Horla Fiction (November 2020)

 

SHE WHO COMMANDS THE FIREFLIES

by JULIAN GRANT

MYRNA had always had a special relationship with insects. As a child, she would rush outside to meet the wet snails who would emerge victoriously after the rain. Lying down on the still-wet sidewalk in front of her house, she would encourage them to crawl onto her hand or over her wiggling feet. Her mother would not be impressed.

As she grew older, Myrna discovered that she also had a special relationship with the winged and feared insects of the air. Bees, wasps, flies, gnats – all would wreath her in her glory.  I am the queen of insects. All shall bow down to me in my kingdom.

There came a time, however, when steps had to be taken.

Myrna caused no shortage of problems at birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and umpteen outings. It seemed many of her family or close relations did not share her love for her minions nor did they appreciate the cavalcade of ants, termites and slugs that seemed to infest every picnic, lunch or celebratory dinner.

‘They can’t help themselves,’ Myrna would explain. ‘I know that it’s not easy to live with, but they’re only showing their respect to me. Surely you can understand that?’

Myrna was deloused, fumigated, sprayed, washed and perfumed all in desperate attempts to keep her followers at bay.

At the age of seventeen, she was expelled from school for her rallying of bees at the championship game (even though their school won because of her unwanted assistance). Drawing from the fields next to her school, she created mass hysteria as she orchestrated a wave of flying terror against the opposing players when the Huskers, the home team, fell behind. ‘I didn’t mean to have so many show up. I just asked a few tolend a hand and it sort of got out of control.’

Thirteen people were hurt during the ensuing panic and Myrna, unapologetically was filmed leading the assault. Authorities feared her and it was decided that the best thing to do was to arrange for a private (and distant) residence for her on the outskirts of town. While it wasn’t a prison per se, a large fence was constructed around the cottage and guards were posted to make sure that she didn’t wander too far from home.

At night, she commanded the fireflies to paint rude epitaphs in the sky you could see for miles.

 

 

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Julian Grant is a filmmaker, educator, and author of strange short stories plus full-length novels/ non-fiction texts and comics. A tenured Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago, his work has been published by Danse Macabre, Fiction on the Web, CafeLit and Free Bundle.  Find out more about him at www.juliangrant.com

Title photo credit –  Mike Lewinski on Unsplash

Horla standard disclaimer – image has no direct connection with the fiction