Flash Fiction Friday: delving into the past to fill out the rest of the year

Golden Years

Suzanne and Harry had enjoyed their first day on safari. Their resort cabin opened to the outdoors on two sides. The guides assured them that they were safe from all creatures, but to remember to sleep under the mosquito netting. Harry brought drinks onto the deck, where they watched what wildlife they could see at dusk. It had been the best trip so far since their retirement four years ago. They had even met two couples from their state of Minnesota, Joanne and Don, and Mitzi and Harold (another Harry even!).

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I may be hard pressed to leave Africa, Harry. How can I go back to reality? It’s gorgeous here.” Suzanne reached for his hand across the small table between them.

That it is, sweetheart. But go back we will, and then onto our next adventure. We’re too young to settle down just yet.” They laughed together, holding hands.

Susan’s smile drifted and she asked Harry, “Do you believe the guides? Do you think they’ve really had no unusual animal attacks here like at home? I can’t imagine it’s isolated. I wonder who’s not telling us what. Remember the Canadian moose herd overrunning Picksville? How frightening. I’m glad Jonathan moved away from Alaska last year.”

Well, I did read about black mambas attacking a professor in South Africa, but that was in a newspaper here. And it was a poisonous snake to begin with, so I don’t know how unusual it was. Yeah, I’m glad Jonathan moved. He wishes his friend Robert had moved. You know his family included him in the mass funeral—there were so many. Weirdest thing I ever heard.” He squeezed her hand and lifted it to his mouth for a kiss.

They shook off the memory, drank their wine, and toasted the tail end of the sunset. On the way to the bedroom, they embraced and smooched. When they settled into bed, Harry made sure the mosquito netting was encircling them completely—no sense getting malaria. They slept the sound sleep of the truly satisfied and wine satiated. They did not hear the driver ants entering their abode, not even when they started crawling up the bed by the hundreds, by the thousands, by the millions. They woke when the insects covered their bodies, but it was too late. Ants stung them endlessly. They passed out from shock and were invaded in every orifice.

Their new friends were next in line, being right next door. No warning was given throughout the resort, as the ants smothered screams with the multitude of their bodies. By the time they reached Harry and Suzanne’s other new friends, they had silently killed 37 couples on safari in their retiring years. Had they not continued on up to the main office, the hostess and guides would have had a lot of explaining to do to quite a few American families. As it was, the Kenyans would have to be identified by dental work as well. The ants ate everything they covered. Not a word made it to the newspapers.

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