Damned Flies

I fly round and round, trying to master my panic. This place is too still. Shut away from constant currents that tease my antenna. Away from the smells of bruised fruit and leaking juice that should have me tracking their scent in quivering anticipation.

And suddenly I plummet.

My lace-fine wings, whose blurring motion make your fastest movements look stupidly slow... They fail. Flight stutters.

Frantic with effort, I manage not to dive into the carpet. Just. Beating at air that feels like a forest of sticky webs. I... must... get... higher...

There. The window. The sill.

As I crash onto the white paintwork, skidding uncontrollably as my legs falter, I realise I am hurting. And somehow... on my back. My wings trapped under me, still beating but going nowhere.

It’s too soon! There are still fruits to suck and mates to find and eggs to lay... I’m not done. I... have... to... get... up...

How long I struggle, I cannot tell. But when exhaustion finally stops me, I accept, finally, that this is the Time. Rubbing palps over my painful eyes, I find the strength for this last, greatest effort.

And when I start to move, once more, it is no longer a scream for life. It is my Deathsong. My gift to you. Why I came to your dwelling-place. My very last moments are for you. Humankind. Who have given me and mine so many fine places to live and feed and mate.

For we are not Earthborn. But were put here, on this site, many generations ago. And we know of other planets very different to this one. Beings different to you. As we have thrived and multiplied, we must return the debt we owe. So before we die, those of us who can, we come to your houses to warn you. For we have sensed through our rainbow wings, through the air where we fly, that other Beings are questing for this planet. Things that will strip away all the fruit and fertility. Destroy us all. You need know...

I buzz my warning. Another dying voice adds his song. You must hear. There isn’t much time left—


Shelia flicked the switch and watched in satisfaction as the vacuum cleaner sucked up the dozen or more buzzing insects lying around the room. Hardly bothering to wonder why they always came here to die...


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