The subtle tapping sounds were gradually giving way to a deafening humming as if transmitted through loudspeakers. Against this wall of sound, in a sudden moment of crystallised clarity, the purpose of the wasp’s flight pattern was revealed to me.
The wasp is mapping the nest in minute detail to ensure navigation home.
I listened to this thought repeat itself in a loop in my head many times before setting it free in a whisper towards the dark corners of the attic. Pins and needles flooded into my hands, bursting like fireworks, and a wave of goose bumps swept down my back. I slowly descended the step ladder and wandered, stunned, towards the kitchen. Lorcan had arrived home and was chatting to Geraldine.
I slurred, “There’s an enormous wasp’s nest up there,” just before the right side of my mouth froze.
Geraldine gave a nervous laugh and said, “Oh Jesus, have you been stung on the face?”
I tried to say, “No” and shake my head but the humming sound was swelling through the attic hatch door and travelling towards me, swallowing words before I had a chance to form them and infusing my hair, bone, blood and brain with vibrational energy as if I were a giant tuning fork.
“Oh God, Daddy she’s having a stroke!” Geraldine shouted.
Lorcan lunged in my direction. The torch dropped out of my hand and bounced on the carpet. I had lost all movement in my right arm. Next I remember lying on the floor with Lorcan kneeling beside me.
Secrets, voices, thoughts? Cosmic ciphers were rapidly decoding in my mind; glimmers of truth I had known since birth but for some unknown reason had forgotten. These strangely familiar convictions took smooth flight within my consciousness:
between skin and
air is an illusion
breath into dust
space are merely sacred segments
the human body are a source of light unbroken
animals shimmer too
but we are only visitors
all the love you have ever received or given
In my ecstasy I struggled to tell Lorcan and Geraldine these things, to bring peace to their distraught faces.
But from the outside, my body was immeasurably still. And the last thing I saw was Lorcan praying over me as he smoothed my eyelids shut.
Now I am here. At this time. And I carry the hum within me.
From beyond the bedroom door comes the sound of someone padding down the corridor followed by the steady splash of a running shower. It’s time to leave.
I glide towards Geraldine and touch her hand. As I do so, the humming comes to a startling halt.
With her eyes still closed she whispers, “Human love. Imperfect but profound. Is meant to be that way.”
My body brims with brilliant light, buoyant and expectant.
Released, I swim away to the sound of a baby crying.
Fiona’s short stories and poetry have been published in The Irish Literary Review, Spontaneity Magazine, Into The Void, Dodging The Rain and Skylight47 amongst others. She grew up in Ireland but has lived most of her life in England and Australia. She currently lives near a volcano in New Zealand. Follow her on Twitter @Fionaperry17.