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Pest Control

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Pest Control | story.one

Maybe they arrived on the wave. Not the one that swept me away but the one that carried you out. Crashing and breaking furniture, you left me in a sea of tears.

After the storm, the calm. I took to my bed until the sheets turned foul. Festered in what was left. Shut out the light until my tears had run dry, salt crystallising everything wrong: I thought you my rock but now you’d gone.

I unearthed the surprise when searching for signs of what had started the rot. It was spelt out, chomped into the love letters by an infestation – secret feasters hungry for truth. Thousands of jaws, exposing the holes. But reading between the lines now, the gaps were apparent too. Had love ever lived in this haughty prose, these sentences all about you?

After the letters they’d turned on the books, chomped through the glue that held them together. You’d hidden my page turners under your classics, insisted we give the right impression. Now impressions of hunger punctured the pages, chapters devoured layer by layer. Bite by bite, ground to the climax. Maybe they’d always predicted our ending?

When the oats had gone, I called for help. She arrived, equipped, in a jingle-jangle: a toolbelt full of surprises, implements for every occasion. She diagnosed an invasion of silverfish. Drawn to places moist and dark - the bathroom a perfect breeding ground. She wanted to explore other habitats, I could only report you’d bred contempt.

A buzz on the intercom - you’d crawled back, let yourself in. Demanding to know where your belongings have gone – and why the bookcase is rainbowed with novels.

‘A shoal of silverfish,’ I explain. ‘I thought they had destroyed everything, but I found it was rotten anyway.’

‘They’re not fish, they’re insects.’ you condescend, stopped in your tracks by a jingle- jangle. My rescue-mermaid, wearing one of your T-shirts.

‘Entomology, ichthyology? No need to mansplain here,’ she says. ‘The secret to pest control is always be firm. Keep everything shut, entry points blocked. Be consistent. Don’t let them in.’

I take her advice, push you outside. Leave you gaping as I lock the door.

© KJ Simblet 2021-08-22

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