Roach

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
It's NEVER a good idea to go on a field trip to the sewers.

Submitted: March 14, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 14, 2012

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What!? A cockroach crawling about in my bathroom? Yuck!

I swatted it with my slipper. Don’t even ask why I did that. Don’t, because if you do, you could get hit in the face. You see, if someone placed a knife and a plastic roach on a desk and asked me to put one of them in my mouth, I’d gladly take the knife. Of course they would not dare to put a real roach on my desk—not with a knife within my reach, at least.

I hate roaches.

The insect hit the floor, its gut splayed out in repulsive splotches on the tiles. I bent a little, squinting to get a better look. That wasn’t gut…it was a small wire. I turned off the running shower and squatted—not believing my eyes. This was no roach—it was a robot!

I sighed, rolling my eyes as I remembered Shawn. Who else could it be? He was my younger brother and a wizard with electronics. He was so good, people had nicknamed him Chip. I’d kill him later. He was so annoying! Always coming up with something that’d freak me out, he never seemed to run out of ideas. I reached for my bathrobe, starting with surprise when I noticed that it was gone. I gnashed my teeth in fury. Shawn! Boy, he’d get it this time!

After brushing my teeth, I furiously stomped downstairs and there was Shawn alright, innocently munching away over a bowl of cereal.

“What is it with the roach, and can I have my bathrobe, Shawn?” I growled.

Shawn turned to me, chewing in slow rhythmical movements. He looked over his glasses just like an old professor—according to my mom—but like an old grumpy owl, if you asked me.

“Your poor hygiene is not my fault,” my brother replied, after keeping me waiting for what seemed like an hour with his chewing. “Your bathrobe is under your bed. I thought that’d be a better place for it.”

“How many times will I tell you to stay out of my room?” I yelled.

“Technically….”

“And if you don’t know anything about that robot roach, then frogs can fly.”

“Precisely,” Shawn quipped. He reached into his pocket and withdrew—to my utter befuddlement—a plastic winged frog. He pushed a button on its crude surface, and the wings slowly creaked up and down. “Congratulations, my beloved sis. You inspired this. Soon, it really might fly!”

Although Shawn looked quite solemn, it was not difficult to tell that he was mocking me. I grabbed the air like it was his hair and stomped back up the stairs to my room in angry defeat, shutting my door with a loud bang. Shawn was good with robots, but even better at ruining my mornings. Once, he had put a moving robot snake in my drawer. It had been so alarmingly life-like, I had screamed my head almost off my neck and woken up the entire neighbourhood!

I had a pesky little brother!

I haven’t told you yet? Oops. Well, I was preparing for my class' field trip to the most unlikely of places: the city sewer. Yes, you heard right: the dark, stinking sewer. Although it had been cleaned out and sanitized, I—and the few, and I mean very few, other sane kids in the sixth grade—hardly thought it was the right place to take modern-day students on a field trip. A sewer’s a sewer, cleaned out or not! But in spite of my disgust at the plan, I knew better than to challenge our dictator of a teacher, Ms Jameson.

I struggled to cram my stuff into my backpack. It included leotards (don’t dare ask why), a flashlight, bugspray (okay, I know you think I’m a freak), a pen, a book, and some eatables. As I left, I checked—and double-checked—that I had properly locked my door, and I’m sure you know why. But I suspected that Shawn had a master key, so what was the use?

Perhaps I should’ve taken more bugspray, I thought absentmindedly as I flew down the stairs—I had a whole heap in my room.

Mom was already making breakfast, but I would not be able to have any because the school bus was already outside. As I sped past him, I dropped a note on Shawn’s leg. It read: “Don’t you dare go near my room, or else.”

As I shut the front door behind me, I heard my brother laugh.

 

  •  

 “What’s up, Jean?” Christy, my best friend, asked I sat heavily in the school bus.

“Same old, same old,” I replied wearily.

 Christy and I had been friends since kindergarten. She was one of the extremely—and I mean extremely—few sane people in my grade. Everyone else, in my view, was bonkers.

We began talking about our fieldtrip. Christy, to my surprise, sounded quite excited. Just then, a spitball smashed into my cheek. I turned around, already knowing who to expect—Fabian. I flicked the ball off my face and turned away from him and his snickering sidekicks.

“All the boys in the world are so dumb!” I groaned. “First Shawn, and now Fabian. Who next?”

“It’s the Stupid Gene,” Christy replied quite meekly, which was quite unlike her. “Not exactly their fault, you know. Besides….” At this she leaned towards me before adding: “I think Fabian likes you.”

“Oh really?” I replied with mock happiness. “Boy, am I glad.”

“And he’s cute, too,” Christy continued. “Like Elvis Presley.”

 

  •  

At the entrance to the Old City Sewer, Christy left my side and inexplicably retreated to the rear of the group of excited kids. That was a bit unusual of my friend, her leaving me like that, and I noticed Fabian’s quizzical expression as his friends did the same, meeting with Christy at the back. That was weird. Christy hated those jerks as much as I did. What was up with her?

I raised two fingers up, which, in our own peculiar sign language, meant “what’s up?” Christy only smiled in response. I shrugged, wondering why my best friend was acting so differently today. She was usually more vocal than I was. For instance, normal Christie would have attempted to fire a spitball back at Fabian, and it would have taken all my strength to hold her back.

Without my friend, I followed everyone else into the well-lit entrance of the Old City Sewer. The walls were made of concrete, and soon the exterior disappeared as we moved further into the Sewer’s depths. Ms Jameson and the tour guide were busy guiding us and explaining things I could not care less about.

We walked in a straight line by a quickly moving stream of waste water which was separated from us by a steel railing. The stuff repulsed me, even though it was plain liquid and totally odourless. The cold and damp air of the sewer made me think of a vampire movie I’d only recently seen with Christy. The vampire princess had sucked out every single drop of blood in the man she had seduced.

She had done it in a sewer.

I shivered.

“Michael!” Ms Jameson was yelling. “Get back here, Mike! You can’t drink that!”

I heard a scurrying sound and my heart skipped a beat when I thought of rats. Like you already know, I hate roaches, but rats? The words describing my feelings for them don’t exist yet, and those that can even come close are so bad I won’t offend you by putting them in here.

I caressed my bare arms as goose bumps popped up all over my skin. I wondered if it was just me, or if anybody else could sense that we were probably being watched. It wasn’t that CCTV feeling—it was more like that sensation you get when someone’s at your back, just staring. I was really becoming uncomfortable, and when I spotted a humongous cockroach scurry over one of the dirty light bulbs overhead, I suddenly realized that this was a natural, good old sewer, not a “cleaned out sanitary museum” as Ms Jameson had euphemized it. Then, it struck me that it was really quite odd for high-schoolers to be going on a fieldtrip to a sewer, cleaned out or not. In fact, I’d never heard of it, nor had my parents, when they had read the letter from Ms Jameson.

Now I was really, really scared, and when I saw three more roaches perched on the railing, their sickening, brown wings stretched out as if in preparation for flight, I stopped. I needed to get the heck out or completely go hysterical.

“I want to go out, NOW!” I screamed at the top of my lungs at Ms Jameson.

Everyone stopped, like I’d expected. But they were all looking at me strangely, as if they also had been expecting me to yell. Ms Jameson smiled warmly.

“Now Jean, we’ve only started….”

“I don’t care! What sort of fieldtrip is this? This is a sewer! The stuff we flush down toilets comes down here!” I continued angrily. “What are we learning? What not to flush?”

Everyone was still staring at me with that queer smile on their faces. Only Fabian looked natural. He was glancing worriedly between me, Ms Jameson, and his friends, as if he was trying to figure out what was going on.

“Scaredy cat, scaredy cat!” Someone began to chant. To my complete surprise, I realized that it was Christy! Now that was totally unlike her. But I didn’t care—I was mad.

“Since when have you become such a witch, Christy?” I retorted, now quite red in the face. It was me against an entire battalion of nutheads. “Just walking about in a dungy sewer is fun to you? Ms Jameson and that guide dude haven’t even been talking for like thirty minutes! What are we doing? I’m leaving.

I grabbed my flashlight from its holder in my backpack.

This was very strange. Even after my ranting, only Christy and Ms Jameson had spoken. Everyone else was just staring at me—twenty-six pairs of eyes—and it was like a ton of weight on my shoulders. As I tried to shove Veronica out of my way—we had been moving in a single file, and I had stupidly been at the lead—I heard a loud splashing of water and before I could say ‘Robinson Crusoe caught a fish’ Ms Jameson had me by the nape of my neck.

“Are you crazy!?” I shrieked, overwhelmed by terror and shock at this. My voice echoed repeatedly off the walls. My heart was beating so hard, I was sure I could hear it echo too. “What are you….”

“Let her go!” Fabian yelled, yanking me free from Ms Jameson’s vicious grasp.

To my horror, I realized that Ms Jameson had leaped over the railing, rushed right through the waste water—in her loafers and pants—and was now standing knee-deep in the disgusting sludge. Worst of all, she wasn’t bothered, even as chunks of waste pooled around her slender legs.

“What’s wrong with you guys?” I cried—or maybe whimpered, shielded by Fabian from the other kids. Ms Jameson remained in the waste water.

Everyone, including Christy and Fabian’s friends, continued to grin at us—Fabian and I. I suddenly realized that it was a very identical grin, with the left part of their lips turned upwards. Christy did not smile like that. Christy hardly ever smiled.

What had happened to my friend?

“Look,” Diego said, stepping forward. He was a tall and thin kid with a thick crop of black hair and large glasses. “There’s no fieldtrip.”

“Who’d think of a fieldtrip in a sewer?” Veronica quipped.

“Exactly,” Christy continued. “I am going to cut to the chase. It is quite odd that both of you escaped. We had ordered your liberation this morning.”

“Our liberation?” Fabian asked incredulously.

“Join us,” Ms Jameson said. She was still standing in the canal, and her jeans were soaked through and through with waste. “We’ve already taken these humans, so please hold no grudges against them. Join us and feel the joy they now feel.”

“What in the world….” I mumbled, struck senseless with utter incomprehension.

“Is this a joke?” Fabian asked in a slightly braver tone. “Quit it, guys. Marco, Scott, stop this right now.

I tapped Fabian’s back gently. “It’s no use, Fabian,” I whispered. “Your sidekicks are gone.”

“We are the Roach League,” Christy continued, calmly staring at us with her arms hanging limply at her sides—like everyone else. “We’re not actually insects, but advanced robotic life forms, and we sent some of our colleagues to your home this morning but apparently not all of them succeeded.”  

“Was it that thing I dismembered with the grill knife?” Fabian jeered. He was gradually becoming more emboldened, and this comforted me a lot. “I thought it was a cool toy and felt like a tramp for breaking it.”

I remembered how I had smashed the roach so hard, I’d nearly slipped.

Mentioning this would not be a good idea, I decided.

“Do you permit us to liberate you?” Ms Jameson asked from her station in filth.

I had thought this sort of thing happened only movies! Thank God I’d crushed that roach. I would’ve become a dumb and helpless puppet if I hadn’t. I was overwhelmed with sadness as I thought of my friend. Poor Christy!

“Liberate this,” Fabian replied curtly, making a very, very rude gesture with his hand—the sort of thing Christy would do, I remembered dejectedly.

Then Fabian and I were running, bolting as fast as our little legs could carry us. But there was hardly any need to, for our kidnappers were standing just as we had left them. Listening carefully, I realized that they were actually laughing. I had not recognized it at first because it was so strange, hearing people laugh like that. They sounded like a faulty engine trying to start.

 

 

  •  

Fabian stopped, panting heavily. We had been running for about ten minutes. He had had to stop because of me, actually. I could not go on.

“Where are those freaks?” he asked between mouthfuls of air.

“They didn’t chase us,” I answered, leaning on my knees in exhaustion as I listened for any sounds of pursuit.

“What?” he exclaimed. “That means we’re in soup.”

At that moment, we noticed a muffled roaring sound coming through the grimy wall. Holding my hand in his, Fabian led the way towards the sound, illuminating our path with my flashlight. I could not tell whether they were real or my imagination, but I could see and hear creepy crawlies everywhere. I was hoping I would not feel them!

Soon we came upon a large opening in the wall, and what we saw in it took my breath away. I nearly slumped, but Fabian caught me.

Before us was a legion of roaches of such health and size that only a glimpse would immediately reclaim your breakfast or lunch, or both, from you. They were of the kind that would make me completely disregard my own safety in my attempts to kill them. Here they were, trillions upon trillions of them, crawling all over themselves and glistening like little black jewels as the rays from my torch fell upon their backs and wings. Some flew wildly about in the air, and Fabian and I were so petrified from horror that we didn’t even move as some sped past our heads. With the torch, we realized that the walls we had just passed to the opening were coated thick with cockroaches, all of them silent with their wings outstretched, watching us as we had been running. No wonder poor Christy and the others had been laughing.

The teeming mass of cockroaches had been the source of the roaring—the friction of their bodies against each other—and now the sound was almost deafening.

“My God!” I exclaimed hoarsely.

Fabian was far more crude, and I will not write what he said for his sake.

Huge halogen lights suddenly came on, nearly blinding us. When my eyes adjusted, I realized that my flashlight had only revealed a minute fraction of what existed there. It was some sort of colossal cavern, with a steeply sloping floor and absurdly high dome ceiling. The roaches were in such great numbers, they coloured the very air brown.

A bulge gradually took form at the very centre of the storm of roaches. As it grew in size, the roaches decreased accordingly in number. I can’t remember how long it took to finish growing—perhaps seconds, or hours, I really cannot remember to this day—but I suddenly realized that there were very few insects outside the bulge, and these were either crippled or dead. The mass at the centre was an enormous, slithering body of cockroaches.

Then it began to reform. Waves of insects were suddenly thrown aside, and some of them immediately scurried back to the mass and others lay on the floor, twitching. This occurred several times, and I noticed what looked like antennae emerging from the top of the body. Minutes later six thorny legs erupted out from its sides and slowly hoisted it up, and even more cockroaches rained to the floor from its underside. Not long after this, I realized what was happening.

“It’s forming some sort of giant cockroach!” Fabian exclaimed in my ear, and I nodded, my eyes bulging out of their sockets.

If this was a movie, you’d think it was the coolest CGI ever. But now that it was happening right in front of me, it was not so awesome. The fully-formed monster stood there, its legs surrounded by countless dead cockroaches. Many looked like they were missing parts. The creature’s antennae roamed haphazardly and then stopped suddenly—in my direction.

Fabian stuffed my flashlight back into my hand.

“Good luck,” he said.

“Where are you going?” I asked pitiably, now sweating profusely.

“I’m leaving, duhhhh,” he answered, snickering wickedly.

“What!?” I could not believe it. “You stupid traitor!”

“Yeah whatever,” he said carelessly, waving his hand as he disappeared into the darkness.

My face was wet, not from sweat but from tears. For one desperate second I felt like pursuing him, begging him to take me along to wherever he was going. But that wasn’t exactly a good idea, I realized miserably, for he could have been a host all along, like poor Christy and Ms Jameson. Perhaps he had been a trap, and now I was caught in it. I still had not completely accepted the sudden transformation—he had seemed so normal, so different from the others!

The monster was now approaching me, lumbering along on its spindly roach-legs. The utter futility of fleeing was so obvious, I did not even bother. And perhaps if I had tried, my legs would most likely not have cooperated—they were virtually knocking against themselves at the knees and barely able to hold me up, let alone run. Thus, I could only watch helplessly as the creature came to within just a few feet from me.

The smell emanating from it was horrid—like that of sewers, and no wonder. If I could see my face then I would have been ashamed, for it was contorted into the most grievous grimace imaginable. Once again, the giant roach began to reform. In a minute, after a series of sickening squelching and crunching sounds, it had taken on the form of a man. In spite of my fear, I squinted and took a closer look, holding my flashlight ahead of me. I could not believe my eyes, for the figure standing before me was Elvis Presley.

Elvis Presley?

Perhaps I had finally lost it, and the fear had finally snapped something in my head. Or maybe the roach had gotten in after all and was finally taking over, and this was the initial symptom: seeing things. But if none of those things were true then the man standing before me was the King of Rock ‘n Roll himself!

The hair was perfect, but the eyes were horribly wrong. The whites were a dark navy blue. ‘Elvis’ opened his mouth, and instead of teeth there were totally gross cilia-like things. In the place of a tongue was a slick, scaly, and navy blue replica. His terrible breath nearly knocked me out. It smelled like formaldehyde mixed with skunk fluid—a mixture of something mechanical and organic, anyway.

“I just love this human performer’s look,” ‘Elvis’ said, caressing his hair. It was not real hair, but a congealed mass of cockroach legs. It creaked as he touched it. It was disgusting beyond the realm of words.

At that moment strength suddenly flooded my limbs, and I turned to fly. But ‘Elvis’ promptly laid a hand on my shoulder, and I shuddered under its cold, clammy touch. However, I could no longer move. At first I thought it was overwhelming revulsion, but then I realized that he had somehow paralyzed my body.

“Let me go!” I wailed.

‘Elvis’ only smiled, but it wasn’t that legendary smile that drove countless female fans of the real Presley crazy. It was that stupid left-point-of-lips-upwards smile, and it was NOT cute.

“You humans are marvellously complex beings. The dissections have provided us with a wealth of knowledge,” ‘Elvis’ said, still with his sick hand resting on my shoulder. I needn’t tell you that his voice was absolutely nothing like Elvis’, either.

He brought his hideous face to within an inch of mine, and I knew that, if I survived, I’d never, ever be able to watch a video of the great star again for the rest of my days on the Earth. Then I realized that ‘Elvis’ had used certain words. Perhaps his breath had disrupted my understanding or something, or had I heard the word ‘dissect?’ I strangely could not remember the meaning of ‘dissect’—such was the extent of my confusion—but I still had the presence of mind to remember that ‘dissected’ was what my Biology teacher had said had happened to some frogs. Those frogs, I remembered, had been split wide open, their insides exposed to the world.

‘Elvis’ extended a finger, and it swiftly lengthened into a razor-sharp blade.

“Let us see what lies in the female human,” he snarled. His hand was still on my shoulder, and I was helpless.

“Stop, you disgusting beast!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. The point of the blade pushed past the layers of my top, and I felt it prick my skin.

“You humans are a vile, heartless race,” ‘Elvis’ began in a calm voice, holding the blade perilously over my beating heart. Under that calm tone, however, I could sense burning anger, bordering on delusion. He bowed his head, so that a shadow covered his facial features.

“My mother was crushed to pieces by you, as was my father,” he continued, his voice quivering slightly. “But of course there was no grief in me at the time, being a dumb insect and all.” When he spoke again, it was not in a man’s voice, but in a deep, booming tone. “Then I was subjected to radioactive rays—the scientists were trying to develop a new method of eliminating us en masse, perhaps by destroying our ability to reproduce.”

‘Elvis’ withdrew his blade hand from my chest, and the blade disappeared as he clenched his fist.

“All the other roaches in the experiment were destroyed or altered as the scientists wished, but not me,” he continued. “I was improved. Awakened, if you like. Yes, the fools, in their attempt to destroy my race, had only blessed it by bestowing me with genius.”

‘Elvis’ raised his head. His blue eyes blazed with rage and insanity. “I now think on a level superior to the very scientists that tried to kill me. And soon, with my Roach League, I will crush every human on this planet underneath my foot as they have crushed us for thousands of years.

“I will exterminate every single piece of human scum from the surface of the Earth!”

I only stared, quite speechless. So that was the reason behind this menace. Thanks, mad scientists, for ruining my day—my life, in fact. Thanks a whole lot, science, for destroying the world.

“Only those who have joined me will be spared,” ‘Elvis’ was saying. He opened his mouth again, and his breath was so awful my eyes began to water.

From deep down his throat, I saw two cockroaches scurry out, making their way through all the cilia and finally stopping at the tip of his tongue. They spread their wings out and waited.

“Take one,” ‘Elvis’ ordered, speaking around his tongue.

“Why don’t you just cut me up!?” I spat. “I’d take that over joining your stupid army.”

‘Elvis’ withdrew his tongue and chewed the roaches on it, grinding them between his teeth loudly.

I threw up all over him.

Just as I bent in the throes of an involuntary abdominal spasm, I heard a loud hissing sound followed by a shrill shrieking sound. ‘Elvis’ had his face in his hands, and was screaming in agony as he writhed on the floor. Steam spewed out of bubbling pustules on his skin. Fabian stood behind me, with a can of bugspray in his outstretched hand. Never before had the toxic smell of insect poison smelled so heavenly.

“Fabian….”

“I’m sorry I had to ditch you earlier,” Fabian said as we escaped from the cavern and the creature’s cries of pain. “I had to look as convincing as possible.”

“It’s okay.” My chest hurt where the monster had cut me.

“You can run, but you can never hide,” ‘Elvis’ booming voice cried from behind us. “I will get you. And crush you.”

“I can’t run as fast as you can, Fabian!” I yelled, bursting into tears again. I feared that he would leave me.

However, he stopped, lifted me, and continued sprinting with me in his arms. I clutched my backpack like a vulnerable baby.

We came upon a solid wall of cockroaches in our path. The only way around it was the stream of waste water, but even that was teeming with swimming insects!

“What are we going to do now?” I keened.

“Bugspray,” he replied. “Works like magic.” And he was right. The roaches melted away before the spray like cotton candy before a flame.

“Is that from my backpack?”

“Yes.”

Do not even mention it. I already know how stupid I was to have brought only one can along.

After running for a little while, I gave a cry of joy, for the exit was now clearly in sight. But a dark form suddenly rose out of the sewage, clutching the railing as it clambered up onto the pathway, blocking our escape.

“No way,” ‘Elvis’ mumbled.

“Don’t worry,” Fabian said as he placed me back on my feet. He shook the can of bugspray heartily. “I’ll take him.”

“You can’t fight him, Fabian!” I whispered.

“Did I say I didn’t know that?” He replied. I could not believe my ears. Was this the same Fabian, that unbelievably annoying jerk, from school?

“You’re not Indiana Jones,” I countered angrily. “Don't be a hero! You could…die.”

Fabian grinned. “At least I’ll be on TV. Run!”

We bolted in the direction of ‘Elvis,’ but I ducked free of the monster’s grasp as Fabian ploughed straight into him. Yes, the monster, for it had suddenly changed back to its giant roach form!

“Fabian!”

“Run, Jean! Go get help!” His voice sounded strained and muffled from under a swarm of cockroaches. I was crying yet again, frozen in fear and grief. Then a bunch of insects suddenly leaped in my direction, and I was running again.

As I approached the exit, a rusty steel door slowly began to descend from the ceiling. I screamed in dismay—if that door hit the floor that would mean the death of myself and Fabian. Or worse, our dissection. I realized that I would have to make a split second decision—leave Fabian at the mercy of this devil or help him and risk both our lives. Either way, I’d still die anyway if that door ever hit the floor.

Fabian had ripped one of the monster’s legs off, but it was slowly regenerating. And he was certainly losing the fight. ‘Elvis’ appeared to be toying with him, actually. My bugspray can lay on the floor, obviously exhausted. The creature’s growls and Fabian’s grunts echoed loudly in the sewer.

Entering the melee, I grabbed Fabian’s hand and pulled with all my strength. The roach had his other hand in its mouth, and it was like a tug-of-war from hell. Then Fabian aimed a good kick to its face and that did the trick. His hand was badly cut up and bleeding, but otherwise OK. He looked at me with disbelief in his eyes as we made for the steadily closing door, ‘Elvis’ hot on our heels and yelling invectives from the 70’s.

The door was only about two meters from the floor and was steadily eating up the distance. Fabian, now very weak, laboured to keep up with me as we cut through swarms of flying roaches. Some thudded against my bare arms and face, but I didn’t care. I could hear the crunch crunch crunch of crushed insects from beneath my sneakers. Sorry, ‘Elvis!’ I thought wickedly.

If I could, I certainly would have hoisted Fabian up in my arms the way he had done for me, but my trying that would instantly mean lunch for many happy roaches. ‘Elvis’ was catching up quickly, shambling along on his five whole legs and his healing stump. To get through the door now, Fabian and I would have to bend. Seconds later, the space had grown even smaller!

Fabian got under the door and held it up with his arms, temporarily reducing its rate of descent. I sped beneath it and into the fresh air without.

“Fabian, let go!” I screamed.

He tried, but it was too late. The roach had him, with one of its legs, by the neck, and was tugging furiously. Just as he was yanked free from the door I leaned in and grabbed hold of his shirt.

“Fabian! No!!”

“Hold on, kid,” someone said, and a strong arm reached over my shoulder and grabbed Fabian. Another pair lifted me up like a doll and kept me aside.

It was SWAT. I could not believe my eyes. They resembled robocops in their futuristic looking gear. For some reason, the old door had ceased its descent and was now going back up.

With surgical precision, the SWAT guy sliced off the offending leg with his dagger, freeing an unconscious Fabian from the grasp of the monster. ‘Elvis’ looked absolutely petrified, and quickly beat a hasty retreat into the depths of the sewer.

“Bring in the big guns, boys,” another SWAT guy said.

It was only then, as I stood over the unconscious shape of Fabian, that I realized what was happening. The entrance to the sewer was surrounded by the terrible might of the US Army, with all kinds of war vehicles and machines and armed soldiers moving about. Helicopters flitted over our heads. The noise and commotion were deafening. I could hardly hear myself think.

As Fabian and I were carried away on stretchers, I saw a big fire truck slowly approach the sewer entrance. A large bug had been drawn on its tank, with an even larger ‘X’ stamped over it. Men jumped off the truck and started unrolling the hose from its rear.

“How are my friends?” I asked the medic.

“They’re fine, kiddo,” he replied cheerily.

Fabian stirred on his gurney, wincing briefly in pain. He was still unconscious. He had been so manly and brave, I thought. Perhaps we could now be friends. I hoped he felt the same way too.

‘Elvis’ had not understood, I concluded. It was Man’s place to crush roaches, and never the other way around.

 


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