It was like something out of a horror film. My mother was hollering from the dining room for my father and I to come quickly. Her tone was excited and disgusted all at once. Oh God what now, I thought!
I walked down the hallway and could hear my mother counting… 36, 37, 38. I walked into the dining room to see her on all fours, on the floor, picking up tiny black things. She stood up and started staring at the top of the window making ‘ooh’ and ‘urgh’ noises. I walked closer and my mother pointed to the window, ‘Look!’ I followed her finger to a cluster of dark shapes and then to my utter revulsion, realised they were large black flies, dozens of them huddled together, emitting a very slow low buzz. I screamed and ran out of the room, almost gagging, then came back and hovered on the threshold, staring at the clumps, completely revolted. But it wasn’t just one window, they were everywhere, lining the tops of the window frames all around the room. ‘Well at least we know where they’re coming from now,’ my mother said with a grin.
For a few days previously, my parents and I seemed to be in a constant state of the game Musical Statues. We would be making a cup of tea or doing the washing up and then we would suddenly stop what we were doing and freeze, eyes darting around suspiciously… or we would burst up from our seats and wave frantically in the air. We, of course, knew what we doing… to an observer, however, we may have looked slightly bonkers, swinging our arms around, swearing and then sitting down again with a defeated expression. My parents house, you see, had been infiltrated by the occasional giant, slow-moving black fly. One would appear in the sitting room and we would all watch as it weaved through the room, bumping into lamps and dozing on cushions, as if drugged. They were fairly easy to kill because of their inexplicable lethargy but they were also unpredictable because of their lack of direction. You would be following its progress through the room and suddenly it would turn and fly straight for your face… a black blob in slow-motion coming for your eyes. One of us would scream and duck and then get hysterics.
In fact the hysteria rose to fever pitch last Saturday. We had all been glued to the latest french noir on BBC4 and were getting ready for bed as the credits rolled. My father and I were standing in the hallway saying goodnight and suddenly one of these little black shits hit me in the face. It was if I had been flicked with thumb and forefinger, so hard was the impact. I screamed, of course, and grabbed my father who swung his arms around dramatically. We then realised there were three of them, buzzing around the light above our heads. Dad began karate chopping the air as I flapped and swatted and all we could hear was the high-pitched whinny of laughter from my mother who was watching our antics from down the hall. Her laughter didn’t help matters because both her and I had chest infections, and as soon as we laughed, we then wheezed and then erupted into a coughing frenzy. So the sounds from the hallway were as follows:
‘Whah,’ as my father attempted to karate chop the fly.
‘Ughhhh,’ as another fly aimed for my face.
‘Ha ha, wheeze, cough, ha ha, wheeze cough,’ from my mother.
‘Darling!’ as my father reprimanded my mother for not really helping the situation by laughing.
‘Ha ha, wheeze, cough, wheeze,’ as I began laughing.
This continued for approximately 7 minutes and reached a crescendo when we had killed two of the flies and had only one remaining. My father and I leapt around the hall, smacking walls and hitting each others as we desperately tried to kill the pesky remainder. Then Dad hit the lampshade with such force, it flew up and hit the ceiling, causing a shower of ten year old dust to cascade down and cover both of us. Of course, this sent my mother off into more fits of giggles, and also endangered her with the prospect of pant wetting. She sped past us, wheezing and laughing, holding her bladder like a desperate toddler, and thrust a fly swat into my father’s hand as she passed. One quite graceful swoosh later and the last fly was dead. Hurrah.
So when my mother showed my father and I the horrors in the dining room the next morning, we realised this was a little more serious than a few sleepy insects. My mother immediately sprung into action and swatted at least two dozen with a few well-aimed slaps. This was followed by an entire can of fly spray aimed at the clusters, which seemed to dissolve them in front of our eyes. They dropped like flies (sorry) and although the amount of spray was enough to blind or suffocate several adult humans, my mother seemed unaffected and swooped on them like an excited predator… 97, 98, 99, she counted. She let out a whoop of joy as she picked up the lucky one hundredth, as I remained frozen in the doorway.
It was without doubt, one of the most terrifying things I have ever witnessed. My mother’s glee I mean, not the flies! I am going back to my parents again this weekend and I just hope to God that these little blighters have decided the Sellars residence is not a good resting place and have invaded some other poor household! I have a rolled up newspaper, cough medicine, an inhaler and a balaclava, just in case.