BY BEV CHAMBERS
Copyright is held by the author.
IT HAD been a long vacation and she was ready to go home. She hadn’t meant to stay away so long, but the cool temperatures and ocean mist had tempted her.
She mentally reviewed the list of jobs she needed to do. Air the house out, check her messages, connect the hot water, get the cats from the kennel, and unpack. Groceries had been purchased on the way here, and she was looking forward to home cooked food.
She was weary from the journey, her hair plastered to her head and her clothes clung to her generous curves. She added shower to the list, a cold one. She turned into the driveway and sat for a moment, enjoying her home.
It had taken her seven years of scrimping but finally last winter she’d bought her first house. It stood proud in the setting sun, gables glinting in the fading light. The grass was trimmed proving the neighbour’s son had fulfilled his agreement. Pots were overflowing with lobelia and petunias, welcoming her.
She stepped inside. There was an odd odour in the house, one she’d never smelled before. She opened the windows in the living room. She could not help but admire the bold colours, the oak floors and eclectic furniture, even if it did need a little dusting. Damn, it looked good, and it was all hers.
She raced outside and unloaded the groceries. Bursting into the kitchen she flung on the light. Screaming, she dropped her bags. An intrusion of cockroaches raced along the crevices of the counters, and crawled into the electric sockets, bodies shining in the light, antennae quivering.
Grabbing the fly swatter she attempted to squash them. They flattened and fit through the cracks before she could catch them. Looking for insect spray she opened the cupboard and more ugly insects scuttled out. In vain she squirted them as they swiftly retreated behind the drawers.
She became as aggressive as they, taking off her shoes, turning off the light, then quickly flicking the switch on again, tempting them with food, then smashing them relentlessly with her shoe when they ventured out. The carcasses lined up until finally she stopped, the frenzy finished. She swept up the mess, spraying all the drawers and counters for good measure. Surely that would keep them at bay until the exterminators could be called.
She dropped into bed, too exhausted to shower. Sweat dripped from her forehead as she quickly fell asleep.
During the night she awakened to a sensation on her face. She opened her eyes and froze. The cockroach raised its front legs in greeting as it drank the sweat from her cheeks.