Avatar Author: Jim Stitzel I dabble a little in a lot of things -- writing, webcomics, gaming, photography, web design, music, and more. I'm a full-time code-wrangler and a part-time farmer with 40 acres, a lot of animals, and far, far too much to do. Read Bio

She accosted him on the sidewalk, as he was loading the last of his gear into the truck. He had just come from a client’s house, the last job of the day. He was loading his backpack sprayer when she slammed into him, nearly knocking him off his feet.

She was hysterical, weeping and wailing, clutching at his shirt. “YOU KILLED MY CHILDREN!” she cried.

“Ma’am…” he sputtered, trying to regain his composure.


“Ma’am, no!” he protested. “I never killed no one! I’m just an exterm—” He stopped then, eyes widening with sudden understanding. “Oh. No.” He tried to back away, but couldn’t. “Oh, god no.”

He realized her eyes were glowing crimson — how had he not noticed her eyes?! — and wondered, What is she even doing here? There had been no forecast of a Shriek anywhere in the area for weeks. If there had, he would have, should have, taken the day off.

“YOU. KILLED. MY. CHILDREN,” she repeated, extending her claws.

He supposed he had.

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  1. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    Thanks. This was all inspired by a single cricket crawling through the hay in my barn when I was feeding my horses the other day. The seed for a story was born — and went to a very strange place. :)