Until the Aye-aye by Ara Hone

If I called the authorities once, I called them dozens of times about the Aye-aye. Out in the jungle, the rising wind clacked the palms and rustled the vegetation, but the Aye-aye crouching on my porch ignored the dinner bell and instead fixed its tear-drop-shaped yellows on my wooden hideaway. The pesky primate extended its thin, middle finger and flipped me the big bird. I, a startled hermit, darted beneath a bamboo table, and the Aye-aye set to work on my outer wall.

With seemingly malicious abandon, the Aye-aye dug deep into my wall’s gaps, holes, little chinks, and crevices—to extract the grubs, or maybe the gunk. Scrapes and dull jabs reverberated throughout my hut. Tiny bits of palm thatch rained onto the packed dirt.

I had to stop its wild tear.

But Aye-ayes neared extinction. Harming it would be like hurting myself, both of us irreplaceable.

Yet, suppose my roof fell? I’d be trapped inside.

So I crept from beneath my bamboo haven and stretching my fingers, grazed an interior wall, which responded with a trebuchet’s smack of your days [kindergarten, middle school, high school, college], first girlfriend, your call to serve; a stranger’s knock as dawn’s eye pinked the skies; a flag shoe-horned into a triangular shape, presented by white-gloved hands.

Outside, a storm thrashed, and inside me, a squall raged. I gouged the hut’s wall to chase away my torment—too, my tormentor. The Aye-aye matched me dig for dig.

We tore and shredded, kicked and cursed. Blood poured from beneath my nails. The Aye-aye could not imprison me; I held both lock and key.

My fist exploded into the night, punching the little beast in its yellow snout, tumbling it tail over pointed ears. The Aye-aye scampered, chattering, into the jungle.

I kicked down what remained of my hut’s wall and emerged onto my porch—saved, not victorious—and accepted the shower of lemons dropping neon and sour into my life.

Ara Hone writes speculative fiction and contemporary literature. Before that, she climbed grain silos to admire sunsets, joined the military when it wasn’t cool, and survived a sales career. She adores TV and editing for Flash Fiction Magazine. Her best advice is drink coffee daily. She’s on Twitter @ara_hone

a row of bamboo

Photography by Franco Mariuzza

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