Mayfly

Today I found a crack on the spare bedroom ceiling. The neighbors in the apartment above me weren’t there and I tried to remember the last time I spoke to them. I wasn’t sure I had done that, or whether I even knew them; I vaguely remembered exchanging glances with a little blonde girl riding her bicycle on the apartment complex alley. I came back into the spare bedroom and stared at the thing. It was at least 3 feet wide and 4 feet long and it didn’t come from a leak. It was just there, an oddly shaped and dark crack.

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Over the next few days I forgot about it, but then I got sick and had to take a day off work. I wandered my apartment aimlessly until I went back to the spare bedroom. I lay down on the carpeted floor trying to figure out the crack. It hadn’t changed, but now from my new vantage point I noticed it almost formed a shape, and when I stared for a prolonged time at it, it looked like it could make an actual image. It lacked symmetry and I tried to imagine where the imperfection was, searching for the missing part in my mind. I studied the crack inch by inch until I found it, and for the lack of another idea I duplicated what I believed to be its identical streak. Now I could see what the full image looked like. It reminded me of something.

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It was almost like an outlined fossil of some prehistoric insect bulging through my ceiling and if I stared for just long enough I could see something moving between the cracks. I stayed for long enough to witness a metamorphosis, and even if throughout my thirty-three years I wasn’t a believer of the supernatural or wasn’t superstitious in that way, or even religious, I could believe in one of these right now. I tried to smile, because I knew this transition promised beautiful results. I tried to get up and the suddenness of the action made my dizzy. I lay back down and watched. Above my head the lights which stretched from outside tore at each other viciously, than amalgamated into one pulsating bright blot, illuminating the ancient creature whose skeleton tried to wriggle itself free from concrete and plaster. I watched in a fearful awe how it fully formed.

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It was a great white mayfly that was spread on my ceiling. I had never seen one this close before and though it was transparent, because underneath it I could still see the crack from which it originated, breathing life into its wings, a whooping blow of air which made it twitch, I also saw it blink its blind, compound eyes.  The mayfly came down from its burial attachment and circled the room in a slow flight bearing the gathered light in its outlined belly. I admired it in a sad way because its life was short and it could end in the blink of my eye. But then from the crack came a fast and steady gust of wind, true and howling wind, which like a puppeteer acted for the mayfly to come at me. I shivered on the floor as the great white insect beat its triangular, veiny wings against me. I closed my eyes and covered my face when the wind circulating through the mayfly became deafening and sharp on my skin. It sliced at the back of my hands and my naked legs. Blood trickled between my numbing fingers and I screamed, smearing it over my mouth and cheeks. I rolled and crawled under the bed, turning my back to the beast. Then it suddenly ended.

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Bloodied and still shaking I crawled from under the bed like a frightened child. But the mayfly wasn’t there. The light was gone too. When I stepped over the carpet dizzy and stumbling, I felt something crunch under my feet. There were small white pieces of plaster all over it. I crushed the rest with my heel turning them to dust. When I looked above, there was no trace of the crack, no memory of its dark pattern engraved across.  The ceiling was white and clean.

“My Christ,” I though both religious and superstitious.

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