The day began as any other. We caught the school bus and after riding half an hour north picking up other kids, we turned south doing the same, finally arriving at the grade school, tucked back off the highway in a small valley.
Soon, school would be out for the summer, however the thought and excitement of vacation was filled with an abstract fearfulness. The sky of our school was filled with flying bugs, biting each child that spent any time in the sun and who hadn’t retreated to the shade of the nearby building.
The sound of crying could be heard of those who had been attacked and swarmed without mercy. Many of us entered the bathrooms from the outside doors, only to find the inside doors leading to the hallways locked.
Soon the bathrooms were crowded with children, both boys and girls sharing the same space, all fearful of the growing swarms outside the doorways. When the bell rang telling us that recess was over, there was a hesitation to leave our sanctuary.
“Where are the teachers?”
“They don’t care about us!”
“Don’t they see them?”
Finally, two kids decided that they didn’t want to get in trouble and went outside towards the doorway that lead to their classrooms. Their screams and cries could be heard, echoing down the cement walkways and walls of the school yard, until they faded to whimpers then silence.
Finally, someone unlocked the inside doors and frightened children poured into the hallways. Many, crying, called for their parents, while others in shock, simply slunk against the walls or sank to the floor, too fearful to move any farther.
In the distance we could hear the flying insects dance, their legs and wings tapping along the windows of the sunshine side of the ‘L’ shaped building. That dancing eventual became loud thumps as the insects continuously dove headlong into the thin pieces of glass that separated us from them.
It wasn’t too long after when the violent shattering of glass was heard. It began as a dull crackling sound, growing louder until the smashing of fragmented glass reverberated throughout the hallways.
Along with that breaking of glass, came the shrieks and deafening screams of terrified children and teacher, knowing that the winged horde had found their way inside our retreat. However, they never came for us — and instead were found dead the next morning when we were finally met by rescuers and parents alike.
The lack of sunshine had been our unwilling savior, though no one every could explain why a lack of sun lead to their extermination. Gladly, they never made it from the classroom that they first entered and as nighttime fell, they died en mass, their black bodies littering every corner of our little lives.
“I saw three soldiers from the nearby military installation using flamethrowers to fight the swarms off,” Dad later told us in somber and hushed tones, “The burning bugs started a number of grass and house fires. When their tanks finally ran out, I couldn’t watch what happened to them.”
He refused to talk about it until the day he died.
And to this day, no one talks about it. There’s no record of it in the newspaper and it only exists in the memories of those who were there and sadly we are growing old, dying off, knowing that one day soon, no one will be left who remembers.