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April 15, 2024

Attack of the Cicadas

By Jon Renaut

All was well Friday night around midnight when I went to bed. It was a pleasant, clear night, a nice breeze, quiet and peaceful. I thought to myself, "Hey, maybe Saturday will be nice and I can do some much needed yardwork. Someone has to cut the grass in the backyard soon; I can't even see the shed anymore." So I went to bed.

Saturday morning arrived, and I walked into the kitchen to get something to drink. There was a strange noise, constant and high-pitched, that I couldn't quite place. It came from outside. So I opened the front door, and it was much louder. I looked down, and there were three giant creatures on the front porch. They snarled at me, fangs dripping with what could only be human blood. I quickly closed the door and ran for my camera. When I opened the front door again, I was accosted by thousands of the creatures. They attacked me, mouths full of sharp teeth open, hideous claws outstretched. I wrestled one to the ground as three more pounced, and I could feel my flesh tearing as they attacked. Luckily I had left the rake beside the porch, and I grabbed it, wildly flailing at my winged pursuers. I hit one of them, and I heard him laugh at me as he bit the rake handle in half. I quickly snapped a picture as they regrouped to come at me again.

Actually, it might not have been that bad. There were some pretty nasty little bugs on the porch, but they seemed rather sedate, barely moving as I gingerly stepped past. The front lawn looked like a great battle had recently occurred, with the empty shells of fallen soldiers still clinging to blades of grass. The tires of my truck, apparently a welcoming spot for these little monsters to rest, were home to maybe a half dozen. I saw one struggling to rid himself of the old skin, already too small for this day-old bug.

I don't really remember the last time the cicadas were here. I had just turned nine years old. All I really remember is seeing a bunch of discarded shells on the trees, and seeing plenty of copulating couples rolling around on the sidewalk. I don't remember the noise. I don't even remember the horrible little red eyes, seeming to stare at me from any angle. But I know I'll remember them this time. And first thing on Monday, I'm calling a travel agent and booking a flight to a non-cicada country for May 10th, 2021. I should have a family by then, but they're on their own. Daddy will be in the Bahamas if anyone needs him.

I thought I had witnessed a small victory for mankind, but I was prematurely elated. I saw a cicada stuck in a spider web. The little spider, no doubt jumping for joy at such a huge prize, scampered closer to the red-eyed demon. The spider was not even one fifth of the size of his lunch, but he seemed undaunted, and in his arrogance I saw hope for mankind. I hear that birds don't really like to eat cicadas, but if the spiders do, and then maybe the birds will eat the spiders, and we might all be home free.

But it was not to be. When I returned, camera in hand, hoping to capture on film the victorious spider, the cicada was gone. His massive wings had been too much for the spider's web, and he had escaped, off to join his brethren in making horrible noises, annoying the human population, and no doubt carrying off small pets and children to be messily devoured.

I wandered around the yard for a few more minutes as the red eyes watched me. Despite the heat, I felt shivers on my spine, and had to restrain myself from brushing incessantly at the imagined feeling of little legs crawling all over me.

And so I retired to my room, beaten and discouraged, and wondered to myself whether or not I could work at home and live on delivery food until sometime in July.

Article © Jon Renaut. All rights reserved.
Published on 2004-05-29
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