The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Fluco Journalism
Artwork created by Fluco Journalism using Bing Image Creator.

The Swarm

My eyes sting from the ash, but I can’t look away from the wrecked plane. I watch a small flame eat away at the fabric of the captain’s seat. I don’t look at the captain’s body. 

I was on my way home from the Americas when the plane started rattling. The passengers quickly broke into a panic. I don’t remember much else, except for crawling away from the wreck afterward. I’ve been sitting on a boulder of concrete since.  How I survived is a mystery. I finally tear my eyes away from the wreck and look around. Tall and narrow blocks of concrete that might have once been buildings surround me, standing at sharp angles and crumbling against each other. Their metal skeletons are exposed to the dying daylight, rusted almost beyond recognition. Thinking of survival, I reach in my pocket to see if I have any food or tools on me. All I have is a lighter.

“Hey.” A nasally voice with an American accent cuts through the silence. “Kid, you were on that plane?”

I shoot to my feet and look around to find the speaker. “Where are you?” Finally, I notice a hunched and dirty figure picking its way through the wreckage over to me. As the figure gets closer I can see that she’s almost completely covered in dirt and soot. Her short, choppy hair might have been blonde once, but it is now black like mine. 

“I asked if you were on that plane. Haven’t got a scratch on you, it seems.” The person reaches out a hand, which I shake. “Name’s Wendy Lewis. Reporter. Nice to see I won’t be dying alone.”


Wendy rolls her eyes. “If you keep up with this naive school boy thing you’ve got going on, then yes, most certainly. Come on, it’s getting dark. I don’t want to be caught outside at night time in this place. It gives me the chills.”

I dazedly follow Wendy through what might have been a street to a round tower like building. We walk through an open arch into an empty room with a linoleum tiled floor and the remains of light fixtures hanging like cobwebs from the ceiling. Wendy sits down cross-legged on the floor and wraps the remains of her jacket around her like a caterpillar in a cocoon. I sit down across from her. “What do we do?” I ask.

She snorts, “Sit here and wait for rescue. What else, princess?”

I scowl, now recovered enough to be offended. “Shouldn’t we at least send some sort of signal? Like a fire or a flare?”

Wendy waves me off. “I don’t know what ‘we’ you’re talking about. I’m exhausted, so I’m going to sleep. I’ll worry about that in the morning.” 

I frown, but can’t deny my own fatigue, so I lie down on the cold floor and try to get comfortable. Before I know it, I’m asleep.

I wake in darkness, chills all over my body. As I sit up, I notice a silver strand of cobweb stretching from the wall to my foot. I shake it off and stand up, peeking my head out the doorway. The streets are silent and still, a cold breeze wafts through the air. A bit of rubble shifts and I step closer to investigate. I lift the corner of a loose brick and jump back in surprise. Underneath is a colony of spiders, no bigger than my thumb each. I wouldn’t be surprised normally, except this is the first sign of life I’ve seen in this place. 

The creatures swarm outward. There’s more of them than I first observed. Then they start the merge. Horrified, I watch as each one intertwines its legs with the others, mandibles clacking and clicking. Soon, the mass of spiders is taller than me, a lump of swarming black legs and bodies. 

A thick web shoots out of it past me. I turn around to see it wrapping around Wendy. Then, in the blink of an eye, it snaps back in and she’s engulfed in the mass. I have nowhere to go except for the twisted iron stair in the center of the building. I race up it, taking the steps two at a time, and come to a cylindrical glass room with a large lens behind a stack of dry kindling. It’s an old fashioned lighthouse. 

A single spider lands on my hand and I feel a sharp sting as it bites me. I shake it off and squish it under my foot.

I remember the lighter in my pocket and take it out, holding it to the kindling on the floor. The mass of spiders have separated and little black bodies crawl into the room from all directions. With a rush of air, the fire catches and the room is plunged into orange light. I immediately break out into a sweat. I watch as the spiders shrivel away from the heat. Some are stupid enough to run straight into the flames. I remain on the far side of the room, watching the arachnids try and fail to reach me past the fire.

After a while, I hear the sound of a helicopter coming from outside. As the fire dies down, its orange glow is replaced with bright electronic lights. I step onto the railed platform and a ladder falls from the helicopter. 

“We saw the light!” a man calls down.

I look back at the lighthouse, noticing the remains of the fire light magnified by the lighthouse’s lens.

“Come on, we’ll get you home.”

Two days later I’m back in America, sitting in the doctor’s office. “Spider bites aren’t usually anything to worry about,” the doctor says. I look down at the gray spot on my hand where I was bitten. The doctor shakes his head, “You survived a plane crash. Just be glad you’re alive, lad. We’ll get you another flight home as soon as possible.”

“Still alive,” I smile tightly, pulling the hem of my sleeve down to hide the gray creeping up my arm. “Still alive.”

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