Fiction logo

Childhood Encounter

While I ride the Yellow Whale home from Davy Crockett Middle School, the other kids shout at each other and bounce on the yuck-brown, vinyl-covered seats, freed at last from another year’s worth of the mind-numbing boredom of school.

By C. L. NicholsPublished about a month ago 2 min read
1

While I ride the Yellow Whale home from Davy Crockett Middle School, the other kids shout at each other and bounce on the yuck-brown, vinyl-covered seats, freed at last from another year’s worth of the mind-numbing boredom of school.

I don’t yell and I don’t bounce.

At each stop, students depart and the noise level drops. When the bus lets Donna Culpepper off at her house, I sink lower in my seat.

The next stop is mine.

When I get off, backpack thumping the steps behind me, the afternoon pales and everything slows. Rust flakes spray the pavement as the bus shimmies away, billows of white smoke rising into the hot summer air.

I barely hear the brittle grass crunch under my feet as I cut across my front yard, but I’m fully aware of the panic that climbs my throat. I’m sure that, if suddenly required to speak, my voice would unleash the monstrous stutters that have taken two years of speech therapy to constrain.

Still twenty yards from the bottom step, I hear the lazy drone and stare up at the yellow jacket nest. As I watch, a new one crawls from the paper comb it has eaten through.

My father pays them scant attention. I believe they notice only me and are waiting for just the right moment to prove it.

Today, I tell myself, is my day.

Crouched low to form the smallest target, I duckwalk across the porch and jerk the screen door handle, too terrified to look up. The tension on the spring shuts the wooden frame behind me.

I hurry to the kitchen closet, grab the broom. Bristles poke every direction. Returning to the living room, I look out the fine wire mesh and think it through. It should work.

Before I can change my mind, I throw open the door and bring up the broom, sweeping the eaves. Grimacing, eyes shut tightly and head down, I swing the handle wildly, back and forth.

The nest drops down my collar and I fall outside.

Yellow jackets sting my back. I drop the broom then struggle to pull the shirt over my head, whining with the effort. More wasps sting. For a moment, the collar won’t go over my chin and I’m choking myself. Finally, the shirt comes free and I fling it to the ground.

I race back inside, and the spring slams the door on my heels. My back is on fire and tears stream from my eyes. Angry hornets slash the air. Their collective scream is terrible.

I glare down at the nest that’s rolled from my shirt to the ground, then I sob a quick laugh.

Pride swells my chest.

Success!

#

A week has passed and my fear with it. The screen door slaps behind me as I run to play. It’s an hour before suppertime, so I’ll ride my bike. I rush to the garage, strain to lift the heavy overhead door. I reach into my back pocket for the clothes pin and the playing card I’ll attach to the rear spoke.

I rock back on my heels in horror.

On the bicycle seat, wings waving back and forth, a yellow jacket watches me. Another hovers in the air, and I look up at the broad beam above it.

The wasps have started another nest.

Microfiction
1

About the Creator

C. L. Nichols

C. L. Nichols retired from a Programmer/Analyst career. A lifelong musician, he writes mostly speculative fiction.

clnichols.medium.com

specstories.substack.com

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (1)

Sign in to comment
  • Alex H Mittelman about a month ago

    Great work! Well written!

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.