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ym_76_oct19_fly.jpg
Art by John Thompson 2019

Fly

Doug Hawley

 

 

 

Locals from Igaluit on Baffin Island north of mainland Canada found what appeared to be odd pebbles which were exposed when the recent heat wave melted a layer of snow. As the sun warmed the “pebbles”, their shells broke and flying insects flew out. The first poor unfortunates who examined the insects were stung and died from the multiple venomous stings. The terrified survivors barricaded themselves in their houses.

The biologists and exterminators from the mainland were quickly overwhelmed. Nothing in the exterminators’ toolkit had any effect on the insects, and the mainlanders that didn’t die were quickly run off.

Out of any other options, the remaining human population of Baffin was evacuated to mainland Canada. With only 6,532 survivors from the original 11,000 human inhabitants, the resettlement was not too difficult.

During and after the resettlement, flyovers revealed the bones of polar bears, foxes, rabbits, caribou and wolves picked clean. Because Baffin didn’t amount to much, the invasion of the insects was just viewed as a small problem of global warming. It was assumed that the insects, now called Death Flies, would die out with nothing left to eat, or that they would form cysts again and become inactive.

Professor Emil Yancy from the University of Laval in Montreal assured the public that the flies were adapted to cold temperatures and would not venture south. A month later, the flies had invaded Hall Beach in northern Nunavut on the Canadian mainland. Yancy and his colleagues backtracked quickly, suggesting that the flies were reproducing extremely fast and mutating like a virus, adapting to warmer weather. They were no longer consulted.

Siberia then reported its first Death Flies. The governments of the world became serious and seriously scared about the threat of human extermination.  Homes could be sealed, but no one could leave, and a truly safe sealing kept out fresh air and ended in the occupants’ asphyxiation.

The capriciousness of the miles-wide cloud of death flies made the invasion even more frightening. The horde skipped Edmonton, but hit Calgary in Alberta.

All radio and television was preempted by the film of the plague taken by helicopters. The world was told that the only poisons strong enough to kill the flies would kill even more people than the flies would.

On October 31, a few days after Calgary was deserted, the retired couple Duke and Sally, in Lake Oswego, Oregon, discussed the situation. Sally said “We gotta get out of here, go as far south as we can, our lives are at stake. Just leave everything and save our lives.”

Duke, who like a former president was always certain, but frequently wrong, said “There is nothing to worry about. They aren’t in the US and they will never get here. I’ve got that from an unimpeachable source. The best thing that we can do is turn off the TV. All it does is depress us and none of our shows are on.”

Partly because she had deferred to Duke through many years of marriage and partly because he was so convinced, Sally decided to accept his word that they would be safe.

At 6pm Duke looked out the window and saw his neighbor, who was his best friend and tennis partner, running around his yard. Duke said “I see Jim is wearing a black Ninja outfit for Halloween and practicing some martial arts routine…ooooh shoot!” At that point Jim collapsed on the ground, twitched and died. Duke saw that the sky was black and heard the buzzing roar grow louder.

Tears rolled down Duke’s face and he said “How could I ever have listened to that crackpot evangelist Samuel Sanctum. He said ‘The US is special. God would never allow the plague in our holy land’. I’ve been such a fool for so many years. I’m so sorry. Get the gun.”

“The gun won’t stop the flies.”

“The gun isn’t for the flies, it’s for us.”

Sally thought “Bloody heck, I’m going to die soon, but at least I lived to hear Duke admit he’s wrong.”


[Acknowledgment: “Fly” originally appeared in Commuter Lit in November 2017.]

 

Doug Hawley is a former mathematician turned actuary (mathemortician) who writes, snowshoes, volunteers and hikes. He was a volunteer wheelchair jockey (pusher, role model, unpaid escort) at a hospital, greeter at the Marine Mammal Center, “normal” in a balance study at OHSU, and docent at China Camp in California, and now is a volunteer bookseller in support of his local library, and a killer of invasive species at his local park. He lives with editor and musician Sharon. He currently resides in Lake Oswego, OR and has lived in Manhattan (KS that is), Atlanta, Louisville, Denver, LA, and marvy Marin CA.





John L. Thompson currently lives in New Mexico with his wife of twenty-five years. 
When he is not searching for lost remnants of the old west, he can be found working on several writing projects. Thompson is known to have worked as a truck driver, heavy line diesel mechanic, armored truck guard, corrections, body guard, and a host of other professions.
His true passion is writing, collecting vintage books and is the current cover artist for the Casca the Eternal Mercenary series.  His novel 'Truck Stop' is due out 2017-18 by Dusty Desert Press.



In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2019