stay tuned for a temporary flash preview
of my latest foray beyond flash fiction '33 1/3rd rpm'
(2,467 words)
© 2017
by Shaun Lawton

The Hidden Visitor

Once while I was hiking deep in the Ozark mountains near Eden Falls cave, I spotted an insect that has yet to be classified by entomologists.

The reason for that, is because unlike a dragonfly, this black beauty doesn't have wings affixed to its thorax. The body itself is connected by a hinge which effectively renders it invisible to the naked eye, upon taking flight. It doesn't have a pair of wings; it is a pair of wings. It's about two inches long and deadly as a diamond.

I spotted it lazing upon a fallen log amid a small grove of birch trees alongside the footpath I was following. As I approached nearer, I noticed the weird insect, which resembled a black walking stick at first. I thought it was odd that the grove was completely silent. Suddenly it opened a cobalt blue membrane underneath it just a fraction of a centimeter. I immediately recognized that as a natural warning.

I halted in my tracks and held my breath, so as not to disturb even the air with my intruding presence. I examined the insect's poise and marveled over the deep luminescent aquamarine color which blazed at me from the narrowest slit. I interpreted the message as stating "You may pass through my woodlot, but be warned. This is my domain, and I may exact retribution if you fail to respect it."

I carefully exhaled my pent up breath, bowed my head, then took extreme care to step silently and quickly through the birch trees, ducking so as not to brush against any branches or leaves, as quietly as possible without disturbing a thing.

This miniature hymenoptera had folded it's cobalt membrane shut and allowed me to pass on further up the trail. Half an hour later, when my friend dared to approach the very same grove, he did not fare with half such luck. I sprinted back down the trail in order to warn him to proceed as carefully as I had, to no avail.

I watched as the air before his face crackled with static energy just seconds before he was struck from out of the blue and stung beside his left eye. Immediately afterward the predatory insect vanished as quickly as it had attacked. By the next morning my friend's eyelid had sealed shut and swollen up to the size of an orange.

Later that night, while we camped out among the sprawling constellations of our galaxy, I noticed a strange sight high above the rising sparks of our campfire. All the stars were shimmering with different colors, and right there in one small cluster, I recognized that exact same shade of ultramarine cobalt blue, flickering and twinkling in the deep night sky.

I thought about my small dragon insect friend. I knew then that no entomologist could ever classify such a creature without its permission. Today, I don't wonder where it came from so much as I consider how it was capable of surviving the cold vacuum of space during its migration here.

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