Ray Owen, Writers Bloc

It was midday, early in June. One of those blue sky, white cloud, everything as green as its going to get, days. There was just enough heat and breeze to make the air feel alive. I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. The swallows were up and down in the sky doing their squadron dive bombing act. The squirrels’ tails were doing the wave as they scat from tree to tree. It made my menial job of slicing up wood on the table saw almost enjoyable. Any sort of trouble or unpleasantness was miles away.
I flipped the red switch on the saw. The blade started whirring until it reached a constant whining sound. This whine was interrupted by a groan when the saw was burdened by the blocks of wood I was pushing into it. The rhythm created by this whining, pushing and groaning almost sounded like a cadence.
Then it happened. From behind, something screeched past my ear. Screeching sounds too nice. It was somewhere between a screeching, a clicking and a buzzing sound. Never the less, it was unnatural and unnerving.
I only had sight of it for a blurred split second. It flew straight to, and around the saw blade as if to prove its fearlessness of me, and my power tools. Then it was gone. Soon the muscles in the back of my neck and shoulders relaxed. The wood cutting rhythm returned to the air.
If I had encountered anything like this before I sure didn’t remember it. But, it was gone, and that is all that mattered. The pile of lumber to be cut was almost finished and the feeling of accomplishment was easing my mind.
Then it returned. The blur was headed straight to my face. It was the same hideous, unnatural sound. This time it was accompanied by a blood curdling scream. I dodged from it by instant reflex. I was shocked that the creature was so bold, but even more shocked that the piercing scream was coming from the back of MY throat.
It missed me but, where did it go? This is when I did the dance. I call it the “Oh God, get it off of me dance.” I am sure at one time this was a tribal rainforest dance. My version starts with pulling the ball cap off of my head and using it to frantically slap every part of my body that is not easily self-inspected. The back of my neck and the middle of my back were areas of concern. The ball cap is not necessary, although it is so much more effective since you get more square inch coverage per slap. This part of the dance most distinguishes it from any other. The simultaneous second part of the dance is more traditional but not to be taken lightly in level of difficulty. It consists of mid-air twirls that are performed sequentially in a three foot perimeter. If one were to record this dance and play it back in one twentieth the speed, it might put one to mind of “The Nutcracker” (minus the music). The dance ends when I am convinced there is no possible way another creature could be attached to my body.
With heart racing, I stop. Instinctively I check for two things: dry pants and witnesses. An okay to both enabled me to muster up a bit of dignity, then courage, then determination. Oh yeah, something had to die.
I picked up one of the boards I was sawing and set out to find the creature. The search was short. A fluorescent color on the side of a tree caught my eye. I crept up and found what I was looking for. It was hideous. It looked like something bought for Halloween. The only place it would look natural was on a black light poster. Its body was pitch black. Its legs were skinny little black twigs with, what looked like, orange leggings on them. It had oversized fluorescent orange wings, mostly transparent with the exception of dark veins running throughout. But nothing revealed pure evil as its eyes. They were bright red, like drops of blood. They were looking straight at me as I struck the fatal blow.
I have seen the carcass shells of these little demons. They are like little colorless ghosts hanging all over the trees. Yes, this is the year of the Cicada.

Ray Owen June 2008


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