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
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.
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
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.
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’
capriciousness of the miles-wide cloud of death flies made the invasion even
more frightening. The horde skipped Edmonton, but hit Calgary in Alberta.
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.
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.”
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.”
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
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.
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.”
won’t stop the flies.”
isn’t for the flies, it’s for us.”
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.]
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
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.