Just a few weeks ago, it had been raining whole day every day, right up until the day of Chinese New Year, when the Rain and Thunder Gods decided to stop goofing around and causing flash floods all over my country.
The sun had been shining bright and hot ever since.
With this kind of weather combination, a mosquito breeding party is well-nigh inevitable. I’d started getting illusions of black spots hovering at the edge of my peripheral vision about a couple of weeks ago, which turned out to be not illusions. But I hadn’t believed it at first, mostly because I hadn’t been bitten, or maybe mostly because I was in denial. I thought I had my fort well-defended by my very aura, brimming with accumulated hatred against mosquitoes. Maybe it was my blood type, or the chemicals my pores secreted, or pheromones, whatever; mosquitoes tend to go for me even when there are more body to choose. Or it was just that I’m more sensitive to their bites. I could feel the bites on other people before they noticed it themselves.
There was a character in Jim Butcher’s Cold Case, Ramirez. He had fought in a war against vampires. Six months into the war, he was carrying pliers with him to take vampire teeth as trophies. I couldn’t fully understand why.
When I realised the itchy bumps on my legs were mosquito bites, I was filled with a sense of empathic sympathy and intuitive understanding*.
I needed a pair of pliers.
To take their wings as trophies.
(*Credits: the line was taken from Chapter 1 of Dead Beat by Jim Butcher)
I spent a whole night hunting and baiting and waiting for the little flying nuisance to come for me. I couldn’t concentrate on writing my story or keeping up with what Cumberbatch Sherlock was saying. He talked like a bullet train armed with a machine gun. It was much easier to hunt for a mosquito in my computer room before my dad moved his office in, turning it into a computer-office-cyber-cafe-room. He had every corner piled with his equipment, and they are all black. My laptop is black. His computer is black. The dust-specked printer is black. The equipment chests are solidly black. My backpack is almost black. His bags are mostly black. The shadows created by all those stuffs were, understandably, black.
So was the mosquito.
It took my excellent touch receptors, an over-greedy mosquito, and about five itchy bumps on my legs before I slapped it down. Then I examined the corpse. The mosquito was tiny and black.
The next day, I was clipping my fingernails, on the same chair in the same room. I hadn’t finished my first hand when I felt two itchy spots on my legs, and the mosquito was nowhere to be seen. I was livid. I nudged every possible hiding spot, swung the electric racket in the dark blindly, looked in every nook and cranny of the room. Then I went into baiting it out. Not one minute later, my very human brain zoned back into the computer. It was some time later when I saw a black dot zipping about at the horizon of a human’s range of vision. It was a huge one, by mosquito standards. My hand fumbled for the electric weapon positioned for easy drawing as the mosquito hovered about my left leg, even as I tried to keep myself as still as possible. But the press-button was a bit wonky, and by the time I heard the mellow hum of electrons running through the metal mesh, the tiny abomination flew under the table and disappeared. It didn’t show up in the next ten seconds.
I might have felt like Ramirez when he had pliers in hand but didn’t know where the vampire went, and what coincidence, both mosquitoes and vampires suck blood. I nudged at all of a mosquito’s possible hiding spot, nearly toppled a few stack of books on my desk, and gently kicked at the power strip beside my feet. My shoulders slumped in near defeat. Where could it have went? Surely it couldn’t have flown elsewhere into the house. That would be a disaster.
An idea crossed my mind then. I took my phone, turned on the flashlight, and shone the LED into the shadowed space under my desk. I didn’t notice it until I was at my third round. Lo and behold, there it was, resting on the seams where two blocks of metal joined together, right on the line. That was good camouflage. And it was just above the power strip, out of the way of the tangle of wires, where my gentle kick wouldn’t have bothered it the least, and where the electric racket wouldn’t be of any use in the cramped space.
Very carefully, I nudged the power strip away and positioned my hand. And then I R2-ed it. I checked my palm.
And – no body.
Pay attention. This is the point you have to be careful about, when you are in the mosquito hunting business, and especially when you’re reading a story or a comic or any fiction. Death with no body equals no death. Don’t be that supervillain who throws the hero off the cliff and consider it a job well done. No. You’ve got to send a team of choppers, K9, Navy Seals, Guerrilla army, GIs – but don’t give any of your mooks face-concealing headpieces – and you may even summon tentacled monsters if you can control them. Make sure the body is found. If it’s not, then your business isn’t yet finished. Odds are that the hero isn’t dead.
I found it twitching on the small of the floor. I nudged the power strip further away and aimed – because experience says a miss means a possible escape for your enemy – and squashed it flat.
It’s in two pieces. That’s how I know it’s killed off for real. I took a picture and disposed of the corpse.
It’s dead. You are sure of it, because this is the real world, and there are no time shenanigans to take care of.
I would kill another mosquito again the next day, out of pure luck, in the bathroom, when it flew past my vision very slowly and stayed to the white tiles on the wall. It doesn’t matter if it’s male or female. I won’t stop until I’ve proven my territory, until the words spread through mosquito-kind that my home is sure-death zone, until they are close to extinction. For all I know Agent Pleakley can cry his alien lungs out to a jar of mosquitoes, as long as he keep the mosquitoes in the jar forever.
Until then, I will be hunting them down. One by one.
Next: Super Mutant Ninja Mosquitoes: a Possible Consequence of Mosquito Hunting