• җ• Bugged •җ •

The first incident occurred when she was eight years old.  She got head lice at school.  Her hair fell below her waist and the school nurse told her mother it would be best to shave her head as the infestation was so severe.  Even months afterward,  Marie had nightmares of  the lice squirming around on her scalp.  She never let her hair get longer than a pixie cut the rest of  her life.

When she was ten years old,  her family went camping at Yosemite National Park.  In less than an hour,  Marie stepped onto a red ant hill.  The ants were swarming over her entire body ~ even her face ~ before her father could wash all of  them off.  It turned out that Marie was highly allergic to the ants and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Marie was almost fourteen when the small mid-western town she lived in suffered an infestation of  grasshoppers.  She was walking into the house when a grasshopper jumped into her eye.  Not only did it scratch the cornea,  her eye became infected.  She had to wear a patch over her left eye the first six weeks of  high school.

A bee sting at her high school graduation picnic caused Marie’s face to swell.  Since her tongue and throat were also swelling,  another trip to the hospital was in order.  But not before the whole senior class had seen her disfigurement.  The school mailed Marie her diploma.

Marie had a double dorm room to herself  throughout college.  The university was concerned about being sued for negligence if  a roommate were to become ill from inhaling the insecticide fumes that Marie was constantly spraying.  The janitor added weatherstripping around her door so that the vapors wouldn’t escape into the hallway.  Some said that living four years in a room full of bug spray caused brain damage.

At the age of  27,  Marie was living a comfortable if  uneventful life.  Despite the insecticide fumes,  she was intelligent and healthy.  She set up a consulting business from her twenty-first floor apartment.  The closest anyone ever came to her were delivery people ~ Federal Express,  groceries,  pizza,  Chinese or Thai food.  You couldn’t really count video calls since those were just two-dimensional images.  Marie had her clients make electronic funds transfers directly to her bank and she did everything online.  She didn’t have a boyfriend {or any friends} and certainly did not want a pet.  In the five years she lived there,  Marie had not seen so much as a fly.

The newspaper obituary said that the venomous spider must have been in the soil of  the rare orchid sent to the woman in the apartment above.  It got into the air conditioning system and came down on its thread through the vent above Marie’s bed.

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originally posted  3 August 2011

image  ~   “Lines Areas Depth III –  Frantisek Kupka”   Tony Hisgett,  Photographer   {  some rights reserved }

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Filed under fantasy, science fiction and horror, Post-A-Day, prose, redux, short stories

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