Our challenge this month is flash fiction based on the first Google image called up by the last noun of the first sentence of a book we’re reading. I’m reading THE CUCKOO’S CALLING by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling). I’m sorry to say that my word is “flies.” (“The buzz in the street was like the humming of flies.”) I’ve shown you the image.
I heard the buzzing before I fitted the key into the lock—louder than the highway across the fields behind me, overpowering even the waves fifty yards beyond the house. For a second, I thought it was cicadas, although they never started this early in the season.
I wanted it to be a good sound, a comforting memory of childhood summers.
The key wouldn’t turn in the lock. I rattled it, metal on metal, twisted it, willing the rust to give way and let me in. It wouldn’t let go. I’d oiled the lock before I left the house last fall, I was sure of it.
It struck me that the lock didn’t want to let me in. “Jerk,” I said. “That’s the road food talking.”
I shook the door on its hinges, even though I knew a broken door would be no good solution. But I was sweaty and exhausted, sustained for the last 100 miles by the thought of that first drink of frigid well water, the pure joy of a well-hammocked screen porch.
I wasn’t rational anymore, rattling, twisting, shaking. Man, that lock was stubborn.
The buzzing swelled, and I realized it was coming from inside the house. It was angry—riled up, I thought, by all my noise and tremors. Maybe the lock was right. Maybe I shouldn’t go in there.
I gritted my teeth. “Never. Let. The inanimate. Object. Win.”
A last fury of shaking and aha!—the key made a retching sound and turned. The door burst open.
The smell hit me.
These were not cicadas.