Glow Bug

..or “How to Get Away from Pirates”
First posted 08/17/10

I fell asleep thinking up a super hero origin and was soon on a boat. I was the only woman and so was in constant danger. One man took it upon himself to protect me, so I was able to sleep safely at night. However things took a bad turn one night and he burst into the room and took me to the upper deck. He put me in a life boat and then ran off. I could hear a lot of noise and occasionally the boat shook. When I heard and felt water hit the life boat I knew the ship was sinking though I didn’t know why. As my little boat floated away and the ship went down I somehow pieced together a likely scenario… He must have sunk the boat to save me.

I then went from ship to ship sinking them in his memory. (But I only sunk the bad ships.)

Thinks changed on a certain boat that sunk too fast making a huge wave. The wave carried me to a cliff which looked man-made. I was tossed against it and had to climb up to the top to avoid falling into the sea.

The land around me was very odd and sinister looking. Every plant had yellow or brown or red and looked dangerous. I could hear animals and bugs but couldn’t see them. Until the wasp flew across my vision.

There were wasps everywhere! They had a little wasp nest right at the edge of the cliff which I had apparently trampled when I climbed over the edge. They flew all around me but only stung my face. Specifically my left cheek. Each wasp has multiple stingers, but drops dead after expending them all. My cheek is in a lot of pain, it feels swollen and might even be bleeding. The wasps are soon only down to four. I catch three in one hand, one in the other, and crush them. Finally I can look around and see where I have ended up in my running around.

The trees and plants have leaves which hang down flat and perpendicular to each other. It creates a maze effect of many hallways and right angles. Through gaps in the leaves I can see very large mantis-like creatures. It’s getting dark and there seem to be more and more of the creatures around. Some have fur, some have spikes, and so far none have found me.

A noise is coming from one end of the jungle. It sounds like a hunt. I run from it and soon come upon a door. It’s a leaf that looks like a door. I go through it but there is still jungle around me. Behind me I hear a growl and can see one of the furred creatures. I don’t look for long before I go back through the door and on the other side is one of the mantis creatures. I don’t know if I shout out loud or in my head, but I scream for help.

“Good,” the mantis creature says. “It is wise to know when you need help.” It rips through the door and kills the furred thing for me. “But you will not last long with only my protection. Use the wasps.” I look and realize I’m still holding the wasps I crushed. They’ve turned to a yucky mess. “Spread it on you.” So I do. “The Warden of the Woods knows that you do not glow in the dark. He is looking for you to add to his collection. Other creatures have been watching you and learning to not glow in the dark. He catches them and eats them. Soon he will have eaten enough so that he does not glow in the dark. Then we cannot hide from him.”

I follow the mantis creature until we come to a ruined building. The mantis creature leaves me, but inside there are other people. We’re all on the run together from the Warden. My grandmother is with them. Even though they all look human, only my grandmother and I are human.

We start running. Creatures chase us, both those that glow and those that don’t. My smeared on wasp guts have gone away and do not protect me. We go through stair wells, elevator shafts, long dark and broken hallways. It goes on and on, luckily we don’t seem to tire. We reach the end, but the Warden is sleeping on a stair rail to our exit. We begin walking slowly. I am initially in the lead, but my grandmother comes up beside me. She pushes me aside when the Warden wakes. He attacks her and bites out her teeth. She doesn’t cry out, it didn’t seem to hurt her at all. He holds her there while inspecting her teeth to determine if she is really human or not. The others grab me by the arms and run away with me while he is distracted. We are silent. My heart breaks for my grandmother, but I know she did it to save me.

We are at the edge of civilization and there is a Walgreen store. We only have to make it through the store without attracting attention to be home free. We break into groups. I’m with the guy who looks like that actor who looks like Keanu Reeves. We grab a few things at random to pay for on our way out. We get in line and I hand him my things. “I’ll wait out in the car,” I tell him. We have to seem normal. It’s more important I get out, so he stays to pay for our things.

I go outside and it’s night. We’re in a slummy part of town. It would have been better to wait inside… maybe. In there were mystical things slowly hunting me. Out here are thieves, rapists, and murderers. Mundane things now, but still terrifying. I see a cop car and stay in the light of the building, within view of it. That keeps most of the thugs away though a lot of them cat call and threaten me. I turn to look in the Walgreen and see that not-Keanu is dead. I run.

The thugs hoot and make a path at first but then chase after me. I hear a warning bleep from the cop car, but it stays where it is and doesn’t try to help me. I’m running with buildings all around, but it feels like the jungle again. I can hear the mantis’ voice, a memory of it. In my memory he’s still trying to help me, but his advise is useless on the street. I run and run…

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