The Insect Tutor

I just had another creepy dream this morning. I was sitting on a worn brown sofa in the living room of my old house, next to a nearly seven-foot tall humanoid insect creature, which was similar to a character in one of my novels. It might even have been the same one.

 It was enormously expressive, with praying mantis and grasshopper-like attributes that somehow worked on the bipedal body shape. Its skin was a yellowish color like new parchment, and two black eyes glinted inquiringly in my direction. They were huge and bulging, and I could see myself in them, as though gazing into a tar pit.

Its wings were large as well, fuzzy and moth-like, adorned with intricate brown and beige patterns. Somehow this didn’t make sitting on the couch awkward at all. Dream logic. It was pointing with insistence—its “arms” ended in decidedly opposable finger-like graspers— to a text book in my lap, on top of which lay a piece of printer paper.

On the paper loomed math problems, dense and threatening. It was telling me in that curious trilling voice how to solve them, though I didn't understand. The insect is extremely intelligent, so to it this was child's play. And the way it loomed over me with those hungrily scissoring mandibles (how it spoke through them can be excused by another heaping spoonful of dream logic!) should have been terrifying, but as usual, no fear was there.

The open-floor-to-ceiling windows let in cascades of sunlight, and allowed any neighbors passing by to see in. If anyone had approached, they would have seen their teenage neighbor calmly discussing math with this monstrous insect. And they probably would have screamed bloody murder and called the cops, or their shrinks.

Though all of this was infinitely strange, I just kept asking the thing, "what does this mean?" Seriously, folks, I suck at math, and barely mastered it to get by. And apparently my dream-self was filled with anguish at this cold truth. I started crying, of all things. It wasn't blatant, hysterical sobbing, mind you, just a quiet, frustrated weeping that was still out of context considering the circumstances. Or maybe I was just reacting to the insect's mind-numbing stare. Did I mention it’s a mind reader?

But this is where it gets plain freakish. The creature just leaned close, and a long, pale, fleshy proboscis slid out from between its mandibles and snaked towards my face. It started to sip at the tears with a disturbing sucking noise as they trickled down my cheeks. The two twitching feelers that sat atop its head lowered and brushed against my throat.  

You know those moments in a dream where it’s so disquieting and awkward that you just sit there and stare and don't say anything? Well, yeah...this was like that. And the whole time I was forgetting that this wasn’t exactly how their species feeds. They actually puncture flesh with a toothy sucker on the end of the proboscis, inject an enzyme that dissolves inner organs, and suck out the resulting milkshake until prey is completely drained. Yes, that's disturbing, but it wasn't MY idea. Mother Nature started it. Seriously.

 The whole time this was going on, it was suggesting with eerie casualness that I should get back to my studies. Strict tutor. What had my family been thinking when they hired this creep? Lol. I still tried to solve the problems, but was still completely stumped. The black lettering on the paper looked like the symbols of some alien language.

 Maybe it was. I recognized a few numbers arranged in a similar problem fashion, but it seemed totally illogical now.

 Time warp. Now we were standing in the hallway next to the front door. The bug was admonishing me again in that high keening tone, and then in a lower, smoother timbre, then it reached out with one hand, grasped my chin, and used the other to peel my lower left eyelid open, exposing the red skin beneath.

"You'll never succeed in life if you don't conquer this mental block," it chittered, and proceeded to drink the remaining tears that clung next to my eyeball. The sensation was way too real; a prickly tingling feeling that sent weird vibrations through my skull as it talked. This lasted for a few paralytic seconds and then I started to scream, "get away! Get away right now!"

I pushed violently away from it. Then I woke up with a start, not afraid, just perplexed and mildly unnerved.

What the hell was that about?

Did you know that there's really a species of moth that gains sustenance from tears? Did you know that my math teacher had a glare designed specifically for me? Bingo! How does all this fit into my twisted little mind? No clue, but I know one thing for certain.

Bugs scare me. :O


The End

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