Writing prompt: For unknown reasons, insects begin to grow larger and smarter.
By Thain in Vain
A thud woke Henry Jelto with a start. The glass of whisky resting on his crotch tumbled to the floor. Jerry Springer was on the tube. It was about three in the afternoon. Relieved Dawn wouldn’t be home from work for several hours, he grabbed the glass and headed to the kitchen for a refill.
Another thud caused him to tighten his grip on the bottle of whisky. It was coming from the bathroom. He suspected it was a mouse or worse a rat scratching around in the tub. He’d heard stories about pests climbing into the plumbing of old apartment buildings and coming up through the drains. He’d even heard a story about a guy who was sitting on the crapper and heard a sploosh. When looked between his legs, he saw a rat clinging to his log of shit.
From under the sink he grabbed a warped ice cream pail and a bottle of Pests Bee-Gone. He pushed the bathroom door open and stepped inside. He prayed it wasn’t a rat. He peered around door at the tub tucked behind. The tub was empty except for dirty smudges. He heard the familiar thud. It was coming from the bathtub drain. He froze as a thick antenna popped out of the drain hole, nearly poking him in the eye. He jerked back as another appeared, bent in half until it cleared the drain and then snapped straight with a thwang. They were long, nearly a foot and at least as thick as a thumb.
He watched in disbelief as they felt their way around the tub. An antenna felt its way over the drain plug. It hooked itself in ring of the plug, lifted it and flicked it in Henry’s direction. Henry swerved, barely ducking the plug. The other one had been molesting Dawn’s shampoo bottle. A chunk of coagulated shampoo hung obscenely from its tip. “Hey, you’ve got a something hanging from your, antenna,” Henry said, a frightened cackle escaped from his throat. The antenna whipped quickly to the side, dislodging the shampoo chunk.
Henry watched as a brownish mass emerged from the hole. A large, flat insect head squeezed through the opening with a familiar thud. Two coal eyes between the antennae appeared, fixing directly on Henry. He became aware of the uncomfortable thumpity-thud of his heart beating erratically in his chest. A pair of pincer-like claws snapped open, revealing the gape of its cruel mouth. Time stood still as its body ascended from the drain, segment by impossible segment, until it reared back on what seemed like a million legs. It was three feet tall and as thick as one of Henry’s thighs. His brain struggled to comprehend what he was seeing. “It’s a centipede,” he cried. “At least it’s not a fuckin’ rat,” he said with a stiff laugh.
The massive insect lunged at him. He remembered the bottle of Pests Bee-Gone. He raised the bottle and squeezed a stream of milky fluid on the under-belly of the centipede. It reared back, smacking its flat head on the wall. It thrashed back and forth in the tub, sending a splatter of Pests Bee-Gone around the bathroom. Several drops landed on Henry’s arm, he flailed and slipped on the bathmat. He felt himself falling and as his head hit the sink with a sickly clunk, he remembered he had forgotten to take the pork chops out of the freezer before his world went black.
Dawn stood over Henry, who was lying on the cold bathroom floor. “Henry, are you okay? Henry?”
“Dawn? I love you. Look out for the giant centipede in the tub.”
“All I asked if for you to take out the god damn pork chops. . . What?” Dawn turned to the tub just as the insect lunged at her.