Science Fiction Fiction Fantasy

The sounds grew louder as I got closer to the tree. A loud, hiss-rattle sort of buzzing, almost impossible to articulate, but as familiar as my own voice. I stood beneath the crepe myrtle, no actual shade at all to protect me from the excruciating Texas sun, wondering where it was. Suddenly, I was smacked in the face with a fierce and angry flutter, as it scuttled off higher up into the branches. “Bastard,” I muttered. “I hope my cats find you!” It hiss-rattled louder in defiance at my intrusion.

“I’m just trying to water my fucking tomatoes!” I yelled at it, knowing it couldn’t care less.

It was getting darker, as the sun had already begun to set, which was basically the only good time to water anything, unless it was early morning, and I am not an early morning person. I thought maybe those little alien fuckers would be asleep, or gone, or just NOT THERE, but they were, and they left creepy, crispy, brown shells everywhere in their summer wake. I plucked them off the tomato cages and the fence, crushing them like eggshells with a disgusted satisfaction.

I continued my watering, and one flew down and landed right on the top of the tomato cage, staring at me. I stared back, studying his big black beady eyes, and large wings that were almost beautiful, if they weren’t hiding all of their icky legs beneath them.

“Don’t you have someone else to bug?” I asked. “Get it? Bug?” I laughed at my own punny joke.

“Yeah, I got it,” it grumbled back at me. Huh?

Am I having a heat stroke?

“It wasn’t that funny, and anyway, you’ve been a bitch since you came out here. I’m just trying to live, how is that even bothering you?”

“You’re really loud, dude. I get migraines. Your loud ass buzzing all day doesn’t help.”

“I don’t know what a migraine is, but I have to find a lady friend, and she’s not gonna know that I exist if she can’t hear me, soooooo…..”

I start to feel dizzy. I am having a heat stroke, surely. Or is it a mirage? Have I had too much sun? Or worse, am I developing schizophrenia?

I walk over to the table under the patio and sit down. I’m sweating buckets, even in the near dark. The cicada follows me, perching on the edge of the very full ashtray kept outside for our roommate. “This is disgusting,” he muttered. “I hope I don’t smell like an ashtray if a lady actually shows up,” he made a face. Yes, this talking cicada just made a pissy face at me.

Maybe I’m high.

“You’re not high or having a heat stroke,” he answered me, reading my thoughts? “I AM actually talking to you.”

“Why? No cicada has ever bothered to speak to me before. I feel so lucky!”

“I detect your sarcasm, but you are not wrong. You should feel lucky. Not everyone gets to talk to me.”

I look inside the house, through the mini blinds. The kitchen lights are on, but no one is around. I thought my boyfriend was doing the dishes. Yes, he does the dishes. Instead, though, it was empty, and quiet. Even my little dogs were nowhere to be seen. Usually they came outside with me, but since the temperature said it “felt like 109”, I made them stay inside so they didn’t burn their little feet.

“See, you’re so kind. Even to those little rat things.” Reading my mind again! What the hell?! “The hairier one ate my friend last week,” he continued. “You didn’t even help him. You got your phone out and made a video of her playing with him. Biting him, dragging him around the yard by his wings, his legs. You thought it was CUTE.”

“I did not think it was cute, I thought it was pretty gross, actually, and I tried to get her away from it, IF YOU REMEMBER CORRECTLY. I don’t want my dog eating bugs and then licking my face later–”

“BUGS!!!!” He was indignant. “You’re in for a surprise…”

“I think I am plenty surprised, already, and quite possibly losing my shit. Anyway, she was very determined. I think she’s part cat. Every time I tried to get it away from her, excuse me, HIM, she grabbed him and ran to the other side of the yard. Didn’t you see me cover him with a giant leaf when she finally dropped him for a minute? She couldn’t see him anymore, so I was able to get her inside the house. So she didn’t actually eat him, she just.. Played with him.”

If you could see beady black eyes without irises roll, this is what he did. My explanation was exact, though! She didn’t EAT his friend. “He still died, Human. Died from those injuries.”

“Furthermore, I don’t know why I even care if she played with him, or why you care, either. He may have been your friend, but isn’t that less competition for you with the ladies? Isn’t it better that he’s gone?”

“You’d think so,” he said wistfully. “But we did live in burrows next to each other for 17 years, so we grew up together. We had many, many long conversations. So aside from the fact that in an odd way, your dog leveled the playing field, so to speak, it is bittersweet.”

I blinked the sweat out of my eyes, and wiped my forehead to no real avail. The air was almost suffocating. I am sure that has to be why I am sitting here, having a conversation with a cicada and not actually freaking out, other than wondering why the hell I am sitting here, having a conversation with a cicada.

The least of which because I have never liked them, because when I was six years old, a boy at my babysitter’s house used to snatch them off tree branches, and squeeze them so they would scream loudly, and chase me, up and down the street. Once he was chasing me through the yard, and I tried to climb the chain link fence to escape him, snagging the inside of my knee on the top of the metal fence, blood pouring down my leg. I have that scar to this day and have never forgotten how or why I have it.

“You have that scar to always remember us!” He said, butting into my thoughts. “Nick shouldn’t have been chasing you on the daily with us, but we can’t transform in broad daylight and blow our cover, so we just went along with it. He was a sadistic prick. He was soon removed.”

“Removed???? Wait, what the fuck, how are you doing that? How are you talking, and how are you reading my mind? Where is everyone, why are your loud ass little buddies quiet all of a sudden?”

“We’re not alone. They aren’t quiet, you just can’t hear them, the way we truly speak. With our minds. Which is how I can hear yours.”

I started to feel unnerved, and then I remembered he just said we can’t transform in broad daylight and blow our cover. My blood ran cold, and I began to wonder if I was still breathing, because I could not move.

“You’re breathing, chill. Everything is fine.”

“I suppose we have different definitions of FINE.”

Suddenly, the cicada jumped off the edge of the ashtray, and into the air, almost upright. His many legs began to meld together, until he had two arms, two legs, one body, one big head, but still, two giant black eyes. He was a greenish brown, like a cicada, and his skin reminded me of clay. Somehow I was calm. Not moving. Waiting.

“I guess clay isn’t so bad, you aren’t actually disgusted by me, so, that’s a plus.” His lips and mouth, which were very small, did not move. He … smiled? “YES WE SMILE! We can’t help ourselves, just like you lot can’t.”

You lot.

“Look, I’m not going to hurt you, I just want you to come with me on a little field trip. You may even enjoy it.”

“I don’t really have time to go anywhere right now, I’m sweating like a pig, I need to take a shower, my boyfriend is probably wondering why I’m taking so long out here,” I sputter. It’s one thing I was talking to a cicada. It’s another that the cicada morphed exactly into the alien-like creature that I always thought they looked like. I think about all the cicadas I’ve seen in my life, wondering if they were all aliens.

“Yes.” He said abruptly. “It’s how we keep our eyes on you. Well not you specifically, except in this case, of course,” he chuckled. “Humans in general. Some of us get eaten by cats or birds or squished by cruel little six year old humans chasing other humans, etc, but that’s just how it goes. We are the soldiers on the ground.”

My head began to feel like a fishbowl, sloshing around. “Just relax,” he said. “You’ll be back before you know it.” Panic suddenly shoots through every one of my cells and limbs like lightning.

“Hey Marco!” He turned around, talking to someone, another alien, again without moving his lips. The alien walked up out of the darkness of the backyard and joined him. “I found my lady friend.” His big black eye winked.

August 04, 2023 18:42

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20:45 Aug 12, 2023

Very imaginative story. I'm always fascinated by the way writers on here are able to invent narratives out of the smallest of things that I would of overlooked.


Heather Blank
16:49 Aug 14, 2023

I would’ve overlooked cicadas if one hadn’t slapped me in the face a couple of weeks ago! Lol! Thank you!


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Shane Reber
17:39 Aug 12, 2023

Cicadas are almost as beautiful as June bugs. Their loud hiss-rattle sort of buzzing is how I know summer is here. Very enjoyable dreamlike story about heat exhaustion! 😁


Heather Blank
16:50 Aug 14, 2023

Thank you!!! 🙏 It’s how I know summer is here, too!! Then I can hide in my room for the next 3 months!!!! 🤣


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