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Buggin' Out This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

My fear follows me wherever I go. Every corner I turn, every state line I cross, every bed I rest on, it is always there. The nightmarish creatures unfailingly flock to me like kids to birthday cake, wishing to stuff their mouths with my hair and toes. It all began one fateful spring morning when our home, my safe oasis, was forcefully invaded.
Sunlight flooded the staircase and balcony, filling my room with sweet yellow breeze. Little did I know that the sun had betrayed me; it had been used as bait for my doom. I skipped into my parents' room to gaze out the large round windows in the master bath. It took a second for me to recognize what was out of place: a multitude of tiny creatures edging their way around the glass. I shut my eyes as I witnessed the monsters take up a sprint. It was an hour and yet it was a second until my face, neck, collarbones, and shoulders were pierced with razor-edged wings and soulless black eyes. My terror was stifled in my throat as my lips refused to part for fear of tasting a delicate crunch and sour squirt of crystallized limbs and exoskeleton.
Suddenly I was possessed; my hands covered my face in slaps, scratches, and swipes. I squealed as I thrashed at the unwelcome visitors. My feet sprung toward the door and down the stairs, somehow with my eyes still squeezed shut. I could feel them, feel each suction-cupped foot climbing across my clavicle, tickling me with murderous ladybug desires. The fear only left me after hours in the shower trying to wash away my disgust with soap and tears.
The experience left me scarred and constantly scared. Dragonflies that I used to snatch with my bare hands took off their friendly masks, revealing a grotesque face of murder and betrayal. Butterflies suddenly grew eyes like radiation poisoning. Daddy longlegs grew to monstrous size, stepping over my house, miraculously not crushing it. And I was their target. Somehow my sweet ignorance of their invasion was gone, and they knew they had to dispose of me before my secret reached others. Spiders leapt from ceilings into my slushies as I sipped. Maggots crawled through the deck as I looked for baby birds. Walking sticks tried to steal my loved ones by breaking their necks with their many feet and cruel disguises. And the ladybugs always returned, next attacking my mother as she opened the window to let in the betraying sunshine.
I tried to evade the terror; I tried to run and hide. Yet under every blanket, every rug, every corner in the house, they watched me, hunted me. And here I remain, silently stalking my demon, undertaking a lifestyle of caution, carefully choosing my battles as I slowly reduce their numbers, one by one.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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