The crops lay withered and half-eaten. So did the corpses. The entire field lay devoid of life. Trees were completely shredded. Turns out that they were really hungry. So hungry that they could swarm a whole tree and by the time they finished, the only thing left would be the skeleton.
They came in either small groups or swarms. Circling the entire field and gazing down on anything that looked appetizing. The scorching sun heat did not seem to do anything that would drive them off. Nothing would. They seemed to show no seasonal pattern. There seemed to clearly be nothing that would stop them.
Except maybe pesticides. Other than that, they would keep feeding. They had overwhelmed the farms for very long now. The summer heat was driving the extremities of hunger and forcing them out of their homes into the homes of others. Swarms became more common until they were the norm while the smaller groups became the oddity.
At the same time, humans (mainly farmers) happened to be out in the fields, tending to their own desires. The planting business was in and the plants needed to be planted or food would be scarce. Animals needed to be rounded up and dewormed otherwise the other food would be tainted. Children wished to cease being outdoors and play with the baby goats. Everybody seemed to be doing their own thing.
That’s when one of the farmers came running back. His clothes in tatters and his nose bleeding all the way down to his shirt. His shirt had a massive hole the size of a first. As the other villagers became attracted to the commotion, the farmer started yelling that “swarms descended upon him” and that “the field was a graveyard”. Turns out his second rant was correct. Despite the abundance of farmers in the area, the fields looked as though nobody had been there in ages. The potatoes and tomatoes alike had been reduced to mushy skeletons and the plants were simply tiny atoms.
Just as he spoke, his first sentence became proven correct as well. While this would have made him elated that people believed him, it made him and the others feel the opposite way. Usually, the pesticides would have some effect. But the villagers turned heel and rushed back to their homes.
Because these flying creatures were hostile.
Where there should have been teeth, were instead razor-sharp pincers(a villager confirmed this after showing part of his arm skin missing) that served as the primary tool for the parasites. They may have had wings, but they weren’t visible due to the constant flapping.
In order to flee the onslaught, many villagers fled and headed to large cities where the flying creatures wouldn’t dare to travel to. At least for now. The unlucky ones fell onto the ground of the fields and screamed as black waves engulfed them. Many of them screamed and instead of a produced voice, a group of small red colored creatures emerged from the mouth. Others came out of the stomach and the head.
The local government got involved within a few hours after realizing the severity of the situation. They imposed a series of safety guidelines to all those in farm areas. One of the laws was to wear HAZMAT suits which would be distributed by the Peace Corps. Soon, doctors and soldiers were sent into the farms to kill the parasites. It seemed hard though. No matter how many they killed, they seemed to continue multiplying.
Humans did not seem to be the only victims because a few days after the first sightings were reported, children started crying as their favorite baby goats were found lying on the ground. Their bodies had slashes and cuts that revealed their innards. Inside the heart of each baby goat was an observed writhing and this was causing a loss in coloration of the organ.
A month later, the village was no longer the same. Villagers were no longer leaving the boundaries of their small houses. The fields were stagnant and the amount of corpses remained constant until the next unlucky child headed out and fell prey to the dominating swarms. Animals were placed in their pens with metal walls and a roof to cover them. So far, the creatures did not show any ability to dig through metal. The guidelines were being followed to the best of their abilities.
The silence of the day was interrupted when a van arrived at the door of the village. Few broke the indoor policy as they rushed to allow the van to pass. They knew that these people were here to help. The door of the van opened up and three men stepped out in white HAZMAT suits and blue gloves.
Their attire made damn sure that most of their body was protected from bites. They each grabbed a tank of blue liquid that was connected to a long thin pipe with a trigger. Two backpack straps were fixed on to each tank. The decontaminator would last for at least six hours, which was for the first shift of the village.
The men headed into the small enclosure of goats. The bleating was extremely loud as they approached. The farmers, not wearing any safety gear that was courtesy of their long life spent out on these lands, took syringes filled with whitish blue liquid and injected them into the screaming goats’ mouth. They then marked them with a number. To show whether a goat had been dewormed. The HAZMAT men helped the farmers decontaminate a few goats and one of them marked their sides with a number in blue paint. Although the masks covered their faces, the farmers could see that they weren’t happy to do this. But what could they do?
They walked into the bushes and came to a small shack: a one room hovel. Inside was a woman lying on her table in a sitting position. Her mouth reeked of dead flesh. Thankfully, Sterling couldn’t smell. Flies circled her body and dug through her flesh. Their tiny fingers were not as powerful as the creatures and for a few days, the woman had remained in a rotting state. She did not move because she expired yesterday.
In front of her, on a metal plate, lay a half eaten Passionfruit. Sterling examined it. It appeared to have the exact insides of a Passionfruit except for some weird balls. They were extremely gooey and mushy. Using a hairpin, the doctor slowly removed one of the balls. They were each the size of a bean. They looked extremely odd. He put it in his pocket for further investigation. One of the other doctors turned to him.
“Righto Sterling. Shall we check out those fields over there? This has been the fifth report of these balls. We gotta make sure that they are cleared off.”
“Yes. I suppose. Let’s go.” He turned to the farmer. “You go back to your village and stay there. We are going out there.” He moved on with his men.
The large field lay ahead of them. It was completely empty. The corpses had now become clean as new skeletons with only tiny patches of reddish-brown skin on them. The flies would at least get to eat that. It’s graveyard appearance had prevailed during the month that followed.
As Sterling looked on the ground, he saw that most of the skeletons of the fruits had been replaced by the grey balls that had become prevalent. It appeared that these creatures could plant. But what? Sterling picked up the ball and crushed it. A green ooze came out that resembled yolk. He tried playing with it, but noticed that it was extremely viscous. Even more than glue. For a while, his fingers got stuck together and he could not pull them apart. Finally, he ripped off his gloves and tossed them on the ground. They were perfectly obsolete now.
As Sterling walked on, he began to feel weird. His breathing rate increased and he felt as though something was controlling when he should breathe. It seemed that whatever was doing that was making sure that he kept breathing. Every time Sterling tried to hold his breath, he went into a coughing fit. Talking for long stretches was painful and his throat became parched. Why the hell did he forget his water canteen in the van? It was a two hour back there from where they were.
And the next stop was another forty five minutes ahead.
Another feeling overwhelmed him. He reached into his pocket when he remembered what he held inside. But when he receded his hand, it was missing. I probably dropped it on the way he thought. Anyway, it was probably just that green goo that seemed to be droppings. Anything shits. He caught up with his men, ignoring his constant breathing.
They stopped for a break to admire the scenery. The mountains towered over the sides of the fields and the sky was devoid of birds that now lay on the ground on their back. The sun was scorching down on them harder than ever. The only thing surrounding them was the dead fields. Not a single creature was in sight. No swarms. No uncommon small groups.
Just then, a familiar buzzing sound was heard.
Immediately, the men pulled out the spray guns and started rapidly creating clouds of blue. Within a minute, they were engulfed in a blue mist. They tried to search for the source of the buzzing that was only growing louder. One of the men made it out of the mist and saw that apparently, there were no swarms. This may have caused him to collapse in relief and laugh to his buddies that they were tripping balls and shit.
But the buzzing continued. Sterling was breathing as they checked the perimeters of the fields.
“Guys. What is going on? Didn’t we hear a swarm coming?” said Dylan.
“I don’t see anything. Maybe their below us?” said Todd.
“Maybe.” They began crushing the dirt to try and lure anything out. Nothing came. For a while, the buzzing noise continued as Sterling looked around.
“What the fuck is happening? SHOW YOURSELVES ASSHOLES!” yelled Todd. “SHOW YOUR COCK DIGGING CLAWS AND GET YOURSELF FUCKED! COME OUT OF YOUR FUCKING HOLE OTHERWISE I’LL SHOVE THIS SPRAY UP YOURS!”
“Dude. You need to shut the fuck up,” said Dylan. “You are just going to draw them out. Tell you what. There’s a village nearby. We’ll run over there and alert the villagers. Then, we use a house for safekeeping and we rendezvous with the other team.”
“Sounds like a plan, but Sterling here doesn’t look like he’s up to the idea of running.” He was right because now Sterling was on his knees. His face was reddening up.
Todd and Dylan had to carry him all the way to the next bush village. By the time they arrived, the villagers came out to investigate the commotion. They all were fixated on Sterling.
He began to claw at his HAZMAT suit and ripped it open to show his bare chest. It was completely red and his blood vessels were showing. He collapsed on his knees again and Todd, Dylan, and the villagers noticed that his insides appeared to be writhing. He coughed up a mouthful of blood and cried blood. Just then, the buzzing noise intensified. Not only did Sterling’s chest begin twisting more, but a child pointed in fear at something in the sky. The humans stared up at the black mass descending towards them. They began to scream, but their mouths didn’t attract help, but created a passage.
The next day, the village lay withered. So did the corpses.
Written by Stephen Allan