Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saving the Gnats

A response to Robin Aurelian's Bait in the Jan/Feb issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Yeshua stared through the screen door at the skies as liquid dye spilled across the heavens. Gnat Faeries buzzed in the last rays of the sun and he prayed for them. He ignored his mother's admonitions and unlatched the screen door to walk among humanity's enemies. What did it profit a boy to gain the whole world and forfeit his evenings.

Hundreds of the hungry devils swarmed around him landing on every open patch of skin. They came angry crashing into him while they used the hairs on their legs to hold on until sated and flew away with their malicious grins sliding into contentment. The narcotics in their saliva left him woozy. Yeshua fell into the grass. The Gnat Faeries that hadn't fed circled him looking for a juicy target on Yeshua. He felt one with the grass and saw jagged circles and round squares pulse in the air above him.

Yeshua heard a scream, a weak thing, barely audible over the hungry murmurs of the faeries. He floated on a sea of stars and then a black cloud hissed and and engulfed him. He coughed.

"Oh my Yeshua, what did I do?" His mother's voice sounded far away or underwater. Yeshua's eyes watered and he blinked. "You're still alive. You know we can't go out after dark. You came out here. Why?"

Yeshua's tongue was thick. "They were hungry and so I gave them food." The sea of stars tugged at him. His mother's voice grew distant until he couldn't hear it over the lapping of the waves that felt cool against his feverish skin.

He would be first. He prayed that his mother would see the changes in the gnats as they became little Yeshuas.

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