The boy stared with disbelief at the girl, afraid to even move. He’d never seen anyone more beautiful in his life. The pink hue of her skin. The roundness of her eyes. The way her feelers shivered in the wind. She was without a doubt the most beautiful girl in the whole wide world.
He walked toward her, trying to be cool and aloof. He practiced in his head what he was going to say to her. Hey, babe. Come here often? No, thats lame. Hello there, beautiful. No, thats even worse. Hi, wanna make a million babies with me? Idiot! Do you wanna sound like a creep? As he got closer, he began to panic. He was about to stand right in front of her, and he had nothing to say.
He was drawing a blank. Couldn’t think of a thing. C’mon, stupid! Think! Think!
“Hi…” he mutter weakly. To his horror, the girl turned to face him, clicking her mandibles together. She stroked her shear over her head in the sexiest way he’d ever seen a girl do.
“Yes?” she said. Her voice was like petals in the wind, light and soft, like the colors of her skin.
“Ehm…hi,” he said again, trying to get the words out. “I’m Gary. Hi. I’m Gary. I already told you that. Hi…”
“Hello, Gary,” she said in that wispy voice of hers. “I’m Adeline.”
“Wow,” the boy muttered, letting her name silently roll off his mandibles again, just to make sure he’d get it right. “I…ehm, I live in the rosebush over there. You from around here?”
“I live in those orchids over there. The best place to hide from the birds.”
“Yeah, I bet,” the boy muttered, looking at the orchids. They were nearly the exact same color as her, but not quite as beautiful. He’d never knew a mantis could even come in such radiant colors. She was amazing.
“Hey,” he muttered. “Did you catch the ladybug swarm the other day?”
“I did, actually. It was very beautiful.”
Not as beautiful as you, the boy nearly said. He was glad he didn’t, since that would’ve made him sound like a creeper. “Did you eat any of them?”
“A few. I wasn’t that hungry.”
“Yeah, they can fill you up,” the boy said meekly. He was getting nervous. She was losing interest, and if he didn’t make a move now, she’s jump off somewhere, never to be seen again. His mind made up, he mustered all the courage he could build, and went for it. “Do you…do you want to…maybe get a bite to eat sometimes? Maybe?”
“What do you mean?” the girl asked. “Like a date?”
“No, no! Not at all. No,” he laughed. “Maybe a little. Yes.”
“So wait, is it like a date or not?”
“Ehm,” he muttered, his six limbs shivering. “Yeah, like a date.”
“Oh,” the girl said. “Look, I’m flattered, and you seem like a really nice guy, but I can’t.”
“Oh. Okay,” the boy stammered, his voice quivering.
“I’m really sorry. It’s nothing personal. You seem like a really nice guy.”
“No, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it,” he said, trying his best not to sound upset.
“Really, it’s not you.”
“Yeah, I get it. It’s fine,” he said.
An awkward silence fell over them. He was thinking about slinking away and cry on the rosebush for a while, but his curiosity got the better of him.
“Can I ask why you can’t? Not trying to be pushy, but I just want to know if it was something I did.”
She clicked her mandibles again. “Really. It’s not you. I’m not ready to date just yet.”
“Oh? Why’s that?”
“I just got out of a serious relationship. Like, really intimate and serious. And I’m not up to jumping into another relationship just like that. Sorry.”
“Oh, no. I get that. I totally understand,” the boy said, trying to sound suave and not upset in the least. “But if you don’t mind me asking, why are you still hanging out and talking to me?”
“’Cause I’m hungry,” the girl said.
“Oh,” he muttered.
The girl grabbed the boy by his neck, holding him in a tight vice grip between her shears. She started with his head first, before moving onto his thorax, devouring the smaller mantis in the span of a few seconds. She did feel bad about how things ended up, as he didn’t seem like a bad guy. But the boy did fill her up.
Joachim Heijndermans writes, draws and paints nearly every waking hour. Originally from the Netherlands, he’s been all over the world, boring people by spouting random trivia. His work has been published with Fictionmagazines.com, OMNI, Kraxon, Stinger, 365 Tomorrows, Shotgun Honey, Gathering Storm Magazine and Every Day Fiction, along with an upcoming tale in Ares Magazine. In his spare time he paints, reads, travels and promises himself that he’ll finish writing that novel someday.