Home » 52Weeks, Featured, General, Headline, Miscellania, Promos

36 of 52 Weeks – A TMFFC Mystery

10 September 2013 No Comment

On Friday, Chuck Wendig posted another Flash Fiction Challenge, giving us a link to several images of, and an article about, a weird construct found in South America. The Wired article is linked here.

My first thought was Maypole. Which led to… and yeah. This.

They’ve Been Here All Along
by Jodi Lee
© 2013 All Rights Reserved
Terrible Minds Flash Fiction Challenge – WTF Is This Thing?

In 2013 the first egg sacks were found. Almost imperceptible and deftly hidden, it was by sheer luck that the researcher stumbled over it. Since the day the images first hit the Internet, the images have become almost iconic for the mystery that was, and perhaps still is, the Maypole Fly.

It took two years to successfully harvest an egg sack for research. The structure, consisting of 30 ‘posts’ surrounding the sack, the sack and the pole above it, was placed in a climate controlled room in the Entomology lab of the Smithsonian Museum, where Dr. Vicram Mysnar headed up the project. Cameras, both still and video, captured every moment of the study, right down to the surprising and terrifying end.

Dr. Mysnar and two interns were the only people left in the lab on the 21st of June 2015. They were attending to a secondary project when the alarm went off, signalling movement within the main lab. They rushed to the project, and were stunned to see thirteen small creatures emerge from the egg sack – creatures that bore a striking resemblance to humans.

The Maypole Fly has four extremities, and large bi-wings that begin to appear after thirty days. Their bodies are mostly smooth, with fur on the top of the head in several shades of red. The only indication of sex is marked by growths developing after sixty days. The males grew gonad sacs; the females developed what can only be referred to as breasts.

It is to be noted that the only food source in the room was the salvaged trunk and root ball of the oak tree the structure was found on. Water was provided via a tube and bowl.

During their first thirty days, the Maypole flies created a larger version of the fenced egg sack, with the center containing a housing structure much like that of the European Honey Fly – a hive – surrounding a female noted as the ‘queen.’

Of the eight female flies, only the queen was sexually active with the males. The fenced egg sack was not reproduced; the queen bore two young in a live birth 120 days after exiting the egg sack. Within six hours of their birth, the queen turned over care of the young to another female, then chose one of the males to accompany her away from their living structure. The chosen male tended to the dying queen for three days; immediately following her death, he consumed her body. The male constructed a fenced egg sack (empty) over her death place, and then returned to the hive.

The two young grew rapidly, far out-sizing their parents within the first thirty days. By the time their growth cycle had completed (120 days), they were two feet in height, their wings spanning five feet, one male, and one female. Dr. Mysnar had them separated from the original group, and new food sources were introduced. They thrived on field greens, flowers and berries.

Six months after their birth, the offspring began drawing on paper provided by the staff. They learned quickly how to mark the paper with pencils, and within a week had drawn an elaborate star chart. Dr. Mysnar reported this finding to the appropriate authorities, which took custody of the offspring and removed them from the Smithsonian premises. Dr. Mysnar reports that he has had no further contact with them or the government body in charge, and has returned to studying the hive.

The remaining twelve Maypole flies had since chosen a second queen, who then lay at least thirteen eggs inside the sack created following the consumption of the first queen. This second queen died on returning to the hive, and was consumed by the remaining flies. One by one, the rest died; the last – the male who consumed the original queen – died exactly a year after hatching.

It is now 2019, and we believe the second sack will hatch any day now. Whereabouts of the two live-birth offspring are still unknown. Will the events of the first hive repeat themselves? Will there be a second live birth? That remains to be seen, and we certainly hope to be witness this time round.

Hope you enjoyed the story…
<3 JL

Check out Terrible Mind blog owner Chuck Wendig’s Under the Empyrean Sky!

Comments are closed.