Suffocated by Flies

September 2020

Fly Hero

It’s watching me right now.

That fly. With its bulbous, unblinking red eyes. With most creatures, you can tell where they’re looking. You can see from their pupils, or even the direction they’re pointing their heads. Not with a fly. Even if I could get the thing under a microscope, there’s no conceivable way for me to tell where it’s looking. But I can feel it’s gaze, creeping over my skin, making goosebumps prickle to the surface even under my extra layer of clothes. When I get that feeling, I can’t focus on anything else. How could I, when I just know it’s watching?

God, it disgusts me. Don’t they disgust you?

The way they’ll land on animal shit, gobble it down, then fly into your kitchen looking for pudding. They vomit on their food, you know? Vomit bile all over it, then hoover it all up through their pouted, sucking mouths. No teeth. Somehow that’s worse. Just hairs and wings and legs and... urg.

I hate them so much. I hate them all. But I can’t begin to describe how much I loathe this one.

It’s behind me. I can still feel it watching. Looking down at me from the ceiling, as if it’s judging me. As if it’s reading this screen. I hope it can. I hope it knows how much I hate it.

It’s the same one. Of course it’s the same one - I proved it. I managed to catch it with some spray paint, months ago. Back before I knew for sure. The police were useless. I saw the way they smirked. It was right there, specks of green paint still on it. They live for twenty-eight days apparently. Not three months. Somehow it feels older than that. Older than me. Why is it still here? Why won’t it leave?

I left the window open first. That used to always work. Sure, sometimes I’d have to give them a bit of gentle persuasion, with my hand or a piece of paper or whatever. But this one ignored all that, and always flew out of my reach whenever I tried to move it along. At first I thought it was just stupid. Then I realised it was doing it on purpose.

It would land on my screen. On my blinking cursor. On my skin. Crawling. Always crawling.

It followed me from room to room. Even when I shut the door. It would squeeze through the cracks between the wooden doorframe, and soon enough I’d hear that buzzing again. If the buzzing was constant, maybe I could have ignored it. But it swirled around, louder, quieter. Left ear, right ear. Stopping abruptly, then starting again, somehow fiercer than before.

Nights were the worst. Even when I used ear plugs, I knew it was there. Once I got jolted out my sleep with the thing rattling around in my ears, tickling my skin, buzzing so loud it was almost deafening.

It would fly at my face. In my mouth. In my eyes.

I brought a fly swatter, but never came close to getting it. So I ordered an electric zapper that looked like a tennis racket. I picked up some sticky fly tape too. I even bought a venus fly trap. None of them worked. The grotesque little thing dodged the dangling sticky tape like it was nothing. The venus fly trap remained open and untouched. I got it with the zapper once. I hit the fly dead centre, and almost dropped the zapper as it let out the most tremendous bang. But the fly just flew away, unscathed. I’d not just skimmed it either, I’d slammed into the thing. Hit it like I was trying to smash a car window.


I’m not sure if I hurt it, but it definitely got revenge the next morning. Floating in my cereal, bobbing up and down in the milk, were three dead flies. I looked up from the bowl, and sure enough, it was there, on the wall. Watching me. I’m still not sure how it put them there, but I was halfway through my breakfast before I’d noticed. I barely made it to the bathroom to be sick. For some reason, even then, I didn’t want it to see.

That was all in the first week. I don’t know how they kept getting in, but no matter how many I killed, more would arrive the next day. No matter how many I killed, there was always one left, unscathed, out of reach, watching me. That’s why I hit it with spray paint. I needed to be sure.

The traps worked on the other flies. But never on the one I’d managed to tag with green spray. I even bought pesticide bombs from a pet shop. It was supposed to kill fleas, but I figured it would do the trick. I got one for every room of my house, determined to finally end things. It half worked; when I got back, there was a scattering of dead flies all around my house. But in my bedroom, one with green speckled wings was swirling lazily in a perfect geometric circle. There must have been a hundred fly corpses on my pillow, heaped atop one another. Cleaning the place up was horrible enough, and making it worse was the fat green speckled one, watching me work. Following me from room to room as I brushed up their tiny withered corpses, hoovered the carpets and washed my bedding three times in a row.

For a while, I’d make any excuse to escape the house, but really I was leaving because of the flies. It was pure bliss to just sit in silence, in the company of my own kind, without any buzzing. But nobody believed me. Nobody liked hearing me talk about it. But how could I not?

Now nobody will let me inside. Not my family. Not my friends. Not my neighbours. I bang on the door. I know they hear me. I see their body pass over the peephole, blocking out the light. For a while I tried stranger’s houses, but then the police came again, and this time they weren’t smirking.

I’d been working from home through all this. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been as bad if I could get out of the house, but… it’s my house. My house. Not the fly’s house. Things got worse when I lost my job. They wouldn’t tell me why. Just that “it wasn’t working out.” Ten years and that’s the thanks I get? Arseholes.

I still remember reading the email. Repeating it over and over. The insistent buzzing in my ears sounded like laughter.

It’s all the fly’s fault. All of it. It’s the reason people won’t speak to me. It’s the reason I lost my job. It’s the reason I can’t sleep. The reason there’s maggots in my food and the reason the power went out an hour ago. If I’d still got my job, maybe I could afford electricity.

But I refuse to sit in the dark, with nothing but its mocking, relentless buzzing for company.

It wants to outlast me.

It wants to replace me.

And I refuse to let that happen.

They’ve cut off the electric. But I’ve still got the gas.

It’s been filling the room whilst I write this. Filling my lungs. The sulphur smell is so thick it’s making me laugh, making me dizzy.

No more buzzing. No more watching. Just one, last, glorious boom.

I’m gonna get the bastard.

[ relevant - Item 619 ]

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