Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Shard Beetles
By Alex Wamba

The caves are full of shard beetles. Imalia says, but I never believed her. I never believed her stories of hard-shelled insects crawling along the walls, waiting in darkness to drop upon the unwary traveler and burrow into unprotected skin. I never believed her stories about the way they grind into the flesh like shards of glass, eager for blood, eager to disappear into the body of their chosen host until the time comes to lay their eggs, to deposit their young in the softest tissues the chest has to offer. I never believed her stories of the bloody births of Shard Beetle young, the way they chew their way out through the throat, explode from the chest like bullets. I never believed any of it.

But as the first beetle disappears into my skin, grinds along bone toward my chest as if it knows the way,


I do.

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