A monolithic structure juts abruptly from a vast and isolated wheat field. An entire population of miniscule creatures screams in unison, driven mad. Insects move in suicide cult lines to dive into and explode upon the structure. Guts and yellow stains soon turn the Monolith into a violent eruption of modern art. The contrast is shocking and sudden.
The Old Farmer can’t believe it.
The crops become safe, no longer the victims of thousands of gnawing maws. They grow fat and stooped with the heaviness of their bounty. The Old Farmer becomes a rich man. He dies with pennies lining his pockets years later.
Everyday more insects fly into the Monolith, adding splatters of expression to the hulking mass. The Children of the Old Farmer find themselves locked inside of cars on the interstate, driving home to shove their father into the Earth. They move in from all directions to cover him in dirt.
A grasshopper batters its head against the structure. Soon its body lies inert at the base, its brains adding stain to the stones. The Children’s feet crunch over gravel in long forgotten driveways. They trample over weeds and dirt, old steps, creaky wooden farmhouse floorboards, matted carpets. They breathe in heavy aromas of cigarette smoke and senescence. Windows rimmed with dust allow a dim view of the Monolith.
A daughter moves a finger through the dust, swirling designs into the panes. Swirling fingerprints. The Monolith grabs at her attention.
“What’s that?” she asks, pulling two brothers from their reveries.
In the space of ten seconds countless ants dive from the structure. Their bodies erupt in unseen bubbles as they return to the Earth, adding gore.
One brother breaks the silence that is not silence so much as it is mourning.
“The Monolith,” he says. “Dad told me about it a few times. He said it was just kind of there one morning.”
The daughter asks, “Did he paint it or something? It is incredibly colorful.”
“I don’t think so. If he did he didn’t mention it to me.”
A Praying mantis flies into a protrusion of hardened stinkbug intestines, impaling herself through the thorax and dying without unfolding her arms. She is forever fossilized in this moment of supplication.
The other brother says, “The color is bugs.”
“Bugs?” Swirls settle into the glass, crop circles on a window.
The other brother nods. “Yeah, that’s what dad said. He said the day that thing showed up in the field, all these bugs started killing themselves on it.”
A collective shaking of heads.
“I guess he went pretty crazy there, near the end.”
A millipede and a centipede spend the better part of an hour eating one another’s legs. They bleed yellow pus onto the structure. Caked wings, brittle as old Bible paper, flap languidly in a passing breeze, long since removed from living bodies.
The Children sell the farmhouse. Each child grows and withers, becoming bent old men and women. Soon enough they too are returned to the Earth and covered in dirt, a portion of their father’s pennies handed down to their own Children.
The Diaspora is no longer reserved for insects and arachnids. The long arm of carnage now reaches to include rabbits, rock chucks, weasels and raccoons.
Fur mats the base of the Monolith, pasted with blood and entrails. The farmhouse settles into itself, until finally it collapses. The wheat dies, untended, the blades heavy and rotten. A nearby town has faded to ruin and memories.
There is no life to be found for hundreds of miles.
The Monolith stands immobile in the desolate field.
A mindless pillar of death without purpose, without end.
Then, the people come...
"The Color is Bugs"
Copyright: © 2011 Dustin Reade
Dustin Reade's fiction has appeared in the magazines "Encounters", "Golden Visions", "Nerve Cowboy", and "Sideshow Fables", online at "The New Flesh", and roughly two dozen antholgies for Static Movement, Pill Hill Press, Living Dead Press, and Lame Goat Press. He is an Atheist and a staunch Bigfoot supporter.