Extreme Writing Challenge #41: “Invasion”

The story I wrote for today’s post involves bugs.  Lots of them.  I’m not a big fan of bugs, but I can tolerate them.  The exception is spiders.  Just an image of a spider will give me an anxiety attack.

I’m not sure where the inspiration for today’s story came from.  Maybe Spring is to blame, what with its delivery of an influx of bugs ranging from crumb-sized to walnut-sized.  Or possibly it is this video I stumbled upon that shows some of the 50,000 spiders “raining” down on Brazil.  (Also known as “hell.”)

“WTF” doesn’t quite cut it here.  (Source: http://www.iflscience.com)

Disclaimer:  I didn’t watch the whole video.  At 20 seconds I was covering my eyes, shrieking, and trying not to vomit.

So…I wrote a story about bugs.  Blech.


Mallory used an old hairbrush as a broom to sweep up the dead beetles on the floor. The real broom stood out on the front stoop, its aged bristles full of black and brown carcasses that wouldn’t shake out. Mallory glanced at the clock every ten minutes. Samuel would be home for lunch at noon. He would know what to do.

Mallory avoided the living room as she tidied up the remainder of the house. Once every surface had been dusted and every speck of lint lifted off the hardwood, she settled in with a book at the kitchen table. There would be no lounging on the sofa today.

It was hard for Mallory to get comfortable, dressed in tight-fitted clothing and Samuel’s clunky hunting boots. The first time she was tickled by a beetle that was crawling up her back under her shirt, she tore right through the wool. She leaned against the wall, panting, in only her bra.

She’d researched ways to bug-proof a house. Samuel installed screens on all of the doors and the windows. They covered the vents with mesh, removed the shrubs that bordered the old home. The beetles continued to flood the living room. A crunchy carpet on the oak floor. Mallory couldn’t look at them at first. Samuel scooped them into a bucket and drove them down the road, where he dumped them in a field. Soon they reappeared, but with reinforcements.

Mallory thought about calling the school and asking Samuel to come home early. The crinkling sound of the beetles scuttling across the floor caused her nerves to come loose. She took half of a Xanax still left over from a past life. It was a darker life, and they’d moved here to escape it. Some good that did.

Mallory wondered what kept bringing the beetles back. She couldn’t be cooped up here with them, day in and day out. Yet again, she would have to choose between reality and sanity.

Her hands shook as she picked up the phone. Mallory carried it into the living room and began counting the beetles. If there were more than 20, she would call Samuel. There were 31.

Ms. Boone, the secretary, answered the phone. Mallory asked for Samuel. “Tell him it’s an emergency,” she said.

“Hi, love,” Samuel cooed. “What’s the matter? Everything okay?”

“They’re back,” Mallory sobbed. “It’s like they never left. I can’t take it anymore!”

Mallory heaved onto the floor, hardly hearing what her husband had to say. By now the beetles had doubled. Sweating, she leaned against the cool wall and wondered, was it really just the bugs she couldn’t take anymore?


If only Mallory knew, it could be worse.  She could live in Brazil.

Today’s challenge was:  A story less than 500 words in length contains at least 20 unique words with a double O.


One response to “Extreme Writing Challenge #41: “Invasion”

  1. Loved reading it! You did really well in this challenge 🙂 Check out a short story contest- http://www.tallenge.com/contest/literaturestorycontest.html
    It has viewers and participants from all over the world and you can win $100. Moreover no entry fee.

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