I’m a killer. That is, I have killed. I’ve lost count of how many, never bothered to keep track. Why would I? They were the ones who decided to come, to invade. What else was I to do? What else would any of us do under such circumstances?
I thought they were gone, that they’d died off on their own. A year went since I last saw one venture into the open. I shied from speaking aloud to their absence thinking I’d curse it and bring them back. But they came anyway. Some snuck through the back hoping to go unseen. I don’t know how much time they spent skulking around but they did not last long after I discovered them. Maybe they were overconfident, thinking I would be off my guard. These were simply scouts sent to find what was worth finding. They never made it out to report back.
Other small forays followed in the days to come. Were they more sorties or were they searching for their comrades who never returned? I couldn’t be sure but it was clear they were back and I needed to prepare daily for what was hidden out there. I held out hope their previous incursions were only stragglers, small contingents of survivors from whatever had befallen their main group but I knew that was not the case. I could not be so lucky. I knew beneath my irrational hope they were there standing vigilant, waiting for me to leave one thing unchecked, for me to forget just once and they would swarm en mass driven by the stench of my failure.
I’ve killed so many and those who remained, tucked into the safety of their dark holds were infinitely patient awaiting their opportunity to act, to do what their fallen could not. The survival of their group depended on the mistake I will make. It always came down to that mistake, that failing. Diligence has its limits and eventually I will founder. And when I do, the dance begins again, another cycle of attacks and retreats, of defense repair and the inevitable mistake bringing the assault once more.
I don’t know precisely when they launched the offensive for I dared to seek rest away from the defenses. Yet, when I awoke I felt confident all was left secure. I was indeed wrong for as I rounded the corner into the kitchen there they were. A blackened mass of writhing bodies roiling across the countertop. I screamed, “Damn you all!” and dove for my weapon tucked conveniently within reach under the kitchen sink.
The unwary victim of their attack lay obscured by black, segmented bodies. A spot of turkey gravy, perhaps, missed during perimeter checks the night before. It was no longer important for the attack had begun in earnest. Their regiments had fallen upon their quarry calling for reinforcements that now marched in unbroken lines from behind the walls stretching back to the depths from which they came. I unleashed a defensive unlike none had seen since the last invasion. Sanitizer mixed in a 2 to 1 solution erupted forth from the nozzle, wide-spray setting. The attackers were caught without cover. There was no place to run. I laid strafing fire along their lines, their bodies guiding my attack to the source. Unrestrained, I flooded the small crevasse between counter and wall, dowsing all those bringing up their rear who hoped to join their brethren in the fray, to die in glorious battle. It was not to be, for they perished before they reached the field.
The attack was thwarted once more save a confused few, scurrying amidst the chaotic aftermath. They were shown no mercy, given no quarter. The nozzle dripped onto my fingers as they held the bottle, rigid and ready for more action. I studied the battleground watching for lingering movement. My senses stood heightened against the potency of post-battle fervor. The creak of a floorboard gave away an approach from the rear. My body tensed.
She stepped up and peered over my shoulder, yawning in my ear, “Ants again?”
“Where do they keep coming from?” she said turning away with another yawn. “I’m taking a shower.”
I let her go, took a paper towel in hand and mopped up the carnage, leaving the bodies uncounted and vowed readiness for the next invasion.