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Insect! Devil!

By: Taye Alvis

I tried to give my full attention, but I was distracted by the smell. Some animal must have dug beneath the house and died some time ago because a terrible stench had filled our house. My grandmother paid no attention to it and continued, “A dark creature as tall as a man, with insect legs and a tail!” she repeated that it looked human just in case I missed that part earlier, which I did. Some might call my grandmother an imaginative woman; she told stories in a boy who cried wolf fashion, but they were entertaining nonetheless, so I always listened. She’d been fighting a bad cough, and my uncle, who I guess would be her son, although I never really thought about it that way, had been missing for some time now. “Oh Joseph...” she’d cry out, but of course, he never answered. Then, “Don’t you come near me... Devil!” I ran into her room and found her huddled in the corner, thrashing about with an umbrella in her hand. When I finally calmed her down, she was still scared the “bug man” would come back for her.

“What’s that smell?” My cousin came over after breakfast. I didn’t feel like discussing the odour. He was always much too curious. I made fry bread, and he had some with a side of raspberry jam… or was it strawberry? It doesn’t matter, it was so long ago now. He’d finished working the graveyard shift at the police station, so I guess breakfast would really be better described as dinner. “Where’s G’ma?” he always called her that. “Sleeping still, she didn’t rest well last night,” I told him. He asked if her cough had kept her awake, but I explained that she’s been having these terrible dreams. I stopped myself as his face became pale. He put down his bread… was he becoming sick too? "I've seen," he whispered. "Whol?" I asked. He'd seen the bug man.

My cousin went to my grandmother's room, and they talked a bit. He said he’d seen the creature before, in his dreams. He’d managed to fight it off and escape in his car, but he’s afraid he might see it again. Maybe this is why he started working the graveyard shift, so he could sleep during the day without worrying about what might visit him at night. I went back to the kitchen and started clearing the table. I knocked a plate with my elbow, and it shattered all

over the hardwood floor.

Oh, jeez -- I bent down to gather the pieces but noticed something shining through the floorboards. I went in closer,

the sun was shining through a crack in the hardwood, and suddenly I saw it. It was an eyeball staring back at me! I screamed, and my cousin came running.

That’s how they found my uncle. Beneath the house. No one knows how he got there, but his body must have been there for a few weeks already because it had become home to a horde of insects.


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