Hi Gang, Lisa Burton here with the last of Macabre Macaroni for 2017. So far, we’ve raged through the streets as a monster while exploring some of the broken things about various systems. We’ve looked behind the curtain at a hospital to poke a stick in the idea of accountants running our medical professions. We even pulled up a lawn chair for the end of the world.
I’ll, sadly, be retiring my witch’s hat for now, but not until I go trick or treating. I may get to wear it a bit during the editing of Craig’s novella, The Hat.
Today, we’re just going to enjoy a bit of nature in a story Craig calls Little Brown Bat.
Little Brown Bat
Little Brown Bat crawled out of a crack along the cliff face. The crack, no wider than a bottle cap, had housed bats for over a hundred years.
He squinted at the setting sun, but decided to leave the roost early. Soon the nighttime sky would be full of his brethren, but Little Brown Bat knew something they didn’t.
They would all head for the college campus nearby and hope to find the night insects fluttering around the lights surrounding the quad.
Little Brown Bat was headed for Randall’s Marsh. Situated on an abandoned farm, the waters had not been dredged for swimming or poisoned for mosquito control.
Sometimes, if he was early enough, he could catch the last of the day-flying insects. Fat blowflies, and yellowjacket wasps full of meat, made for a satisfying snack. It takes a lot of food to keep Little Brown Bat in the air.
Once the sun set, the marsh itself always had a hatch of water borne insects. Sometimes they were mayflies, sometimes caddis, and if he was lucky a giant stonefly or two.
He ducked into the forest along the way, the shade protected his sensitive eyes from the setting sun. He caught a lazy moth in his tail and flipped it into his mouth on the way to the marsh. A tasty snack this early at night.
He veered onto the muddy two track road, and stayed about three feet off the ground. A fat blowfly gave him hope that he arrived early enough.
Wild yellow iris bloomed along the edge of the first pond, and spread across the boggy area. Later tonight the scent might attract one of the gigantic sphinx moths, nearly as large as he was. He moved on to the first small grassy mound, but it produced nothing more than a pair of lawn moths.
By the time he reached the earthen mounds, he’d scored a juicy yellowjacket and two more flies. The sixth mound remained bare earth. It takes time for the grass to grow over the fresh dirt. It appeared a coyote or some other creature dug deep here. Little Brown Bat caught flies by the dozens.
He made two more circles, but he’d caught all the day insects this evening this evening would offer. On his final turn he spotted a fresh hole.
Barely three feet deep, he knew it wouldn’t be long before it was filled back in. That’s when the day insects came. Sometimes they swarmed by the hundreds over the fresh mounds. He would be able to scoop up flies two and even three at once with his tail.
His friends could fight over the night insects at the quad, and scare the coeds to death. This was the place for Little Brown Bat. The holes always became a fresh mound in three days.
His radar detected the first of the caddis flies coming off the water’s surface. The day flyers were finished, but Little Brown Bat knew the ponds always held an abundance of night hatching insects. They’d been much more abundant this year for some reason. He veered out over the surface of the water.
The swollen faces of three coeds watched him from below the water’s surface. They’d been here for over a month, and the night insects seemed to hatch with greater frequency. They no longer screamed at the site of a tiny bat.
His radar detected a fluttering stonefly, and he veered left. He nearly brushed the exposed rib cage of another coed along the shore as he scooped with his tail, but he caught the huge insect.
Yes, Randall’s Marsh was a lonely place, but it was perfect for Little Brown Bat.
If you enjoyed Macabre Macaroni 2017, you can always keep reading. Stories from previous years are available in the sidebar under the category Short Stories and Vignettes. If you’re really into it, and we hope you are, you can pick up some of Craig’s short story collections. Go to his Amazon Author page and look for either of the Experimental Notebooks, or both of them. You can also find some of Craig’s work in the anthologies Quantum Wanderlust and Macabre Sanctuary.