Copyright 2018 by David Njuguna
long been plagued by the mosquitoes that reside in my backyard, I
decided to write about the life of just a single one of them. I can’t
be completely sure her name was Maya, but for the sake of the story,
I assumed it was. Some bit and pieces might be a work of my
imagination (the meeting with her suitor for example).
gravel driveway is flanked on either side by a well manicured lawn.
Bright, colorful flowers grow in brown clay pots at the front of the
house, which in itself is a majestic structure of grey stone. The
yard is a picture of peace and serenity. Walking in, the visitor will
be awed by the towering trees that seem to stand guard over the house
and by the live hedge, green and well trimmed. Birds have made their
home in the trees, and their songs of joy are the only noise in this
the visitor might chance to visit the backyard, and witness a totally
different scene. It is a forgotten place, growing wild with neglect.
There are signs that it was once well taken care of, cracked pavement
now almost overgrown with weeds, stone carvings almost covered too.
They all suffer the same fate. The flowers here, having no one to
take care of them have grown wild, and now fight for space with the
intruders. There is a fountain standing in the middle of all this
chaos. It was the star attraction once, with clear water spouting
from the mouth of a leaping fish into a basin below. Now it fights a
losing battle with the wildness around it. The stone fish has broken
off, and lies crumbling at its base. The water in the basin is now
black and smelly with algae, but it makes the perfect home for
mosquitoes, with whom by now the visitor will have been acquainted.
bent forwards then threw herself backwards. The movement, though not
graceful, was strong and fluid. She pulsed through the water, heading
to the bottom. This was her world. And as she swam to the bottom to
wait out whatever it was this time, she could see her brothers and
sisters above her, caught
up in the crazy
dance, all trying to get to safety. She hoped they would make it. The
dark shadow cancelled all light and everything went dark. It hit the
water with such violence that the resulting vibrations felt like they
were splitting her into two. It lasted only for a moment, but when it
was gone so were many of her brothers and sisters. She had been
lucky, this time.
her sister Lou, Maya spent her time near the surface of the water.
The air was sweet and on good days, they could enjoy the sun. Here
they could look at the mothers come to lay eggs and silently wonder
when their turn would come. And as these adults lifted up into the
sky, their tiny hearts would almost be bursting with longing. They
wanted that freedom. They wanted to leave the water, go out there and
live that other life. One mother must have noticed their longing
looks, and she whispered to them “don’t rush to get
grown, your time will come” before she let a wind carry her
change came it caught her by surprise. Her skin changed four times in
the space of a week, every time replaced by a fresh coat. She was
growing bigger too, and watching Lou, it was easy to notice the
changes that came over them. She laughed as Lou’s head became
bigger, knowing the same was happening to her. They didn’t even
feel the need to eat these days, and they grew lighter and lighter.
They were still both good at diving to the bottom when the predators
struck only now they didn’t have to swim up, their light bodies
simply floated back to the top.
stood on the water. She was wet, shivering and cold but she was
standing on her own feet! And she had wings too! She moved them
about, excited. She couldn’t wait to get up into
the air. But now she waited, she had to get her strength first.
she finally lifted into the air, the feeling of the wind beneath her
almost drove her mad with ecstasy. This was what she and Lou had been
dreaming about all those days, and it hadn’t disappointed. She
let the wind lift her even higher, drunk on this feeling of freedom.
She floated along, the new colors and scents dazzling her senses. She
was in heaven.
large shadow rose suddenly on her right and instinctively, Maya dove
down to the left. The bird, quickly changed direction and followed.
Maya fell into the grasses below, hoping to lose her pursuer there.
The bird, seeing its dinner lost, pulled up from its dive and flew
back up. There’d be an easier meal. Maya was trembling,
breathed a sigh of relief. Yet again, she’d been lucky.
was more cautious as she flew now, as she went in search of food. She
had no clue of what to eat, and she didn’t feel like eating the
algae she had grown so used to at the fountain. The potted flowers,
still colorful and sweet smelling drew her in and putting her mouth
to one, she sucked.
nice, doesn’t it?” A voice spoke from somewhere close,
looked around nervously. She hadn’t spoken to anyone other than
Lou for a while now and she was embarrassed.
yes…it is nice.” she stuttered, hoping she didn’t
sound as nervous as she did in her mind.
walked into view and Maya was dumbstruck. Here was someone like her,
but not like her. He was big. Bigger than anyone she had ever seen at
the pond. And those long legs…she tried to hide her blushes.
saw you escape from that bird, you are good.”
giggle escaped Maya before she could stop herself. “Thank you”
Her eyes never once left the ground, only rising to glimpse at those
legs every once in a blush.
are very gifted, but maybe you shouldn’t fly into the wind. You
lose control in it and can’t fly as fast. The birds can catch
you then. If you stick close to the ground, you will be okay.”
once brave and outspoken, found she could only mumble her
appreciation. Where had her words gone? It didn’t matter
though; she found she could listen to him all day.
spent the day together exploring the compound, and when she flew off
at night to find more food, she carried some of him in her.
she was restless. She needed food but nothing tasted right. Even the
juice from the mangoes did nothing for her hunger. Something was
missing, and Maya didn’t know what it was. She flew about,
hoping to forget that she was hungry; maybe she might even get tired
and go to sleep. She flew right into it. The best smell she had ever
encountered. It crawled up inside her and wrapped itself around her.
It grabbed and dragged her, and she let it lead her, a willing slave
to this most glorious of scents.
dog was asleep and never felt a thing but for Maya it was the buffet
of her life. The warm blood flowing into her, Maya felt, was liquid
life flowing into her. She drank and drank until she couldn’t
take anymore. When she lifted heavily into the air and flew home to
the basin in the back, she promised herself she would be back for
at home, it was like she was young again. Nothing had changed. She
was even with Lou again, on the water rather than in it, talking and
catching up on everything that had happened to them on their
adventures; they even flew from the birds together. It sure felt good
to be home again.
on the surface of the water, Maya lay her clutch of eggs. Soon they
would make a new family of wrigglers. Below her, she watched as
another group of wrigglers nudged and whispered to each other, their
gaze on her. They had a longing look about them as the dark clutch
around her grew bigger and bigger. She had to smile, they reminded
her of and Lou and her all those ages ago. Maybe there was a Maya
and Lou somewhere in there too. Before she flew off into the night,
she smiled at them and whispered, ‘be patient, your time will
the deep hunger came to her again that night she was ready. She knew
where her next meal would be and she knew to go after it. In the dark
she was invisible. She would hide in the cloak of darkness and her
victim would never see her coming.
dog slept by the front door, oblivious to the hunter stalking in the
shadows. She took her time, settling on the wall to plan her attack.
Seeing that the dog slept on, she went in.
But as she got close though, the dog got up, shook itself and ran off
into the darkness. Maybe today wasn’t her day.
she turned to head back to her eggs, she drifted right into it. The
most mouthwatering aroma she’d ever encountered in her life.
All her senses seemed to buzz with life as she inhaled it in. The
aroma seemed to grab her and drag her toward the house and she
willingly let it. She had to have it. She craved for it.
lights in the house burned into her eyes and for the first time she
was afraid. She was too visible. Finding a darker corner on a wall,
she settled waiting for her chance. This was new territory, it would
be wise to scout it first.
wall gecko came at her, fast. She hadn’t even been aware of its
presence and had she not been as agile, she’d have been caught
up in those terrible jaws. She drifted up to the brightly lit ceiling
wondering if she shouldn’t go home. She’d made too many
mistakes today already and another could be costly. If she went home
now she could have fruit juice or nectar tomorrow and wait for the
dog. Maybe she would.
lights went out just as she prepared to head off and when the
familiar darkness enveloped her she couldn’t help but laugh at
her previous worries. She forgot her fears and greeted it like the
good friend it was. She went in for the kill.
the man cursed the power company for interrupting his football game,
he wondered if he shouldn’t light a candle. But there hadn’t
been a blackout in a long time, maybe the power might be back in
minutes. He went back to his mobile phone and he waited. He’d
follow the score from there.
the darkness came the mosquitoes and their incessant buzzing. He
hated them. Couldn’t they feed without all that noise? The
light of his mobile phone illuminated one right above his arm
hovering, definitely preparing to bite. He slowly put down his phone
on the table and opened his hands to swat the pest.
saw the dark shadows coming fast toward her. Instinctively she dove
to the right and hoped for the best.
Njuguna is not a writer, but likes the thought of being one. He is
Kenyan and does not get along with mosquitoes.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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