"I was jus'... just mindin' my own business when it happened. Jus' sittin' in my rockin' chair and havin' a few beers, was all. Then everything went dark for a second, like...
night dark, at fucking 12:00 p.m. in the morn. You know how jarring that is?'
"Well, guess that's not... the worst that happened."
Hopper bit his lip.
"Naw, after it got real dark, the buzzin' started. Like a friggin' grinding gear, it sounded like, so many at once. So you know what I did? I... I sent Cindy out."
His voice trailed off midsentence as he took off his hat and pressed it against his chest.
"'Ol Cindy, the best damn friend there ever was. I jus' asked her to check it out, y'know, my beer belly was makin' it a little hard to get up. So she went down the stairs, an'... oh God..."
"They went straight for 'er. She barely had enough time to turn around with her eyes wide before the cloud surrounded her, ripped 'er to shreds.
She didn't even scream, that's how fast she was killed. That's how fast Cindy disappeared..."
He sobbed quietly, tears streaming through the dust on his face. "She didn't deserve that kinda fate... being torn apart by stupid insects...
there wasn't even bones or anything left on the ground, just a puddle 'o blood. An' I watched 'em flyin' away, little red-dimpled locusts who glinted in the sunlight.
Covered in blood, they were, with razor blades for jaws. Oh God, if I had just gone out there myself..."
"So I ran straight for the house and closed that door, slammed it shut, then I got some plywood outta the old basement an' hammered the windows.
I been livin' off nothin' but soup for two weeks now, and the buzzing still haven't stopped... I'm still haunted by Cindy's wide-eyed stare before the bugs got 'er. It's..."
"But I realized, a couple days ago. They didn't mean to kill 'er, they just hungry. Needed to take care of their young, don't ya know.
I would've done that in a heartbeat if it were for ol' Brandy."
He tossed back his head and laughed. "Guess that's why they laid their eggs in me, too. Y'know, it's kinda gratifying knowing that somethin' good is gonna come of this old lump."
He paused, something twitching in his face, and he slid the butcher knife out of the chopping block. "Yeah, nothing personal," he continued, "but I gotta feed my brood, don't I?"
Turns out, the locusts weren't the only things that were hungry for blood.