While most of my stories tend to be dark, this one is bordering on pure surrealism. A story about unknowable and strange things I call:
The beetle’s liquid squirts up in an arc once the needle plunges into its exoskeleton. It squirms, the legs trying to run.
The man holds the needle with a pair of fingers, not even feeling the momentum of his tiny victim. He pushes down until the needle breaks into the corkboard. The bug keeps failing to escape.
With his other hand, the man adjusts his spectacles, sliding around the various suspended lenses. He tightens the focus on his right eye, and looks over the dying bug.
It stops finally, and he smiles. His teeth all end in points–dull, filed-down points.
With that done, he goes still, unmoving. Not even breathing. The symbols on his button-up shirt still dance though. Swirling and expanding and shrinking against the fabric. Occasionally it spreads to his skin, only to pull back like a furtive kiss.
There’s a buzz. It permeates the room. He still doesn’t move. Until his arm snaps out into the air and pulls down a fly. Its wings bound between thumb and pinkie finger.
He transfers it to the corkboard and pins it as well. A single drop of yellowish pus stains the wood.
Something out of sight moves around the room, hiding behind cabinets, and making the bottom flaps of couches stir for just a second.
The man whistles in a low tone, and holds out his hand. His nails are black, like the beetle’s shell, and twice as long as the finger joints they sit upon. He rotates his hand, and moves his fingers against invisible strings.
“You have something for me?”
The voice is from underneath the table, but the man makes no attempt to look. He does wince though, as a sound of slow slicing rings out, and a pool of red spreads beneath his chair.
“Yes. Two more.”
The pool sucks away with a slurping sound, and something rushes out from underneath the table.
The man closes his eyes, and assumes the hand positions of a prayer. “I present for you: grief, pain, and death.”
“And may you bring it to more.”
A furry something touches his eyelids, and the man almost opens them, only to flutter them shut. A cackle shakes the entire structure of the building. A glass pot, off in the corner, explodes into priceless fragments.
Something brushes past the man’s body, tickling his nose, and he opens back up his eyes.
He looks down at the table, and the corkboard is devoid of both needles and insects. He runs his hands over the porous surface, and it feels warm to the touch.
He rubs his hands together and stares straight ahead as three television sets, each model from a different decade, all unmute themselves. On each is a newscaster without a face. Instead of a microphone they all hold human femurs.
“And in new news…”
“…another two diagnosed with stomach cancer…”
“…is this an epidemic we’re facing…”
“…has our friend up in office…”
“…been paying his debts as promised?”
The man doesn’t answer. And the three newscasters snap the femurs in their hands and disappear from the screen, leaving live footage of car crashes.
The man reaches underneath his shirt and pulls out a bundle of silver, gleaming needles. He lays them out in rows at the bottom of the corkboard, and holds still.
After a moment, an ant crawls up the side of the table leg.