Flies of the Night

by Niyaza Mammootty
Art by Caroline Wang
Issue: Serein (Summer 2016)

Raindrops tumble down slowly from the sky, blanketing the streets in a fine white mist. Some, as they fall, catch the soft halo of moonlight from above and cast a faint spectral light on the unwary below.

You called for me?

The green taxi burns emerald in the dark, oblivious to its subdued surroundings. A white wisp trickles out from the lowered window accompanied by a gruff voice. The door creaks open and the car trembles under her gait as she forces herself inside its carpeted interior.

Thank you.


They drive off into the darkness, raindrops dancing in the headlights and she sitting motionlessly in the back. Hands rub together as the cold slips into the car from the open window. She shifts forward to close it and then she sees them.

Brilliant dots of light twinkle in the sky, etched into the dark pane of the night. Some tremble, flickering into existence. Others burn, scorching holes into the velvet black. All glow, dripping warm luminescence that entwines with the strong red of the taillights, the muted yellow of the street lamps, the soft caramel of the restaurants, the gold glitter of the fairies, and the white fire of a shooting star. All collect in the rain that slips off the car’s hood and pools onto the dark barren streets.

A swift breeze brushes against the water’s surface. The ripples shake the stillness of the surface, and shatter the reflection.

Hey. Don’t let the flies in.

The window slams shut and cold fingers clutch at empty air. The fireflies linger but the car shoots forward. Heading into the darkness, she leaves them behind.

The top of a taxi is shown, with flies buzzing above it. Lit streetlights line the right side of the road.