Read: To Be a Fly on the Wall by Alex Padgett

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Flying is magical, really. To feel the wind in your wings as you soar to and fro is simply majestic. I may even suggest, if it isn’t too narcissistic, that any creature with that glorious ability is an angel of sorts, blessed with a gift. And so I am the most glorious creature of all, named after this incredible talent. That’s right, human. I am a Fly (please hold your applause).

I know what you’re thinking. “You must have such exciting stories to tell of your adventures, Fly!” And you’d be right. My everyday life consists of dodging deadly obstacles, breaking in through minuscule gaps and defeating powerful opponents. In fact, I was engaged in conflict just a few minutes ago, in a battle that shall surely change my life forever! Allow me to tell you the tale.

I was on my way a place so interesting and wondrous I can’t even name it (believe me though, mortal, it exists) when suddenly I found myself immobilised. Somehow I had flown into the trap of my greatest foe: the Spider. It is a sign of how cunning they are that they were able to catch someone like me so well. It was an off-day. Anyway, the monstrous beast let me struggle for what must have been hours before returning from whatever evil activities it had been participating in. I closed my eyes (because of its ugliness) and let out a war cry (not a scream) as it approached. This would surely be the end!

Except it wasn’t. Because within seconds, the creature was slain and the trap was destroyed. Let me introduce my saviour to you all: the hero’s name is Dave. He and I had been housemates for a while – almost a whole week – but now… how would I ever repay him? The great man barely paused for breath before walking away, muttering: “blasted things.” My new best friend was talking to me! I flew after him, offering words of agreement and listening to his infrequent statements.

“I can’t believe this.”
“Should probably get that done today.”
“Wonder whats in the fridge.”
Sometimes he just laughed at his luminescent rectangle. I was, and still am, pretty sure he was crazy, but it didn’t matter. He had saved my life! I vowed that I would find a way to protect my honour and my reputation, and make us even.

And that’s what I’m doing now, staying by Dave’s side, ready in case he is suddenly attacked and needs my assistance. I think that the Big Rectangle he is constantly engaged with may be a very advanced monster in itself, as his frustration is always directed at it. This is a fascinating discovery.

He is now hitting the Big Rectangle with the tips of his fingers, presumably in battle with the beast. At last! Something I can help with! I whiz around his blows expertly and begin slamming my weight into the creature, bravely sacrificing myself for the fight. After a while, Dave gives a mighty war cry to rival my own (well, nearly) and sends the Bog Rectangle crashing to the floor – towards me, who escapes with finesse – before walking off angrily. I realise he is probably still just worked up from battle, and I follow on. Even if the debt has been repaid, he is still my friend, after all.

I can’t believe it! Dave has done the unthinkable! After I worked so hard to make us even, he goes and makes me food after battle. How dare he? The luscious green leaves of his kindness feel like a betrayal: how will I repay him when he keeps being so virtuous? I land reluctantly on the bush-in-a-bowl, wanting to be polite, and start to nibble on the greenery. Before I can even swallow, however, I am swatted away by Dave’s massive hand. Was the bush not for me? Oh, woe! I have put myself in debt once more for my own assumptions! I must show my friend how sorry I am, but how?

Tragically, even though I linger around Dave and never leave his side for what has to be years after the incident, there has never been a battle yet, strangely. Surely my hero would always be in the middle of conflict, with villains and enemies everywhere! But it’s starting to seem like he is hated by no one and loved by all. Which, I suppose, makes sense. The man is even greater than myself!

Oh no! Help! The world is ending! Dave is overcome by violent spasms, bending him over, watering his eyes and causing liquid to shoot from his mouth. He seemed desperate to eject something from his nose, using paper to catch it. Finally, I understand what is wrong. There must be a small monster inside his nose holes! This will be an easy battle. Eager to help, I wait for an opening before zipping inside one of the holes to launch an attack on the beast.

Before long, I realise it must either be invisible or deeper inside, as I can’t see anything once within. I also have to battle against the strong winds trying to expel me from the battlefield – Dave is not being very helpful at all – and the fact that the tunnel seems to be narrowing. Minutes pass and I realise my strong frame and majestic wings mean I can’t go any further, and that’s not all: I appear to be stuck. I decide to forget the monster in light of this greater danger. What if I run out of oxygen in this cramped space?

Luckily, I don’t have to wiggle and flap for long before Dave’s gales set me free and I shoot out of his nose hole. I am saved yet again! Now I realise that Dave was trying to save me from getting trapped, not hinder me. What a- oh. What is happening? It feels like Dave just… but that can’t be right. Why would he want to hurt me? We’re friends, aren’t we? But friends aren’t meant to hit friends out of the sky, and- oh.

He has struck me again, and this time he has crushed my wings and my lower half. But why? The pain is unimaginable, and I’m sure I must be dying and yet nothing compares to the sheer sense of betrayal. As Dave turns and walks away nonchalantly, I realise that he has been the real monster all along. Which means.. was he never my friend to begin with? Some part of me is screaming that my last words are important, that I should say something wise and inspirational like all of the greatest do. But all I can manage is: “Dave?”