Benny’s mom got down on all fours and leaned over the mysterious hole in their driveway. She picked up the flashlight next to her and shined a beam of light into the darkness.
“I can’t see anything.” Her voice returned to her in low, grumbling echoes rising from the unseen bottom.
“I have this burning urge to shout, ‘This is Sparta!’ ” Benny said from behind her.
She sat up on her haunches and frowned at him over her shoulder. “Boy, I will whip your behind if you kick me into this hole.”
“I’m just joking, Ma.” He slapped her back, and she jerked away losing her balance, teetering over the hole momentarily before digging her nails into the concrete edge and pushing herself backward. Benny immediately threw his hands up, professing innocence to attempted foul play.
“If I had a belt,” she mumbled, shaking her head. “Get one of those rocks,” she directed, “throw it down there, listen for it to hit the bottom.
Benny did as he was told then dropped to his stomach and held his ear over the hole. “I can’t hear anything.”
“It can’t possibly be that de—”
“Wait! There’s something. It’s…it’s…a chirping? No, wait…a buzzing? Like bugs…big ones. It’s getting louder, like they’re coming up to the top. Oh, my god, there’s gotta be like a million of them!”
Benny fell back on his rear. Kicking up dust and rocks, he speedily propelled himself backward, away from the hole. He scrambled to stand and run, but his feet were like lead plates in his shoes. He tripped and rolled down the driveway out into the street.
Benny’s mom crawled to the back step. Believing the strength in her legs had abandoned her, she used the post to lift herself to her feet, only to realize the ground beneath her was shaking. She turned around just as what appeared to be a cloud of black smoke burst from the hole. She brought her arms to her face to shield her eyes.
A large cricket, the size of her hand, landed on her wrist. A second on her shoulder. A third clung to her shirt at her hip.
She looked up. Her son stood frozen at the end of the driveway, mouth agape.
“Benny! Benny, run!” she screamed as the swarm of locusts engulfed her.
This piece of flash fiction is in response to this week’s photo prompt for Sunday Photo Fiction. Click the froggy icon to read other stories inspired by the photo and add your own.