PodCastle 218: Insect Joy

by Caspian Gray.
Read by Julie Hoverson of 19 Nocturne Boulevard.
Originally appeared in Interzone.

The crickets started screaming after Luis came back from the war. Theirs was the lowest form of communication; they did not so much exchange ideas as alternate between different ways of expressing alarm. When Amy noticed they were out of water gel and took their bowl to refill it, they screamed. When she sprinkled calcium powder on their food, they screamed. When she cleaned the tiny bodies of their dead brethren out of the cage, they screamed.

It was tiresome.

Outside, now that each night brought frost, the world was quiet. There were the last dying flutters of cecropia moths, blown along the sidewalk like dead leaves. The swarms of ladybugs were already burrowed deep into schools and churches and people’s homes, where occasionally she heard them chirring to each other. She’d met a single dragonfly, perhaps the last one of November, perched in the sun on her front door, but that dragonfly was too tired or too old to speak.

Only the feeder crickets at the store were still trying to express their mangled lives.

Rated R for sex, language and adult themes.