it’s reaching for me.

 

Pictured below: Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon

 

About the Author

 

Victoria-Nations-author-pic

Victoria Nations is a horror writer and biologist, and lover of spooky, spooky stories.  She spends her time hiking in swamps and writing from what her family calls her dark, little heart.  She emerges from the woods in late summer, damp and covered in burrs, to search out early Halloween decorations.

Victoria lives in Florida with her wife and son, who indulge her love of monsters.

Twitter: @Leaves_Cobwebs

Victoria’s Blog

Previous FREE writing showcase story:

Haunted Hotel: Food and Drink Man 

 

 

 

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