Home > Horror, web comic, Writing > The Boy Scout’s Motto

The Boy Scout’s Motto

I got sick this weekend and am feeling down as I write this. It would have been a real pain to try to write something new for this through the fog that fills my head right now.

Good thing the story was written last week.

One of my favorite web comics is Schlock Mercenary. The artist, Howard Taylor, has said on many occasions that part of what he considered to be a requirement for his being a professional web cartoonist was to have a comic that updated regularly and on schedule. To do this, he worked ahead and has a log of strips already drawn to publish. That way, if he gets sick, his publication schedule will not be affected.

This is the first time I have ever worked ahead on this blog. I like this. I am going to have to start doing it this way all the time.

On that note, I also want to warn any of you that follow this blog that I am going to change the update schedule a little. Starting next week, I will post new content at eleven A.M. EDT.  I have been posting at 7 in the morning for two years, but I want to see if my views go up by posting later in the day.  I am targeting people that read this on Facebook through my timeline. Nothing like experimentation.

Now, on to the fiction and sharing my hatred of biting, stinging, annoying as hell insects.

L. E. White

Storm Flies

As they pulled up to the gas station, Margret turned and gave Tom a half lidded look that told him she was not impressed.

“What did you expect? We are going camping in the mountains.”

“I hope you brought lube because that guy would be happy to make you squeal like a pig.”

Tom shook his head as he got out and started pumping gas. The man Margret had been talking about heaved himself out of a rocking chair that must have been made of titanium, considering the amount of weight it had been holding,  and made his way over to them.

“This here is a full service station,” the big guy said as Tom put the nozzle up.

“I was just trying to save you a trip out here.”

“You’re takin my job boy.”

Tom looked at the sweaty, red face of the guy who had walked out to the Jeep and decided that Margret might have been right with the deliverance joke. “Do I pay you and is there a cashier inside?”

The big man extended his hand and Tom gave him a couple of twenties. “You just wait here and I’ll get your change.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Tom said, “Consider it a tip. I need to hurry if I am going to get to our site before dark.”

The big guy squinted at Tom and while wiping sweat off his face with an old rag. “You going camping are ya?”

Tom cursed himself for saying something but nodded.

“Y’all be real careful tonight. There’s a storm on its way.”

“Thanks, all our gear is waterproof.” Tom stepped to his door but the man stepped forward and put a hand up to stop him.

“It ain’t the water you gotta worry bout, it’s the storm flies.”

“The what?”

“Storm Flies. They always come out just before a big one and they bite.”

Tom nodded and smiled in what he hoped was a polite way. “We’ll keep that in mind.”

The big guy frowned and shook his head as he stepped away. He kept doing that for as long as Tom could see him in the rearview mirror.

***

“Isn’t this beautiful?”

“Hmm.” Margret sat in the folding chair beside the tent. Tom was standing on top of a large rock on the other side of their camp site, facing the sunset.

“Oh come on honey.”

“I can’t get any reception out here. I wanted to tweet a pic of this.”

Tom turned to look at her and sighed. “Why don’t you put your phone away and come sit over here with me?”

Margret pulled her upper lip back in a snarl as she finally gave up on plugging into the rest of the world. She shoved her phone into her bag and then pulled out a hand held game that didn’t need a signal to play.

Tom sat down on his perch and pulled his knees up to his chest. “I wish you could enjoy this with me,” he whispered. Margret was a city girl that had fallen for what she called his, “backwoods charm.” The sex was great, but he didn’t know if this was going to last if she couldn’t just relax and see the world.

Large, dark clouds were building up on the horizon and moving towards them. Tom watched lightning play across the line of the storm front and smiled. “I guess that fat guy at the gas station was right.”

“Oh god, do you mean we are going to get wet?”

“No, the tent is waterproof. We’ll be fine. Come here.”

Margret huffed as she got up and walked to the rock beside him. She brought her game with her and leaned against the stone just to the right of where he was sitting. Tom reached over and plucked the device out of her hands.

“Hey.”

“I brought you out here to see how beautiful it is, now stopping playing games and look.”

Margret crossed her arms and turned to stare at the horizon. Tom watched her, watched her face soften and the tension in her shoulders fade. “Oh wow,” she said when a bolt forked and danced across the whole of the southern horizon.

“Yeah, that is what I wanted you to see.”

She looked at him out of the corner of her bright green eye and pursed her lip, but didn’t say anything.

They stood together, watching the clouds as they came closer. Margret leaned over, resting her shoulder against Tom’s legs and he reached over to stroke her hair once before he started scratching her scalp with his fingertips.

“That feels good,” she said.

“That’s the idea.”

After a few minutes, Margret moved around in front of Tom and slipped her arms around his legs. She hugged him to her with her chin resting on his knees and a mischievous look in her eyes.

Tom had seen that look before, he knew what she was thinking and despite his desire to share the beauty of the approaching storm with her, he wasn’t going to stop her.

Margret pulled his legs apart and began to undo Tom’s shorts. She pulled them down enough that she could trace her nails along the waist band of his underwear.

Margret slipped her fingers between the elastic and his skin, grinning up at him as she tugged the material down, when Tom jumped and cried out.

“I’m sorry, did I pinch you?”

“It wasn’t you,” Tom said as he shifted and turned so that they could see the back of his leg. A red spot the size of a nickel was on his calf, leaking blood down his leg. “Something freaking bit me.”

Margret scrunched up her eyebrows as she leaned forward to look at Tom’s leg. “There is a chunk mis…OWW!” She jerked away, brushing her hand down her shoulder, and when she pulled her hand away, it was covered in blood.

“What the hell,” Tom asked as he jumped off the rock and fastened his pants before looking at Margret’s shoulder. As he watched, a large, dark grey fly buzzed up and landed beside the bite on her shoulder. It touched down, she screamed and it darted away before Tom could try to smack it. Where the fly had landed, another bloody chunk was gone. “It is some kind of bug. It flew up, bit you and was gone so fast I didn’t know what it was doing.”

Margret was crying and rubbing her shoulder when she flipped her hand out and slapped Tom on the shoulder. He felt the buzz of the wings for a split second before there was a clap of thunder and flash beside his head. He felt the sudden jolt of a shock, followed by a burning sensation.

Margret screamed again, this time, cradling her hand to her chest. Tom saw her stepping away as he looked at the bright red of her skin. He looked at this shoulder, seeing the large red whelp where she had smacked the insect.

He heard more buzzing and spun around, swinging his arms. Somehow, Tom managed to smack another of the bugs. There was another flash and he felt his hair rise from the shock of electricity that made its way through his body.

The words of the fat gas station attendant echoed in Tom’s mind. “Storm Flies.” He repeated.

Margret screamed again as she spun in a circle. Tom saw the darting forms as more storm flies began circling around her. He stepped forward, intending to carry her to the Jeep, when two more bites on the back of his leg dropped him to his knees. He saw one land on his thigh and smacked at it. The jolt of the electrical discharge left his arm twitching and numb. Three more flies landed on that arm before he looked up and saw Margret fall to the ground, her arms and legs stripped with tiny rivers of blood.

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Categories: Horror, web comic, Writing
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