Fiction by Me: Locusts

Curious to see people’s opinions about my own contributions to The Midnight Collection, I’m going to post them here, one at a time.  My posts are just going to have the start of the story with a link to where you can finish reading it on The Midnight Collection’s website.  If you love or hate my story, or love expressing your opinion even when that is “meh,” leave a comment either here or there.  My stories are quite different from each other, so if you hate this one, maybe the previous or the next will be more to your liking.  This one is a horror scifi poem…



Bébé Mélange

Content Warnings:  Classism, Capitalism, Loss of Body Autonomy,
Disordered Eating, Feces, Harm to People and Animals, Crowds

At the mouth of the bay,
A whole shipyard bent all of its powers
To accommodate one job—the last of its kind.
A megayacht of ungodly proportions—a floating city to raze,
Or rather, dismantle with environmental consciousness.
Gone were the times of conspicuous consumption
And of monuments to individual avarice,
And so the megayacht would die.

The grandfather brought his whole family—
Son and daughter-in-law and grandchildren as well.
He brought them to bear witness to the end of an era
But they laughed in his face, laughed at his emotion.
Bitter tears flowed until his eyes ran dry,
And a time later, they flowed again.

The yacht had a flexible hull in three parts.
It was to flex with the waves of an ocean in full fury.
Those hull sections would be the last part dismantled,
Until that time, holding up the savages that crawled inside
So many termites taking apart a thing of true beauty.
This was the end of opulence, of nobility,
But the noble family could not see.

The grandfather sought their hearts one by one.
“Father,” said his son, “You still have your mansions on land.”
“Why do you need one at sea?” asked his daughter-in-law.
“You just don’t get it,” he cried and tried again.
At last, he came to be understood.
His grandson felt his sorrow.

They watched and wept.
The termites did their work, taking it all apart—
Furnishings first, then electronics and hardware.
Walls and decks came out at the same time as pipes and wires.
The fuel was drained with the greatest care of all.
As the hulls were at last carved apart,
They held hands and moaned.

That grandson understood the beauty lost.
As he grew into a man, he came to understand why.
Society had nearly been destroyed by endless consumption.
The world still burned from the aftermath of those fires.
Months of the year were spent indoors and cooled,
And the people blamed his class.
They blamed billionaires.

But it needn’t have been so!
The technology existed that such opulence
Would not need to run on fossil fuels and waste.
If they’d just stayed their revolution a few more years,
Solar and wind and nuclear castles could have
Been raised to honor the aristocracy,
And the world would still live.
What was needed was need.

The grandson knew that the engine of capital was need—
Not the natural needs of humanity, though hunger did help.
It was the needs that capitalists created by advertising.
That’s why advertising was strictly regulated
In the wake of their filthy revolution.
But the grandson did not need it.

He plied scientists with his wealth,
Schemed to stimulate need through other means.
All that was required was a subtle push—so slight a thing.
Make people feel reckless greed, reawaken their true nature.
Insects provided the model—socially communicating hunger.
They would find what made the locusts swarm,
They would instill just a drop in humanity,
And opulence could be reborn.

Amador was a repairist in the city.
People like him kept the electronics running.
When they did their job well, they didn’t have much work to do
And as the indoor season approached, Amador was done.
He was ready to fold up shop and relax in the cool.
Gold screens coated every window around him,
Protecting from the spring sun, gleaming.

But it was spring, and love called.
Amador’s affections fell on a barista—
A young man named David—but could the love be returned?
Did David prefer women? Or simply avoid customers?
Either would leave Amador cold, even as
The heat of the world began to boil.

One day, he saw David’s keychain—
A rainbow flag in resin and cheap metal.
Amador had put in the work to get familiar,
At least as much as was appropriate for a customer.
All that held him back at that point was the pain of rejection.
It was not an inconsiderable thing—but it would be brief.
Get it over with, like taking a shot in the arm.
But still… maybe tomorrow.

High above the coffee shop
The scientists had labored for years.
Their works were astonishing, unnatural:
A monkey that could eat its weight in minutes,
Mice that could leap over a desk if unrestrained.

The mammals subjected to these treatments had
Some qualities of the insects that infused them—
Yellow flesh and red eyes—for so long
As the effects did linger.

That was key—the effects should be subtle.
The final delivery to the people below must go unnoticed—
Something invisible in the air and the people go a little mad,
To want more than they need—and to need what they want.
They could make the effects fierce and short lived
Or subtle and longer lasting, but not perfectly,
And not predictably.

The grandson was convinced, though.
It was time, whatever over-cautious scientists felt.
The delivery mechanism was built into the HVAC system.
His engineers had been deceived about the purpose.
The substance would be dispersed from one room—
An untraceable concentration, so very low.
His ambition would be achieved.

“Release the chemical, Dr. Mercado.”
“I cannot. This could be a disaster beyond imagining.”
“Release the fucking chemical.” He tried threat and reward.
Dr. Mercado gave in, and the grandson’s excitement grew.
They sealed the room and activated the release remotely.
The concentration within the room would be deadly,
But if all worked as designed, no one would die.
The people of the city would be the first
Of a new world of consumers.

The grandson and Dr. Mercado felt it.
A vibration began in their limbs, their hearts raced.
They looked down at twitching fingers turning yellow.
A few stray molecules of the substance must have escaped,
But the chemical was triggered by proximity to others.
They scrambled away from each other and
The grandson locked his office door.

A high power venting system roared to life.
The release room evacuated its atmosphere through vents.
The substance blew across the city unseen.



Or purchase the whole Midnight Collection e-book through Ko-fi or Amazon.  A physical copy in paperback is available through Lulu.  You may be able to purchase it through other sites soon, but it’s nice to not give Bezuggs a cut, and purchase on Lulu gives more money to the cause.  And lastly, you can just read the collection for free at the Collection’s website.


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