(1) a locust plague like no other.
The locusts practically blacken the sky in their insectoid rage.
Or is it insectoid panic? – It remains hard to determine.
I remembered hearing stories of suicidal businessmen who confessed themselves to the tides of locusts, disappearing instantly to the wave of bugs, only to re-emerge years later, absolutely stark naked, with their eyes glazed over, born again in hallucinogens. But I’m not sure; I think it may have just been one of the stories that Sarah told to scare me. However it was completely believable, as I had seen the neighbours’ children completely skinned alive by the wavves of chitin as their mothers wailed by there windows, watching them be taken by the tide and to never return. And I had seen photos of houses completely torn apart by the hurricane of locusts, leaving only their skeletal steely frames. Fortunately we had never experienced the plague that bad around here.
Sarah stood there by the kitchen door in her dark sunglasses with a cup of tar-like coffee in her hand, watching me hide under the couch with my fingers in my ears to stop the noise the locusts where making outside from deafening me completely. She moved to speak or say something, but quickly decided not too and instead moved upstairs. I hear her fumble around in the drinks cupboard for something before sitting down. I look at my watch, only fifteen more minutes now. I call out to Sarah but she doesn't reply, but five minutes later she makes her way slowly down the stairs and proceeds to squeezes under the couch next to me, passing me my gasmask. I put mine on and she laughs. Above the white noise of the locusts I can hear the rotors of the helicopters moving overhead as they rain down their chemical destruction upon the locusts. Sarah removes her sunglasses and puts her gasmask on. I try to recite the alphabet as fast as possible without any vowels in order to take my mind off the cacophony and what was happening but I kept on fucking it up. Sarah held my hand firmly, reassuring me. I could hear the helicopters overhead louder now, their noise deafening as they descended upon us.
The sound of suicidal machinery high on turpentine.
The sound of this nuclear age throwing the first stone.
A few hours later and the noise had subsided completely and Sarah slid out from under the couch and gestured silently for me to follow her. She opens the front door and heads outside. The sky is clear. The garden stood their completely peeled of all it’s life, just red dirt carpeted in beady black bugs, some of which remained squirming, kicking their little insect legs and rolling their little insect eyes in dying chirps. I made sure I squished as many as possible as I wandered down the street, experiencing the taste of fresh air again through the filters of my mask. The noise the bugs made as I crushed them underfoot provided me with a strange sense of satisfaction. The sun was setting in the distance; all gluggy and hung over in a nuclear hue, painting a romantic pink scarlet tide across the desolate suburban street. It’d been a while since I saw the sun gleam and the sky so empty. A week or two? A month maybe? My skin began to feel itchy from the chemical aftermath.
A neighbour slowly opened their front door and wandered outside. He stood there for a second, barefooted and his singlet torn and dirty, the gasmask making his face and emotions impossible to distinguish. I quickly made sure my revolver was firmly in my jacket pocket before turning back to Sarah who stood there in her gasmask and old summer dress, brooming the dead locusts carcasses off of the drive. I still remember the time Sarah let me fuck her and how that very summer dress lay at the foot of the bed, so peculiar in the half-light. Sarah waves at the neighbour but the neighbour doesn't return the gesture, so we decide it’s safer if we move inside.
“Remember what mum used to say?” Her voice muffled under the mask.
“Yes,” I reply, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
“Yes.” She says as she closes the front door.