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literature

Bite me

Daily Deviation
queenofeagles's avatar
By queenofeagles   |   
77 59 1K (1 Today)
Published:

     “Bite me,” his sister whispered. “Come here and bite me…”

    The boy put his finger to his lips. “Hush! You’ll scare it off! Besides, it’s my turn to get bitten.”

    We’ll see about that, the glimmer in her eyes said. His mouth curled into a smile: challenge accepted.

    The two children crept forward. Their suntanned arms were stretched out to a tiny dot on the wall, like compass needles pointing north. Their ‘north pole’ however had legs and wings, so flimsy they almost disappeared against the backdrop of flowery, yellowed wallpaper. It was a miracle he had spotted the creature. He didn’t dare to look away, afraid he wouldn’t find it again. He didn’t even blink.

    Sunlight beamed through the walls as if they weren’t there, turning the room into an oven. Sweat beaded on his skin. Maybe it would help him: didn’t mosquitoes like the smell of it?

    Suddenly, as if it had read his thoughts, the insect flew up. The boy couldn’t follow the mosquito’s movements - it flew so fast! - but he heard it buzz around his head. The volume changed with every turn the creature made. He was tied to that sound; when the buzzing became louder, the beating of his heart grew stronger.

    Then it was quiet.

    The boy held his breath. The mosquito had landed on his sister’s wrist. Her eyes widened, showing every shade of green her irises contained. Gods, she looked so much like mum when she did that.

    The mosquito pierced her skin and drank her blood. The boy knew the creature gave something back too, something invisible, but strong. He had felt its power before…

    “This one is good! It has so much Essence!” his sister cried out. She jumped with joy, but the insect didn’t seem to appreciate her enthusiasm. It pulled its needle out of her skin much sooner than it should and flew away.

    The boy gasped. “Don’t let it escape!”

    Too late. The mosquito’s buzzing went towards the broken windows and disappeared. His sister ran after it, leaned out of the window and looked around. The boy didn’t follow her example; he knew what he would find there. Empty streets, deserted houses: a city too hot for the small group of people that tried to survive here. Too hot for that mosquito. Too hot to live…

    The girl sighed and lowered her shoulders. “I’m sorry.”

    He shrugged. “We have what we wanted: you got bitten - again.”

    She chuckled. “Because my blood is much sweeter than yours. You should eat more candy, then you’ll get sweet too!”

    “It doesn’t work like that.”

    “Hah! You’re just jealous I can do this!” The girl flashed him a teasing smile and ran towards the cupboard.

    The boy followed her, staring at the piece of furniture with a frown. Plants used to stand on it, holding so many flowers they had turned the cupboard into a cascading rainbow of petals. Now the glass vases lay on the floor, broken: memories of an old life. He had to be careful; he might step on them and hurt himself.

    His sister took a dried plant with one hand and rubbed the mosquito bite with the other. The hairs on the boy’s arms stood straight up, despite the room being too warm for such a reaction. Electric sparks prickled his skin as if thunder was about to strike.

    The stem in the girl’s hands turned vivid green. The wrinkled leaves unfolded themselves, and a small bud sprouted from one end.

    The boy smacked the flower out of her hands, snapping the stem in two. “Stop it! Don’t waste Essence on a plant we can’t eat!”

    Her eyes became watery. “But mum will like it…” she whimpered. “And we used to do this all the time.”

    “Not anymore. Mosquitoes have become too rare.”

    “What happened to them?”

    “They went away. The world has turned hot and dry, and mosquitoes don’t like that. They have moved to colder places.”

    Or withered, he thought, like everything else…

    The girl nodded, then picked up the newly sprouted bud. “I want to go to her.”

    “Why? We can’t bring her back yet.”

    She looked up to him. Her eyes, so much like their mother’s used to be, were begging. “Just to visit…” she said.

    He bit his lip. He had promised mum to look after what was left of their family, and going to her now wouldn’t do them any good. But when his sister looked at him like that, he could only yield.

    They went to the highest floor of the house, where the temperature was almost unbearable. Funny, how the arid heat had killed their mother, but also prevented her body from further decay. More intact tissue meant less Essence needed to resurrect her. ‘Less’ still was a lot, though. How long would it take until they had gathered enough to get her heart pumping again, fix her organs, and restore her memories? Years? Decades? The boy couldn’t say.

    He unlocked the door of the sleeping chamber and opened it. Their mother lay in her bed under a window, bathing in light. The sun-faded blanket that covered her created a miniature landscape, where hills marked the contours of her body.

    He swallowed, something he always did when he came here. Mum was so thin…

    His sister’s reaction couldn’t be more different: she pulled back the blanket with a smile. Why was she happy? Mum was nothing but shrivelled flesh and leathery skin, stretched over her bones. The eyes didn’t resemble her daughter’s anymore; they were gaping holes, filled with shadows so dark even this sunlight couldn’t chase them away.

    The girl laid the flower on the pillow and gave the corpse a kiss. “We’ll get you back, mum,” she whispered. “Wait and see.”

© 2017 - 2020 queenofeagles
This is the story I wrote for the fantastic story competition, hosted by the Dutch Comic Con. It ended up on the shortlist and got third place, I'm so happy with that. Thank you, dear people who voted for the story! You are great!

It probably doesn't surprise you much that inspiration for this came from mosquito bites. I get bitten by the bastards often (except when my mother is around, she attracts them even more), but my boyfriend never gets a bite. So unfair. So I start wondering if a mosquito bite couldn't be a positive thing and boom! Inspiration! The idea for the insects to move north thanks to global warming came not much later, but the whole dead mother thing popped up pretty much during writing. The main characters needed a goal, and at some point, I began to wonder where their mother was. Then their mother became their goal.

I don't really do short stories. This thing had a 1000 word limit, it was a pain to stick to that... I prefer the +200k monster I'm working on ;)

EDIT: oh my goodness, a DD! Thank you so much, I didn't expect that at all!
 
Comments59
anonymous's avatar
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Bahogar's avatar
How could I miss this piece?
I always love well-rounded stories, when all the needed information is introduced and every lose ends dealt with in a short timeframe. Yours just does that.
There is also this short, concise style. You manage to conjure a scene with just the right strokes. Keep that up, I love it :D
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
I'm so sorry for the late reply, things got a little hectic ^^; I still want to thank you for you lovely comment, though! I'm so glad you liked it, I will certainly make more of these - when life is a little less hectic, obviously... 
JessaMar's avatar
JessaMarHobbyist Writer
Congratulations from CRLiterature on your Daily Deviation!  We are holding a chat event in CRLiterature on Saturday, July 7 from 11am-1pm Pacific Time to discuss June's batch of Literature DDs and we hope you will join us.  Please let me know whether you will be able to attend so that we can plan accordingly; because there is not time to discuss all of the month's Literature DDs, we prioritize those whose authors are able to be present for the discussion.  We encourage you to help spread the word among your watchers as well!
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
thank you so much! And that sounds awesome, I can join the chat. 
Lily-Lucid's avatar
Lily-LucidHobbyist Writer
Really cute story! Congrats on the DD! Don't you love when plot ideas just unravel themselves to you like that?
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
thanks! And yep! I kind of rely on those moments, because I'm not good at figuring out the end beforehand. The plot needs to figure itself out as I write along...
Lily-Lucid's avatar
Lily-LucidHobbyist Writer
Yeeeaaaah~
JessaMar's avatar
JessaMarHobbyist Writer
This has an ethereal feel to it, very engaging.  Oddly, my mind has a harder time adjusting to actually wanting to be bit by a mosquito than it does to the whole Essence/resurrection thing.
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
thanks! and same here. Even wanting to be in the same room with a mosquito is a step too far...
Lady-Pilot's avatar
Greatly done story!
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
thanks!
Tarquinius-Superbus's avatar
Lol as a kid I sometimes let a mosquito bite me because I wanted to see how they lay their eggs. I didn't know they don't lay them right away. Anyway, amazing short story!
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
Really? the mosquitoes must have been quite happy with you then. I just killed them... Sorry, mosquitoes.
Thank you so much!
Tarquinius-Superbus's avatar
I killed them too, but a few times I let one of them bite me and watched how their body filled with my blood xD And then held them towards a puddle hoping they would lay eggs. Because I was just interested in animals
Harkale-Linai's avatar
Harkale-LinaiProfessional Digital Artist
Ooooh, congratulations on the DD! 3 Daily Deviations in 3 completely unrelated categories so far... you should aim at having a DD in any single category of DeviantArt!
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
Thanks! Haha, that would be quite an achievement! Challenge accepted :) 
Pastel-Balloons's avatar
Pastel-BalloonsStudent Digital Artist
Wow, this a fantastic and super interesting story, I really dig it dude!
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
I'm glad you think so, thanks! :hug:
LindArtz's avatar
LindArtzHobbyist Digital Artist
Well that was most intriguing; unexpected in every way. :)!  Bravo, nice work!!

Congratulations on your much deserved DD!  :)
Congrats on DD By Marphilhearts by LindArtz
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much!
alapip's avatar
alapipHobbyist Writer
The title, "Bite me" - a real attention getter -
for a unique tale. DD worthy? You betcha! :) pip
queenofeagles's avatar
queenofeaglesHobbyist General Artist
Thank you! Credits for the title go to MS Word ;) I had no idea what to call this, so I just went with the title Word comes up with: the first couple of words of the document.
alapip's avatar
alapipHobbyist Writer
:)
anonymous's avatar
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