She by Frederick K. Foote, Jr.
She by Frederick K. Foote, Jr.
She lives in a park under a rock down a tunnel to a series of connected caves. She sleeps undisturbed during the day, snuggled among her two hundred plus sisters. Night draws her to the surface to feed and satisfy her more urgent needs.
She wakes well before her sisters, as is her odd habit. She moves down the passageways and stumbles past the fierce but fickle female guards to the male burrow. The two sisters guarding the gate welcome her, step aside, allow her to enter.
The males flock to her, surround her, glow and blink, competing for her attentions. “Choose me.” “Pick me.” “I’m ready.” The chorus is near deafening.
She selects a middle-aged male with an alluring blinking pattern of head, body; legs, body; arms, body, and wings. The other males move back, giving them a perfect circle to perform their mating ritual.
On hand and knees, the male licks her rear opening until she is slick and well lubricated. The male flops on his back as she mounts his extended injector. The second he ejaculates into her, she crushes his throat, rips off his head. She slashes open his abdomen, devours his organs even as he continues to ejaculate. She dines on his ejaculator last.
When she steps outside of the male burrow, the sister guards carefully groom her greedily, licking away any evidence of her recent union.
Her left knee momentarily locks as she exits to the outside world.
She takes to the sky – a two-inch semi-human fly with appetites to feed and a border to defend.
Camouflaged on the ceiling of the subway car. She picks her birthing partner – a dark, thick-legged giant female with layers of pressed leaves between the skin of a once-living thing on her lap and a scowl on her face.
She crawls down under the chosen one’s seat. She sprays a spot on the female’s exposed calf with a local anesthetic from her rear stinger/injector. Ten seconds later, she pierces the numb spot with her raspy extended tongue and samples the victim’s blood. A good guess – the blood is almost entirely free of deadly chemical tint. She withdraws her tongue. Her left foot spasms for a few seconds. She slides her injector into the same spot and leaves one-hundred eggs under the skin of the unknowing host—an excellent start to her day.
She moves on to the next subway car looking for the next twenty-five to thirty-five people she hopes to bless with the task of incubating and feeding her offspring.
Eight hours later, she sits hidden in the leaves of a tree overlooking the opening to her nest. She’s seething with anger and frustration. She only found two giant humans sufficiently free of toxins to give her larva a fighting chance at survival.
Even worse, sampling, the vile blood, was diminishing her ability to perform everyday activities. On at least two occasions, she stumbled, and on three flights, she came close to falling.
Her sisters are sharing similar disappointing experiences. The future of their colony is at stake. Even the giant humans’ babies are full of poisons. But the older ones are too toxic even to sniff.
Her food was near – a bushy tail, four-footed food was climbing the trunk of the tree. She would usually leap on the food’s back and drink her full, retire to her nest and her rest, but not this time.
She waited until dark was deep, and her sisters were asleep.
It came, at last, an alien from another colony—a poacher.
She allowed the invader to mount the food.
She attacked with her stinger, diving straight down on the thief at full speed. And she missed it, stabbing the food instead. The maximum shot of nerve venom stopped the food’s heart instantly.
She barely avoided the invader’s counterattack.
She clung to the falling food and watched the robber line up for a diving attack.
At the last second, she released the food, twisted in the air. She sprayed the attacker’s wings with her most potent anesthetic potion.
The bandit tumbled to the ground, fighting desperately for control.
She landed on the disabled fighter asking one question, “Why?”
“Liar!” she hissed as she dispatched the raider.
She knew there was too much blood food around ever to starve.
In ancient times the preferred food was the oldest, infirm giant humans. The eggs hatched, and the larva made its way to the brain and feasted until they metamorphosed into juvenile winged creatures that took to the sky as soon as their wings were dry.
That was then. That was before the giants poisoned themselves, polluting their blood on a colony-wide scale.
Her right eye began to twitch.
She flew back to her nest.
She was startled awake from a nightmare to a Humming. The sisters were humming and swaying in celebration of a spirit risen from the dead – the intruder she had slaughtered.
She joined the Humming.
The spirit of the dead tells her story in the ancient way, with her body and motion and facial expressions.
Far to the south, many colonies away the giant humans spread their disease to the four-legged food they keep in their nest.
That food spread the poison to the four-legged food outside the human’s nest.
Our kind died of the disease in humans and the other food.
Colonies tried to move north away from the spreading starvation but were beaten back by other nests.
The spirit said the disease was now spreading to our kind. She told us our bits and parts, efforts, and actions would stutter, falter, and fail until we no longer could rely on our diseased selves.
The humming grew louder and louder and exploded in a roar of outrage but ended with a whimper of despair.
Now the nest is in a Murmur where each sister expressed themselves in this desperate situation. The Murmur drifted into Clubs of Like Opinions, which coalesced into the Union of Operation.
Before the sunlight reached the nest, the sisters mated with and destroyed all the males.
At first light, they caved in the entrance to their nest.
The sister swarmed in the morning sky, gathering energy, determination, and saying their final goodbyes to each other.
The swarm split into smaller flights and sped to the locations where the giant humans were exposed – at subway and bus stops, parks, and schoolyards. They attacked with unrelenting fury.
They all fought to the death – except her.
She flew north to the border of her now destroyed colony. When night fell, she would find and visit the nest of the neighboring settlement. She and the spirit of the dead intruder would tell the story of things to come – for as long as her parts and pieces were able.
Copyright Frederick K. Foote, Jr. 2020