Author: Maria Brekke

Myrna zipped toward the city. A ten-ton mosquito pursued her, wings drumming annihilation. Colony security was rudimentary, but her kidnapping had raised insectile alarms.

She leaned hard across her hoverboard, praying her cargo was secure as she banked. The mosquito’s three-meter proboscis stabbed the air to her side.

Myrna straightened, ready to dive the other way, but, impossibly, the mosquito was waiting for her. It was a feint, she realized as the mosquito pierced her arm, dragging down her skin and opening a long gash. Blood sprayed across her face. Myrna wrenched her arm forward and pressed her hand into the wound as she ducked low on her board, inching ahead of the mosquito.

Three… Two… She sped through the gate. Robotic paddles lifted from the wall and splat! They flattened the mosquito.

The mayor strode forward. “Did you get it?”

Trying to ignore the pulsing in her arm, Myrna wiped primordial goop from her brow. They could bandage the gash, but it would be days before she showed signs of malaria-trifid, if the mosquito had been a carrier. By the time symptoms appeared, it would be too late. It’s already too late.

She pulled from her jacket a quivering firefly larva, canteen-sized. Once full-grown, it could power the city. The mayor snatched it, her fingers sinking into its moldable flesh. “You have the power to save us from the darkness,” she crooned. “And I’m going to ensure that you use it.”