Yeah, I know, a bunch of you are like, “Did he just misspell mosquito in the title of his blog post?” Nope. I typed MANsquito to introduce you to another piece of forgotten flash fiction. As with all the stories in this series, this is another bit of flash written in an hour for a writing exercise/contest. The prompt for this one, if I remember correctly, was literally a dude in a mosquito costume. The first thing that popped into my head when I saw the prompt was an original SyFy movie called Mansquito. Of course, working that movie into a flash piece was a bit of a challenge, but I managed to shoehorn it in there, and “The Mansquito Returns” is the result.
Oh, and full disclosure–I’ve never actually seen Mansquito. 🙂
The Mansquito Returns
“You ever seen that SyFy channel movie Mansquito?” Richard said and placed the tip of the crowbar under one of the boards across the warehouse window. He yanked back, and the board came loose with the screech of rusting nails.
John stood back while Richard went to work on the next board. “Yeah. I saw it. It was really stupid. Dude turns into a mosquito monster.”
“Stupid or not, it was based on a real story,” Richard said and popped a second board free. “And this warehouse is where a lot of that shit went down.”
John wrinkled his nose. He wanted to call bullshit on something so ludicrous, and Richard was just probably messing with him, but the older boy liked to make up wild and intricate stories to go along with their petty vandalism. John went along with it because it was fun and a little bit dangerous. He’d go along with it tonight too. “Come on, Richard,” he said. “Nothing like that could exist.”
Richard had worked the last board free, revealing a greasy grey window pane. The window was at the rear of the old Linotech warehouse, which had been abandoned and empty for as long as John could remember.
“What the fuck do you think Linotech was working on, man?” Richard said, whirling around, hands on his hips. “Those motherfuckers were into all kinds of crazy shit with their chemicals. Everybody knows they were experimenting on people. That’s why they got shut down.”
John nodded, embarrassed he had questioned Richard. That wasn’t part of the game. “Okay, man,” he said. “Sorry. It’s just a little crazy. I mean wouldn’t that kind of thing be on the news?”
“Oh, it was,” Richard said and grinned. “Remember all those kids that went missing like five years ago?”
Jon remembered. Six children had vanished over the space of a couple of days. He remembered because his mom wouldn’t let him go out and play for weeks.
“The Mansquito got ‘em,” Richard said. “I’ll bet their bodies are in this warehouse, and I want to see them.”
“Fine,” John said. “Can you get the window open without breaking it?” It was dark and this area of town was deserted, but the sound of breaking glass had a way of attracting attention.
“Yeah. It lifts up.” Richard wedged the crowbar under the window and put his whole body weight onto it. The window jerked up with a low shriek of splintering wood, creating a six inch gap between the bottom of the pane and the sill. “Help me with this.”
John moved up to help his friend and together they were able to push the window up another six inches or so before it jammed in the frame. It was enough space for two skinny teenagers to crawl through. Richard went first, shimmying through the gap into the stale darkness beyond the window. John went next, and the first thing he noticed on the other side was a faint acrid smell—a chemical stink.
They were on the main warehouse floor, concrete covered in years of dust and rat turds. Small windows along the wall near the ceiling let in a bit of moonlight so the place wasn’t pitch black. John could make out small mounds of stacked boxes, more than he would have expected in an abandoned warehouse.
Richard flicked on the small keychain flashlight he always carried. Its tiny beam of light illuminated the nearest mound of boxes, each with “Linotech” stenciled across it in red.
“Let’s go,” Richard said and began moving forward, the flashlight in his left hand the crowbar in his right. “I’ll bet the bodies are near the middle.”
“Did you bring any bud?” John whispered. Finding secluded places to smoke weed was the primary reason for their little B&E excursions. He didn’t know where Richard got the stuff, but Richard was sixteen, and he had access to resources John could only dream of in his thirteen-year-old world.
“Yeah,” Richard whispered back. “We’ll smoke after we look at the bodies.”
“Cool,” John said and followed behind Richard. They made their way toward the middle of the warehouse where the mounds of boxes had been stacked to create a little shelter. John was surprised to see these boxes were free of dust, and the first thing he thought when he saw them was, Cool. Somebody made a fort.
“In here,” Richard said and hurried into the makeshift fort. He moved to the back wall of boxes and stopped. Something lay on the floor.
John moved up and his breath caught in his throat. Richard was standing over three bodies. It was hard to tell much about them in the dark, and for some reason Richard was shining the light at him instead of on the ground. He thought he saw an older man, a youngish woman, and dark-haired boy about his own age. There was something black all over their faces; he guessed it must be blood. “Jesus, Richard,” he whispered. “We gotta tell somebody.”
The flashlight beam darted up and into John’s face, and he heard Richard moving toward him. The light was blinding him, and he raised his right arm to shield his eyes. He heard another sound, a low hum, and then his head exploded with pain and light. He fell, the strength gone from his limbs, and landed on his back. Something warm and wet ran down his face and he couldn’t move.
Richard loomed over him. The older boy was wearing some kind of mask; it looked like a gas-mask but the breathing hose was long and white. He had the crowbar in both hands, and he raised it above his head. “You can’t tell anyone,” Richard said. His voice was muffled and tinny through the mask. “The Mansquito doesn’t leave anyone alive.” The crowbar came down and John heard the crunch of his skull breaking before the darkness swallowed him.
I like the characters in this one, and I had a lot of fun with the voice. I think it’s a bit better than some of the other flash pieces I’ve written for these contests, but it’s still got a ways to go before I could do anything with it. Basically, it just not working as flash, and it kind of feels like the middle of a longer story to me. Maybe with more of an intro and a better resolution it could be a descent short story.
If you’d like to check out the previous installments in the One-Hour Flash series, click the links below.
I love this! Partly because I have seen Mansquito and adored the cheesiness (and I’ve been trying to buy/rent it for a while now), and partly because I really like your characters and the voice you’re writing in. I agree with you about the resolution though.
Thanks. I still need to track that movie down. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the characters and voice, but, yeah, this story is a pretty classic example of failed flash.
Oh, and thanks for following the blog. 🙂
Pingback: One-Hour Flash: My Hero – Aeryn Rudel's Rejectomancy