This all started about a week ago when my wife sent me up to the attic to look for a box of old photos. As I was searching, my flashlight beam passed over something in the corner of the space. A dark mass, about as thick as a small tree trunk, with tendrils reaching out onto the floor and ceiling. My first thought was that it must be some kind of crazy black mold growth. I took a few steps towards it to get a better look, and that’s when I first saw movement.
I remember, when I was a kid, finding a giant ant mound in the woods behind my school. This was like that— the shifting of a million little creatures packed closely together.
Disgusted, I quickly backed away and left the attic. I told my wife we had some sort of insect infestation and resolved to call pest control later that evening.
The next day, two exterminators arrived, and I tried explaining to them what I’d seen. They shared a skeptical glance as I was describing the size of the mass but told me I could be dealing with a large beehive or perhaps termites. I showed them to the attic door, which was the hatch kind, with a dropdown ladder. They didn’t ask me to go up with them, which I found to be a relief because I didn’t want to look at the thing again. Just thinking about it made my skin crawl.
I stood at the base of the ladder for about ten minutes, until finally, they came back down. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an expression like the one the lead exterminator was wearing. He was white as a sheet, his eyes wide.
“Will you be able to take care of it?” I asked.
He had a thick south American accent; English clearly wasn’t his first language. “This is not for us,” he said simply.
“What exactly am I dealing with?”
He didn’t answer, just shook his head. I saw his coworker make the sign of the cross.
I was starting to get a bit annoyed. I asked: “Well, do you have any recommendations?”
He looked me dead in the eyes.
The two of them left quickly after that. I was stunned, but my surprise soon turned to anger. These guys were supposed to be professionals, weren’t they?
I decided I’d hire a different exterminator company. In the meantime, just to be safe, I checked my family into a hotel.
“Blaine’s Pest Control” advertised themselves as: “The Ultimate Vermin Annihilators” so I gave them a call and arranged a time for them to swing by our property. The day came, and went, and I didn’t get a call back from them. I decided I needed to go to the house.
When I arrived, a white van was parked in my driveway, with a green logo on the side that read: Blaine’s Pest Control.
I knocked on the front door of the house, before letting myself in with my key.
“Hello?” I called, as I stepped inside. No response.
I moved to the second story. The door to the attic was on the ceiling in the upstairs hallway, and I saw that it was open, the ladder fully extended.
I decided to check it out. I climbed the ladder, and when I reached the top, I took out my phone and turned on the flashlight app. There was no sign of anyone else there.
Once again, I saw the mass positioned in the corner, thick and black and squirmy. This time, curiosity got the best of me, and I decided I needed to have a closer look at it. I forced myself to move in, holding the light out as far in front of me as possible.
When I first saw the creatures up close, I thought they were spiders. That is until I took a couple more steps forward. I realized they looked more like tiny starfish, only with four tendril-like legs instead of five. They were jet black, with uniformly smooth bodies, each about the size of a quarter. They scurried over each other at a frantic pace.
I stared at them with horrified fascination. They were like nothing I’d ever seen before.
Then, suddenly, I heard a pop! Looking down, I found one of the creatures clinging to my shirt. I slapped it off immediately. Taking a step back, I pointed my phone light back onto the mass. I saw that the swarm had slowed its movement, some of them had even stopped.
Then I saw one jump.
There was this toy that kids used to have when I was in school— a small half-sphere made of rubber. You’d press it down against a hard surface, and when you released, it would spring up into the air.
The creature moved like that, flinging itself upward with an audible pop! Another one followed, then another. Before I could move, dozens of them were flying toward me, landing on my chest, arms, and face.
I threw myself backward, dropping my phone as I frantically slapped them away. I lost my footing and fell on my ass. Pop-pop-pop-pop, I heard them go. I scurried backward, blindly swatting at my skin. In my panic, I fell backward through the attic trapdoor, missing the ladder entirely and landing hard on my tailbone.
In the light of the hallway, I could see the creatures more clearly and was able to brush them all away. I watched as they scurried off in different directions, disappearing under doors and into crevices.
Just when I thought I was clean, I felt an intense stinging sensation on my neck, like someone pressing a power drill into my skin.
I grabbed at the spot, and pulled away one of the creatures, flinging it down the hallway.
I got to my feet shakily, quickly raising the ladder and slamming the attic door. I, nor anyone else, will be going up there ever again, I told myself.
I was heading for the staircase when something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. The door to my son’s room was slightly ajar, and I thought I saw a dark shape through the crack. Cautiously, I pushed the door open and looked inside.
As I’d feared, I saw another one of the hives. Like the one in the attic, it was positioned near the corner of the room. However, this one was smaller and looked… different.
It had a central, cylindrical trunk, with a pair of tendrils reaching out at the floor, and another pair higher up, against the wall. As well, there was an ovular bulb at the top.
It was oddly… human-shaped, I thought. Through the shifting of the starfish creatures (I stayed at a distance this time so I couldn’t make them out individually), I could see a white canvas beneath the swarm of black. I caught sight of a green logo, which looked suspiciously like that of “Blaine’s Pest Control.”
Needless to say, I got the hell out of that house.
Only two days later, it mysteriously burned to the ground. The police told us they couldn’t rule out arson.
If it was, I’m sure whoever was responsible was just trying to do the right thing. Hopefully, they were smart enough to buy their materials out of town, to pay all in cash, and to avoid any traffic cameras on their way to and from the scene of the crime.
Hopefully, they didn’t wake their wife as they crawled into bed that night, and hopefully, she didn’t pick up the faint smell of gasoline lingering on their skin the next morning.
Then that’s that, right?
The only thing is, I’ve had this itching sensation in my neck. There’s a welt there now too, about the size of a ping-pong ball. I’m going to go to the doctor tomorrow to have it checked out.