I wrote this flash fiction a little over three years ago. It’s still relevant today, so I share it once again. My writing has grown since then (hopefully), so be gracious. I haven’t done anything but add this little intro.

 

Eezzz surveyed the young. Mothers shamed by the birth of sons ushered the boys away. Eezz made a mental note to personally give her condolences to each of them later. Males were, after all, necessary to produce more females, like it or not. When all the males were gone, she spread her wings and flew into the air.

“Daughters!”

Every female within hearing distance snapped to attention. Eezz smiled down on them. A swell of pride filled her. As the longest surviving of all females, she recognized greatness when she saw it. These ones, she thought, they are all survivors. They will all fulfill their destinies. But they needed instruction. And inspiration.

“HUNTERS!”

The girls roared lustily, the hizz of their voices startling nearby prey.

Eezz let the excitement of the moment boil its way through their exoskeletons and settle into expectant silence before she went on.

“Today you go out on your first hunt!”

Another roar.

“You will stalk! Your prey will not see you coming and you will bathe in their blood!”

The girls grew over-excited, anticipating the feeding frenzy. A few lifted into the air, raw and overzealous. Their empty stomachs roiled and burned inside them. Good. That will help. But they will need more.

“Not all of you will be coming back to us.”  Eezz waited while her words sank in. The hovering girls floated down. Silence captured all. Even the birds in the nearby tree held the chirping beaks for once.

“You hunt our most fearsome prey. Their blood is rich and wholesome. They feast on plants and animals, filling their fat stomachs with delicacies to sweeten their serum. You will bear strong young if you feed on their blood.”

Proboscises flicked in anticipation.

“But beware! They are not like our other prey. If they hear or see you coming, you will be in great danger.”

A few of the girls scoffed.

“Yes. They can hear you. And we are not so small that their eyes cannot see us. A few among them…” Eezz paused until every girl snapped to attention once more, “can even feel our bite.”

Laughter. Eezz expected it and knew what to do about it. She waited. It took several long seconds, but the laughter turned to uncomfortable shifting. Faces, wild with ignorant glee a moment ago, grew serious. Frightened even. Exactly what Eezz wanted from them. They needed it. Hunger to fuel their flight. Fear to teach them caution.

“Beware of them, daughters. Feed deeply. Produce strong young. But! Take. No. Chances.” That would do it. They needed nothing more from her. Eezz turned toward the breeding pond. Behind her, the buzz of an army of hunters filled the air. They would be okay. She was sure of it. She turned her attention to finding a mate.

What is that? Something beautiful hung in the tree above the breeding pond. It beckoned her. The sweet hum of air vibrating with the wash of blue waves of light called her closer. Oh, how beautiful it is. A part of her mind struggled against it. It couldn’t be real. It just couldn’t! But there it was. She flew closer, telling herself she just wanted a better look. She felt it draw her in. She caught her breath as a feeling of calm washed over her. Could it be possible? Could such a thing exist in this cruel world? It didn’t matter. She shut her eyes and let it pull her in.

Photo credit: Malcolm Koo used under license CC-BY-SA 3.0

Photo credit: Malcolm Koo
used under license CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

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