Butterfly Apocalypse

26 March 2013 in 20 Minute Stories

* Note – This was an idea I’ve had for a while since taking a walk through the park and seeing hundreds of black and red caterpillars crawling all over the place.  I wrote a paragraph, sat on it for ages without doing anything, then scrapped and rewrote it in the last fifteen minutes of the workday.  It’s not so much a story as an idea for a larger story.  Enjoy!

“They’re so beautiful!  I’ve never seen this many in one place before!  It’s absolutely stunning!”

“This is the exact reason why I try to skip work once a year in the spring time.  I always hope to catch a glimpse of spring time magic,” Jason replied to his wife.  His long-shot guess is that there were in the area of several million butterflies in the park surrounding them.

Under normal circumstances the walk along the Credit River was beautiful, especially in the spring.  The grass was always vibrantly green, nourished by recent rainfalls and high water levels in the river.  The trees were always green and lively.  The wildflowers would peek up through the other plant life.  Squirrels, snakes, toads, chipmunks, deer all typically took advantage of the lush nature of spring time around the river.

This year’s springtime elegance was completely different.  The usual lush vegetation was there, but the chirping birds and chattering rodents seemed to be missing, and in its place a literal blanket of butterflies that seemed to coat every available square inch of every surrounding tree.  Even the grass was coated by the patchwork quilt of butterfly wings.  It almost looked as though small animals could be running under the blanket when they flicked their wings open and shut.  Everything was covered except for the path they were walking on.  Jason had never seen a butterfly congregation in this magnitude, but he played it off as if it were a common occurrence in the hopes to impress his wife Wendy.

It was almost an eerie silence, but still quite peaceful.  “They come here to lay their eggs in peace, since there are no birds around.  They’ll lay their eggs and in a couple of days, they’ll all be gone.  Before you know it, the eggs will all hatch and there will be thousands of caterpillars making their way out of the forest and on to the rest of their lives.”  He was making it all up now, but it sounded logical to him and his wife seemed impressed.

Wendy walked closer to one of the trees and slowly reached her hand out.  Jason smiled as a dozen butterflies leapt off the tree and slowly descended onto her arms and head.  One slowly fluttered down onto the tip of her nose.  Jason could almost see the reflection of its delicate red and black wings in his wife’s eyes.  And then she started screaming and swatting.

“Get this damn thing off of me!!”

Blood started pouring down her face as hundreds more butterflies began their descent from the trees onto her flailing body.  Jason rushed over and started swatting and stomping on them as his wife started lay twitching and bleeding on the ground.  Her eyes started to roll back into her head and nothing but a low rumble made its way from her now.  Still swatting and stomping, Jason could see that thousands more of them fluttered out of the trees, darkening the sky above him.

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26 March 2013 20 Minute Stories