Your friends are all plotting your destruction by Mary Hamilton

Your friends are all plotting your destruction.

There is a tree in your front yard and it is filled with bats. I can see them gathering in the moonlight, acting like the dust that’s thrown up when a rug is beat out over a porch railing. No direction to go, really, just billowing up and then settling back down into the branches and leaves. They seem harmless enough, in that habitat they’ve got going there.

But, I should warn you, if you don’t block your chimney, they will infest your house. In the panic of finding themselves trapped in the space of walls. Of angles and edges and limits, they will start shrieking and they will throw themselves into windows and doors. They will bare their teeth and they will spread their limbs and their wings and their ears and then they will attack you. They will tangle in your hair and, though one wouldn’t be able to carry you alone, a mass of them working together could cause trouble.

So how do you expect to catch them once they’re inside? I’ve been told a pillowcase is effective, but first you need to turn all the lights out so you don’t scare them even more. And you know they can still see you in the dark. And those teeth, though small, can cut through the cloth. So act fast. Maybe you should practice now. Practice jumping to catch them. Practice dodging their flight. They can dart, you know. They can maneuver better than most. Watch for those small spaces, under the couch and behind bookshelves.

And how do you expect to free them, once they’ve been caught? You could take them back outside and let them go one-by-one, but there’s no doubt they’d find their way back inside. Your house is full of holes. The chimney is only the first problem. Don’t leave windows or doors open. Check the foundation. There are some issues there too.

You can’t avoid them. You could kill them, but that would be cruel. And you consider yourself a kind person. A compassionate person. You know that, like you, the bat is a nurturing mother. A single mother. Abandoned somehow. Maybe you could put it out of its misery with some kind of blunt object. A hammer or a heavy boot. But you wouldn’t be able to take the sound of the shrieking. The sound would be inside you. The constant sound of wings flapping that invade even when all of the windows and doors are shut and locked.

I think your only option is to cut down the tree.


Your friends are all plotting your destruction


Mary Hamilton’s work has appeared in several print and online journals including SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, and the Indiana Review. She lives in Minnesota.


(Next: Forty Days After the First Explosions by Leigh Camacho Rourks)

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