“Myrmecia Pyriformis” by Chris Milam

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In the backroom of an exotic pet shop, a gentleman from Australia handed the owner a sealed box. The man was excited, he had been waiting for this package for months. He peered into the box and smiled. “Welcome to America,” he whispered.

Two days later he took the box to a nearby wooded area in southern Ohio and set them free. Now, all he needed to do was wait. He was a dark-minded man with twisted thoughts who wanted to cause mayhem because he believed the town had persecuted him whether it was real or just in his head. Time will tell, he thought, as he walked away, climbed in his car, and drove away.

 

•·•·•

 

Fairfield, Ohio. 3 months later.

All was quiet at 924 Catalpa Drive on a boring Thursday night. Wayne Richards was dozing on the couch in the living room, Dateline playing on the TV. He was worn out from his shift at the steel factory and fell asleep after a dinner of meatloaf and green beans. 

Outside the front door a line was forming, a tiny buzzing coming from within the pack. The bulldog ants began to enter the home beneath the front door, over the threshold. There were thousands of them, maybe a million. A swarm of death. They crawled onto the couch and all over Wayne. The ants made their way to his nose and eyes and ears, rooting themselves inside and biting him, releasing their venom. He was eventually covered in bulldog ants like a live blanket. They bit into him at every part of his body, eventually reducing him to a red-stained corpse. 

Next, the giant line moved through the kitchen into his wife’s bedroom. Becky was sleeping, a book open on her lap. She was tired from her job on the assembly line at Metal Sales Manufacturing. After dinner, she had put the toddler to bed and went into her room to read for a while.

The bulldog ants found her. They climbed up the legs of the bed frame and violated her, biting her as they formed a massive ball around her head. They injected their deadly toxin from head to toe. She briefly woke up, but couldn’t yell because the ants filled her mouth. She died a fast death. The ants were not satiated.

 

•·•·•

 

Across town, the exotic pet store owner, Tim Rivest, read the local paper. He laughed out loud at the article about the invasion of deadly ants native to Australia. Seal your windows and doors, the article read. They can kill a human in a matter of minutes. Tim thought about everyone in Fairfield who snitched on him for having illegal animals at his store and house. This was his revenge. He drank his beer as he finished reading, a smile never leaving his face. 

What Tim didn’t know was that his front lawn at that precise moment was filled with hungry movement.

•·•·•

 

The swarm left the body of Becky Richards and marched to the next bedroom. They inched their way up the crib. Little Joshua was still awake. The ants moved in, their legs moving quickly across the boy.

The last sounds coming from inside 924 Catalapa Drive were the horrifying screams of “Mommy, Mommy.”

 

Chris Milam lives in Middletown, Ohio. His stories have appeared in JMWW, Jellyfish Review, Lost Balloon, Bending Genres, Molotov Cocktail, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter: @Blukris.

“Kiling Humens and Baysbawl” by Chris Milam

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Well, my mom slept with an alien. This was ten years ago, two years after the invasion. She met him on SpaceLove.com. His name is a bunch of squeaks and squeals and is spelled with weird symbols, so she called him Bruce Greenwood, who she said was an underrated character actor. Anyway, they met online. Bruce only listed two interests: killing humens and baysbawl. He’s not the greatest speller in the galaxy. She thought it was cute even though the aliens literally killed millions of humans when they first arrived. After a few dates, she introduced him to me. I took in his lobster claw hands and praying mantis head and told mom that I preferred she get back to together with Chuck because at least he wasn’t from another planet and looked somewhat normal in his khakis and vintage rock t-shirts.

After a few months, he moved in with us. But one good thing came from their union, my brother Jacob. He also has lobster claw hands but his head is human, though his feet are webbed. The alien is an attentive father, unlike my own, who left years ago to chase alcohol and other women. Bruce walks Jacob to school and vaporizes anyone who makes fun of him. My brother is untouchable when he is around. They also share a love of baseball, the Yankees to be more precise, and they always play catch in the backyard. I watch from my bedroom window wishing it was me and my dad out there bonding and throwing curveballs.

When dad found out that my mom married Bruce, he stormed over and demanded that she divorce him immediately because no god damn alien was going to be a step-father to my son. Bruce clicked his tongue three times, which was alien speak for I’m about to kill you, so dad backed off, said screw it, I need a drink and took off. I haven’t seen him since.

There are others like us in the neighborhood. It started slowly, a mixed family here and there, then over the years over half of the families had an alien in the household. Even Jason Preston, the saddest guy I ever met, found love on the internet. He calls her Rosamund, after Rosamund Pike, who he said was really hot. We all get along and have cookouts every month or so. Aliens love grilled chicken for some reason, maybe it tastes like whatever they ate back on their planet. There will always be peace in the suburbs because we know the aliens could kill us any time they want to. So we behave around them, give them our respect which is a disguise for fear. 

Bruce Greenwood tries to fit in. He wears skinny jeans and slim fitting Polo shirts. He bowls on Friday nights. He even dresses up as Santa Claus on Christmas, though most children know he’s just an alien in a red suit. I do admire his efforts, to be honest. I hated him at first but lately, I’ve grown to like him in a because-he-makes-my-mom-happy-in-more-ways-than-one way. He dotes on her, buys her little gifts, though he doesn’t totally understand the concept. He’s brought her a bag of crickets, a dead rat, a box filled with dog poop. He buys her things like Bic lighters and mulch and toothpicks. She says it’s the thought that counts and she loves him because he tries so hard to impress her.

I met a girl recently in the neighborhood. I call her Jennifer after a middle school crush. Even Bruce Greenwood gave me a tree branch to give to her on our first date. We are going to the ice rink at fountain square. I just hope her huge webbed feet fit into the ice skates because I really like her. I really do, alien or not.

 

Chris Milam lives in Middletown, Ohio. His stories have appeared in FlashBack Fiction, Molotov Cocktail, Lost Balloon, Bending Genres, WhiskeyPaper, and elsewhere.
Twitter: @Blukris.