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Stink Bugs

By KE Toppin All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Horror

Chapter 1

She has not heard the birds chirping. She has neither seen the flowers grow nor watch the rain fall from the sky in years. She loved the rain, especially after a stressful day at school. 

Her bed, a wet earthiness as spring commences. Movement disturbs her rest. Roots are alive and jubilant with renewed life of which she will never again know. Growing, they stems up through the earth. It awakens her suppressed rage. The raw dampness of the soil births new born insects and hibernation, over for others. They disrupt the loam romping about fulfilling their purposes in nature and within God’s creation. These are the songs of her spring. Her remains has been resting in a blanket of rotted autumn leaves for two seasons.

A bench now resides over the spot where she lays. She can no longer feel the warmth of the sun beating down on the earth; comforting her. It will take the wet leaves much longer to dry once summer returns.

My name is Hazel Pointer and I was on my way home from school two years ago. The year 2013. The months May to September when Georgia experienced the Kudzu stink bug infestation. Unfortunately, for me it was also my nickname, ‘Kudzu’. You can’t image my surprise and anxiety watching the news this day. A woman covered with these gregarious bugs while she walked through Piedmont Park. She wore white, which attracts the bugs. It was a premonition. I had lots in common with this woman and the event, unknowingly. However, as luck would have, she survived her day. I was not as fortunate.

It was one of the hottest summers. It was the day after the newscast and my last day of school. As usual, I walked home alone. I could hear them up ahead giggling but I kept on. They neither poked, pulled nor hit me in class for a change. They did not taunt me and call me ‘Stinky' or 'Kudzu’ on this day. I did well at ignoring them the past few weeks. It looked like it’s working out for the best.

My head held down, I approached the group of three: Mary Rose, Jimmy and Graham. Mary Rose is fatter than me by a good ten pounds, of this I’m sure. My steps quickened when I reached them. I passed them sighing with relief when nothing transpired. I felt it. The blow to the back of my head. Faint, I fell to my knees. The brick on the ground before me, bloodied. I heard a crunch -- having squashed several bugs into the ground. The tears came quickly. The sobbing came later with a piercing and throbbing pain. Blinded by blood and tears, I scrambled to my feet endeavoring to run for it. Only to meet the unforgiving ground, once again. The sting to my back merciless then to my ribs; into my sides, repeatedly. Will they ever stop! My last living thought. Night cloaked my eyes -- wide but shut. The blows kept coming – nothing felt but smelt. The pungent stench of garbage. I am cloaked with their stench. I am trash – broken bits of it -- on the ground – crushed like the multitude of lifeless stink bugs beneath me. Life is stolen from me but my soul dispenses -- rises up and into the bodies of the remaining live bugs crawling over my white hoodie and matching sweats.

My killers dragged me off near the perimeter of Hunters Park. It is an okay spot because I can hear the children playing on the playground. Since, my demise they’ve added park benches. A bench shades me. It blocks the sunlight. I am misery for I am forever damp and wet in my earthy bed, now.  The bench has stolen the last remnant of warmth away. What can I say, they have no way of knowing I slumber here. Nonetheless, it intensifies my rage. Last year, I had become complacent accepting my fate; rage had subsided, but no more.

This spring, in the day of the year 2015, the bench above is occupied for the first time. He is handsome and tall – dreamy! Enough! He is necessary and fits the bill. He advantageously, wears white slacks. We crawl out the earth by the thousands and within seconds we cover his entire being. Intoxicating him with our odor. He is cataplexic. He laughs uncontrollably. We pour into his orifices -- brimming. We are in him and of him, now. One!

He knows where he must go but first he must retrieve it and make the call as we have instructed him. Arriving at the gates of Roslyn High, we wait for the last bell to ring. At the top of the stair, the three stand remorseless and full of life; laughing it up. The rage within us swells. It is tantamount but we must be patient. Get them alone. Get it done! The passage forward is within our reach. Get them together ... take 'em down ... kill three birds with one stone, as the saying goes!

They arrive before the school's gate. We approach them now.

“Hi! My name is James Connor.” We hand them a business card. "I have been looking for just your types … filming begins tomorrow at the International School in Atlanta. Production can use you for our yard scene -- prime spots.”

“Really! Graham did you hear this!” Mary Rose exclaims grinning from ear to ear. “We have to ask our parents first, of course.”

“Not a problem. Please come with me to the other side, I want you to meet our production set manager.”

The three follow Mr. Connor to an awaiting SUV. A black Ford explorer with rails on its windows and an oversize bumper guard. All the windows are heavily tinted. A definite roadway violation. A burly man steps out the driver’s side of the SUV as the three stand beaming with excitement chatting away with Mr. Connor.

“Mary Rose Gifford, Graham West and Jimmy DeVine.”

“Yes.” They reply consecutively.

“I’m Detective McNeal.” He flashes his badge. Give me a second turning his back to the suspects. He takes a call; hangs up. “You are all under arrest for the murder of Hazel Pointer. Her body was found seconds ago near Hunters Park.”

“We didn’t do nothing to her.” Mary Rose snaps back at the officer. The others stand silent.

“We have the brick with Hazel Pointer’s blood and your fingerprints all over it ... Um! Took turns bashing her head in … eh!"

"We are minors! You can't hold us without our parents knowledge or do nothing to us."

"Ah!  There's nothing like an partially informed criminal ... eh, Mary Rose. I'll bet you delivered the first blows!  Your parents are at the station waiting, Miss!

Cuff 'em!”  Officer Connor.

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