A Holiday Romance

An alluring insect seduces an unhappily married man on a second honeymoon with his equally unhappy wife.

I’ve had similar experiences—when someone has made me all warm and fuzzy inside. Only it’s more than that this time. I feel lightheaded and disoriented, perhaps intoxicated would not be too strong a word. I can’t explain it very well. All I know is that I am in love. A holiday romance if you like.

Late evening summer light trickles through the large hotel window, making the wings glisten a beautiful emerald green as the insect navigates the arm of the chair. I have never seen anything like it. It’s beautiful. The elongated body flows like an elegant summer gown, shiny as metal but softened by its lilac color.

From its lower abdomen emerges a small purple gas cloud that momentarily hangs in the air before dissipating into the remaining sunlight. The scent is heavenly, the sweetest of perfumes that makes me ache for more.

Yes, it’s safe to say I’m smitten.

The covers pull away as Stacey reaches down for her skirt. “Bloody insects! They need one of those zappers in here,” she complains, pulling her arm back, ready to launch the clothing towards the chair. I quickly grab hold of the hem. “It’s just a fly. It won’t kill you.” But she quickly shakes me off before throwing the skirt with vigor. It falls well short of the target, landing in a heap near the chair leg.

With majestic grace and speed, the insect is already touring the other side of the room. Stacey didn’t stand a chance. The melodic hum of its wings is perfection to me, a gentle flutter epitomizing the essence of summer. And that scent!

Is it a she? Why do I assume that?

“Fucking thing!” Stacey screams, dampening the moment. She gets out of bed, completely naked, and inelegantly stomps across to where the skirt lays on the floor. Bending over and giving me an eyeful, she snaps at the skirt before twitching her head in line with the movement of the insect. Finally, it comes to rest on the wall, only a few inches from my head. Even without the touch of light, it looks so beautiful. Jewel-like. Something you might see at the center of an expensive collection.

Stacey looks at me and smiles with an I’ve got this look. I have seen it in her eyes before; she won’t rest until its body is just a smear. She whips the skirt against the wall, but her excited look quickly turns to disappointment, the white paint remaining blemish-free.

Nerve endings sing in my wrist, and I look down to find her there. I note the eyes for the first time, ruby red and as perfect as the rest of her. My skin tickles as she makes her way up my arm, not unpleasantly.

Coming to rest on my upper bicep, staring straight up towards me, she fires another spray of that alluring purple haze, and the enigmatically intoxicating scent begins to fill my nostrils. Increasing in size, the cloud gradually begins to morph into a different shape—a heart.

I’m going to call her Jade.

“How can you bear that, Tom? Filthy fucking insect!”

I study Stacey’s naked form as she stands in front of me, cursing and holding the fabric weapon in her right hand. She could never be as elegant, the way Jade maneuvers gracefully in the air, her gentle stride across my skin, and the hypnotic shimmer and beautiful music she makes when in flight.

“She’s just a fly,” I repeat.


Without warning, Stacey swings her arm back and brings it violently down towards me.

“Hey!” I scream as the zip whips my skin.

She lifts the skirt away. “Did I get it?”

Frantically, I search in the creases of the duvet to make sure Jade didn’t take a hit. I hear her again—the volume of her flight fading in and out as she circles above our heads. Thank goodness!

“Damn it!” Stacey spits as she aimlessly flicks the skirt in the air.

The buzz ceases.

A strange and garbled noise leaves Stacey’s lips as she urgently begins pointing at her throat. Her eyes look as though they are trying to force their way from her head. She begins to rasp and spit at the floor—hacking persistently until red in the face. Now her fingers are exploring her mouth as she lets out a series of horrific gags, strings of saliva extending towards the carpet. Finally, she stops and turns to me with streaming eyes.

“I swallowed it,” she croaks. “I swallowed the fucking thing!”

I’m filled with inexplicable sadness. “It’s just a fly.”

She gives me that look again before disappearing to the bathroom. I can hear her aggressively brushing her teeth between the fits of violent retching. Now the seemingly endless gargling of mouthwash.

I can’t stop thinking about Jade; I should have protected her. Now she’s dead. She came to me—stared into my eyes as she rested on my skin. She was trying to tell me something. And I did nothing, just passively observed as Stacey attempted to make a paste out of her. She was so beautiful. The sound of her wings in flight sent tingles down my spine, and the colors, so seductive. The feel of her dancing across my skin made me inexplicably horny. I don’t understand it, but she made me feel alive.

“So, seeing me butt naked, galloping around the room does it for you, huh?” Stacey says, poking her head around the door frame.


She points towards the bed and the impressive duvet tent. “I’m flattered,” she says.

As she passes the window, her skin momentarily appears to take on a green tinge, but I put that down to the dwindling light continuing to fight its way through. She shuffles into bed and wraps her hand around my length. “Are you still game, or did the insect put you off?”

“Still game,” I reply. Jade’s scent still hangs in the air.

We begin to kiss. I think about Jade being inside her. I get harder. As our bodies come together, I reminisce about the elongated body and the touch of her legs on my skin.

I’m in Stacey now, on top of her. Her skin is undoubtedly shimmering, even in the dullness of the night—a changing palette of green and purple.

Or is this all just in my head?

It’s been weeks since we last made love. That’s why we booked this place—a week in the sun without distractions. And here we are, wrapped around each other. Sweaty. Passionate. Yet, all I can think about is Jade.

“Yes, Tom!” she moans.

Damn, why did she have to speak? “Shh!” I put my finger to her lips.

In front of my very eyes, her body seems to be getting longer—like Jade’s—stretching and shimmering. I know it must be my imagination, but it’s turning me on so much. I’m back in the moment. If she doesn’t talk, I’ll be okay. I thrust myself into her. She’s already so wet.

Her eyelashes begin to flutter, gently at first but with ever-growing intensity. Now they’re mimicking the hypnotic sound of my lost love’s wings.

I’m going to come. No, not now. Not yet!


“Really, Tom?,” she says with transparent disappointment. She’s just Stacey again. No elongated body, no gleam, no grace. No Jade.

We lay there for a while, as far away from each other as the bed will allow, until she finally falls asleep and begins to snore. Now and again, I think I hear the flutter of wings, and I look for her, but I know she’s gone.

The snoring stops.

Still sleeping and seemingly unaware of her movements, Stacey performs a series of spasms under the covers. I turn towards her. The skin on her back is changing, too; it’s taking on that shimmer again. Dark green veins begin to work their way across her back like a road atlas. My skin prickles. I’m not sure if it’s anxiety or excitement as I observe the now frequent and violent jolting of her body from side to side and up and down. Something is happening with her shoulder blades. The skin is breaking. I can see bone. But bone is being replaced with something else, and I know immediately it’s the spine of the wings. Her upper back is turning a shade of purple, spreading quickly down the rest of her skin. I lift the covers to follow its path and see her body begin to taper off, legs melding into a single lower abdomen. No feet.

Christ, this is amazing.

The wings break through, impossibly beautiful folds of emerald running the full length of her back. Finally, the twitching subsides, and she turns her head, her eyeballs now a collection of ruby red cells extending beyond the edge of her face.

“Stacey?” I mutter. “Jade?”

As the wings begin to slowly and awkwardly open and close, she lets out a muted scream that is far from human. It chills me to the bone but intrigues me at the same time. She raises her arm, still human-like but covered in tiny dark hairs, and with the back of her hand, she strokes my right cheek. I think she’s…dying.

More inhuman screams escape from her now purple lips. A tongue—not human—long, green, and curling into itself comes to rest on the pillow beside me and—

“Oh, Christ, no.” Frantically, I feel for a pulse but get nothing. She’s gone. Lifeless.

The fog is beginning to lift. It’s too much to take in. No scent. No humming of wings. Head pounding, I observe my dead wife lying next to me—the wings, the tongue, the lilac skin—and I begin to doub my sanity.

“Stacey,” I mutter.

What’s wrong with me? It was a fucking insect!

“Come back, Stace!”

I hate insects. Always have.

Something’s on my leg, cold and wet. Slowly, I lift the covers again, only this time to find a patch of maggots writhing on my thigh about three inches in diameter. Swiping at them urgently, I scramble out of the bed and stagger to the opposite side of the room. A wave of nausea washes over me as I reach out for the wall, still frantically brushing myself down.

There must be thousands on the bottom sheet, writhing, squirming, and I watch in horror as they leak from her new lower abdomen. It’s an impossible and sickening sight as they endlessly continue their exit, the linen becoming saturated with them. Suddenly and in unison, they stop their wriggling and begin to harden in front of my eyes, each of them now boasting a shiny emerald green shell.

Part of me wants to run, but where? My wife is dead, and I am the only witness. Something is happening—the cocoons—giving way to fully formed insects. Impossible. Yet, in unison, they take flight.

What the hell? Through the window, I see a man stepping out onto a balcony. He’s waving his arms frantically; his body covered almost head to toe with these insects. A cloud of green and purple hovers above his head, a tornado of them circulating his body in an almost predatory formation. A muffled scream quickly fades as he throws himself over the railing, and I watch in disbelief as he plummets out of sight.

They begin to land on my face, buzzing all around in a cacophony of filth. Frenziedly, I manage to swat some of the insects away, but relentlessly they swarm. I can hardly see. Shit! They’re biting. Or something. Fuck! I can feel them all over me, a moving blanket of legs and wings that shrouds me.

I reach out for the window, but they’re on me straight away, a series of unbearably painful stings running up my arm. More random patches of pain strike across my body as I desperately fumble at the lock. Some of them are in my ears. The incessant and voluminous fluttering no longer seems harmonious, but rambunctiously cruel.

And my eyes. Jesus, my eyes! Desperately I swipe as many of them away as I can.

Something feels wrong, though.

I know I hit some but still can’t see anything—just blackness. More flashes of pain run up both my arms, and I can feel sticky indentations in my skin. And I realize they’re are not stinging me; they’re fucking eating me! I try and feel my way to the door, but they start to flutter more urgently around me as if pre-empting my plan. The noise increases, as does the frequency of pain. I go to rub my eyes, but I’m greeted by a runny substance that squelches on contact.

They’re all over me now, tearing at me.

As I try to scream, some of them enter my mouth and work their way down my throat. I can’t breathe. I cough and retch until I finally manage a morsel of air, a handful of insects emerging from my mouth to re-join the group. As my right arm connects with the door frame, I yank myself through, but I’m losing feeling in my limbs. Poison? With leaden arms and legs, I begin to crawl down the hallway carpet, but their attack is relentless.

I can feel them in the sockets of my eyes, working their way inwards. I know it’s only a matter of time. Soon they will start to digest my brain. I can hear some of them already beginning to flutter away, no doubt on their way to find more victims they can seduce.

Where did they come from? What are they doing here?

Over the frantic fluttering in my ears, I hear screams coming from the other rooms.

It’s just a fly, I tell myself.

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Issue 1.4 Paperback

These 23 works of dark speculative fiction demand readers consider the following:

Who do we become when we only have ourselves for company? What remains when we've sacrificed too much? Where do the babies really come from?


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Issue 1.4 Paperback

Read a story out loud, upgrade your legs, and glow. Break quarantine for a quick smoke with your friends, learn where the babies come from, start a gratitude journal during an apocalypse, and obtain more followers, no matter the cost.

Meet Mona Luna, rob a bank, get the best spot on the ledge, sew a suit fit for a king, laugh until you choke, and scream until your throat bleeds.

Whatever you do, don’t look back, and never tell the beautiful bartender to smile.

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A Holiday Romance

An alluring insect seduces an unhappily married man on a second honeymoon with his equally unhappy wife.

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