Fiction Horror Contemporary

This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

Peter was fidgeting. He was seated in Kaiser lobby for a while, accompanied by his mother. There was a blue-haired, white girl across him with lot of small, circular badges on her purse that spoke as much as her perky catty glasses. It was quiet. The TV kept on playing Aladdin from circa 9,000 BC. Apart from them, there was a blond kid, of six or seven, with pale skin - almost like albinoism- who was also restlessly moving around.

Peter was overweight, had curly hair and was dressed in a half-sleeve checked shirt. He was reading a monograph on Drosophila melanogaster, or the common fruit-fly, and its various usage in technological and scientific advancement especially in studies of genetics.

Perhaps the name was pat for he had a Peter Pan syndrome. He was 36 and never had a girlfriend. His teeth was yellow and his mother had to force him not to neglect his stubs and body odor. The odd thing about Peter was he was not into comics or video games or even anime.

Yes some like RC cars, drones, miniature figurines, action figures, collecting playing cards, but Peter loved flies. Peter was obsessed with flies. It was his all-consuming passion. Every single waking wisp of breath he took was converted into cubic centigram of carbon dioxide after his brain's combustion engine churned it out into either an arcane curio or some weird fact about flies deep in the recess of his mind.

Whether it be referencing Pliny the Elder or perhaps ditching his college classes to go to UCI Ayala Science library for a specialized fix on damselflies from the galleys of references that folded into folds like an accordion with various aisles themselves tucked and folded inside itself like an overworking, overproduced neocortex.

Dr Selena C. Ascher peered over her brittle lenses. It was about 3 months since she saw him. There was no change. Cases like this usually don't. She was more concerned as to the cause of this. Ever since an episode, Peter's mother brought him here.

He was gripping a tome on the 3,000 species of mayflies. Peter couldn't get it enough. He wanted to study all about them. He wanted to know each and every one of their names, taxonomy, scientific names, breeding patterns, size, life span, colors, anatomy etc. He didn't even touch his Cheerios. They all became soggy, Sarah was getting late for her nursing class, and was getting irksome by the minute.

"Hurry up, will ya?" She said mildly chiding.

Peter didn't look up. He was a very docile and easy-going fellow and known to be 'really jolly' among his peers, as much loner he was. He had an orthopedic grip around the cusp of the hardcover.

"Did you hear?" Sarah nudged.

"DO NOT EVER TALK TO ME LIKE THAT!!!!!" Suddenly Peter thundered. Sarah was stunned as if seeing a colobus monkey appearing right out of her rice cooker. She was never aware of his rage. Yes, she was a single mom and Peter always had 'daddy issues'. But that Saturday, 14 November was the first time Sarah noticed him behaving like this after he rushed to his room, locked himself up and missed his class. Then everything went downhill. He neglected his studies and increasingly was absent from his college courses. Later Sarah found out he was moonlighting in the university libraries reading up on nothing but flies.

Of course, Peter was always like this since he was 6 and received his first bug examiner kit from his grandma. The ullage left by was an absentee father was filled by this. He would take his forceps and pincers and magnifying glass and would minutely and gently detach the gossamer wings of butterflies, bugs and insects or say pin the thorax to a board after dousing it with god-knows what chemicals (formaldehyde?) and wither away endlessly in the sussurous rustles of asymptotic length of Time and Infinite. But he was not one of those twisted kids. He was always sure to be gentle.

Eventually Sarah would make the appointment and Peter was diagnosed with OCD and ADHD and prescribed Ritalin after Adderall was making him too agitated and 'panicky'.


That's what they said right? Sarah, despite not coming from an intellectual background, was modestly intelligent and was no mug. Her father was a 'simpleton' or a 'country bumpin' and your 'typical Idaho farmer' and her mother a housewife. No one attended college in family and juggling three jobs and a son, she already had too much on her plate.

She knew people like stamps, movies, coins, etc. But to pursue it to such extent as to go down the rabbithole of social media to learn and know each and everything about flies smacked of serious issue.

They were divorced even before she was born. She remembers one odd time during potty training when a fly was buzzing on the stool, it seemed to affect the toddler. Peter recoiled and she still feintly remembers the apparition after these years.

Of course, such obsession wasn't entirely unknown. Sarah remembers how one of her girlfriend's brother-in-law once walked out of his wedding - right dab in the middle DJ playing Maroon 5 too!- whilst being enamored by a European starling that seemed to be very rare in that neck of the woods him being an amateur birdwatcher and all...

"Are you sleeping well?"

"Yes." Peter replied softly.

"Any change to appetite?"


"Taking the medications?"


"Thoughts of suicide or hurting anyone."


"Are you still following up with Araceli?" The doctor referred to the therapist.


Few more monosyllabalic dialogue ensued. The dopamine started surging as soon as the door was ajar and the patient was let out with the mom standing outside. Peter now has all the time in the world to read about each and every mayfly species from the list of 3,000.

His mother was ebullient for some reason. Is it because today was exceptionally tiring? She decided to treat him McDonald's.

"You are just a weirdo." The kid said. All Peter wanted was a hit. But the others weren't sure if he would be able to handle the THC. Jesus wasn't being mean or evil. This is what most people don't understand about bullies. The bullies or a group are not necessarily mean doing a 'na-na-na' namecalling prank or calling a kid 'virgin momma's boy'. It's more a cold, calculative, salient and subtle machination at the same time reflective of our modern cruel society of Tiktok generation and X mob.

Having never beeng able to fit in anywhere, having never a romantic relationship, having never the charm, the pizzazz or finesse of a gentleman, having never a loving father but a distant, abstract one and a semi-narcissistic mother who made him guiltrip over her never having a relationship, having never reached the zenith of self-actualization despite being a genius in his field with encyclopedic knowledge...Peter felt like trash. Utter trash. The low-lifes. The untouchables. The dalits. The invisible. The pariah. The bizarre. The fringe. The outcasts. What difference was he in this nihilistic cosmic cogs and gears of Nataraja's dance of maya?

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. What difference would it make if he wasn't even born like Magritte's 'Man reading a newspaper'.

Sarah still wasn't sure if Peter was thinking these things five hours earlier at McDonald's by Dobson Street.

She was in a state of catatonia. Coroner wasn't sure if he fell in the garbage bin from four storey, was pushed by the kids who were seen earlier breakdancing on the rooftop with boombox, or Peter just plain suffocated himself with a shopping bag to take out the trash that he considered himself to be.

As one of the medics were to zip the bag shut, it got stuck. "Oh great!" Tiffany thought. It was another of those days. She retched as she caught a brief whiff of the stench of the body from the dumpster. Suddenly a tiny fly came buzzing.

It hovered over his body for three seconds. Then few seconds later another came. Tiffany went to get another bag as the other two paramedic officers undressed him from the shroud waiting for Tiff.

"Jesus Christ man." Chris shouted suddenly. There was a small cloud of flies pestering them now. Although they were all masked up and took every precautions against contaminations, it was just bothersome. Plain bothersome. As annoying as pulling of a bikini wax. Yes, the buzzing wasn't hitting them with a sledgehammer, but rather bothered them like like small cuts like a thumbs down button on a post.

Soon dozens and dozens of flies swirled the air like a tornado. It was already an overcast sky in December and as the ominous sign didn't bode well, many started to retreat and recede calling it the sigil of 'Diablo'.

"The kid was weird I tell you man," a man said with deep Hispanic accent.

"Look at that," another pointed. Pretty soon the body was being overtaken by a blanket of smoky nanoparticles as more and more pointillist flies swirled, gathered and clouded over the corpse. Then there were hundreds. If not thousand nanobots of spite and dark spirit seem to overtake the entire proceedings.

A swarm of about record 3,000 flies gathered buzzing over the scene. Many in the crowd got worried and left. Many were curious. Of course, those who knew nothing about some random, creepy guy did not see much to it.

But among those who did was one single solitary figure. Her face was stone like a statue. She was cold and silent and was observing the whole incident with a chilly gaze. Finally, she understood. She was a convert now.

She felt his spirit. The spirit that longed to be recognized, ushered, kindled, felt, celebrated and applauded. The spirit that was no longer with her, but forever etched in her heart. The presence will finally be with her forever.

"Now he is with them." She shrilled like a banshee in tone so overpitched only an ethereal being would pick up.

In her hands was a tome on nymph flies. Peter's last order from Amazon that came in yesterday.

"He is with them now." She nodded catatonically.

May 31, 2024 10:32

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Tim Vester
06:56 Jun 26, 2024

Hello Zeeshan! Like a few others, I have really enjoyed this story and I would like to ask your permission to narrate it on our storytelling YT channel. Here is a link to view what we do. http://www.youtube.com/@AlternateRealityReading If you are game, you can reply here - or reply via email. AlternateRealityReading@gmail.com There is a fruit fly buzzing by the monitor as I type this!


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Beverly Goldberg
22:15 Jun 05, 2024

Brings Kafka's Metamorphosis to mind, but the Mother--where did that come from. Very well wrought--pulled me in and left me a bit shaky. Your imagery is so strong I looked around to see if there were any flies in my room, but the hum turned out to be my air conditioner had turned on.


Zeeshan Mahmud
22:52 Jun 05, 2024

Thank you! I found the prompt itself very interesting since everyone has her own obsession.


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