Dallas was awake. The projection clock on the ceiling said it was 4:13. Too early to get up, but late enough that if she went back to sleep she’d be groggy all morning. She wasn’t going back to sleep though. Something else was in the room with her.
She could hear the buzzing of its thin wings. She closed her eyes again, but the buzzing cut though the sounds of the fan and the central air rustling the curtains. Zipping this way and that, pausing for intervals—perhaps as it landed on a window or the dresser—and then once again buzzing as it took flight. She could only think about its disgusting twitching mouthparts and the tiny cilia-like hairs covering its thorax. How it brushed the ends of its forelegs together like a silent era movie villain rubbing their hands, throwing back their head, and letting out a soundless maniacal laugh.
She had to kill it.
She slipped over the side of the bed, her ankle cracking satisfyingly as it took her weight, and walked a little unsteadily to the bathroom where she donned a robe and grabbed a tissue with which to smash the bug. She crept back to the foot of the bed and stood statue still, waiting. There was only silence. Isn’t that how it always goes?
“What are you doing?”
Dallas yelped and clutched her chest. “I didn’t know you were awake.”
“Likewise. It’s the middle of the night; come back to bed.”
“I can’t; there’s a fucking fly in here.” They both waited in silence for half a minute.
“I don’t hear anything,” Blake said.
Just then something buzzed across the room. It had an almost imperceptible amber glow as it zipped by, lost again in the folds of the curtains.
“It’s a drone!” Dallas shouted, pulling her robe tighter.
“Good, we can go back to sleep then.”
“Are you fucking kidding?”
Blake rolled over. “Flies spread disease. Drones don’t. We’ve got work in the morning.”
“But whose is it? What’s it doing in our house? It could be watching us, or listening right now!” Dallas’ volume increased as her mind raced.
“Baby, everything in our house is watching and listening to everything already. Whoever it is will be bored to tears.”
Dallas yelled wordlessly and stomped out of the room.
“Where are you going?” Blake called.
“To get the goddamn vacuum. I’m going to suck that thing right out of the air.” She heard Blake groan and toss a pillow over her own head.
The buzzing followed Dallas down the hall.