Mosquitoes of the third world are no fun. While I’m no fan of the annoying mosquitoes from home, they are pretty harmless in comparison to their third world cousins. Third world mosquitoes carry all sorts of nasty diseases like malaria and dengue fever. On top of that, poorly designed cities often have many pools of still standing water and poorly designed open sewage streets that don’t drain properly. To make it worse for tourists, many people of the third world don’t seem to mind the mosquitoes all that much. Therefore many of the hotels and guesthouses don’t take the necessary steps to fortify their rooms with screens, traps, and mosquito nets.
I was getting annoyed with my guesthouse in Kochi, India. The mosquito screen that covered the main window had a bunch of tears in it, and every morning I would wake up with five or six new mosquito bites. I plugged all the tears with little pieces of toilet paper, but somehow the mosquitoes kept finding a way to get into my room. By the third day I couldn’t take it anymore. I was hesitant to leave, as the guesthouse was one of the top rated places online, but I had to be able to find something better. I checked with the front desk to see if the room was available for another night in case I needed a backup. They were fully booked. “Good,” I thought. “Necessity would force me to improve my situation.”
I packed my bags and ventured out onto the street. There was an international art show in town and the street was filled with people from all over the world. Unfortunately, so was every hotel and guesthouse. I went from place to place to check for rooms. Each one I checked was fully booked. I was getting near the end of the road with no luck, and I started to worry.
“I’m going to end up in some shithole,” I thought.
I saw the last guesthouse at the end of the street. It was missing a few shingles, and like everywhere else, it was closer than I’d preferred to the open sewage drainage that lined the city’s streets.
“This one’s a real winner,” I thought.
As I got closer I could see into the second floor. I saw large, elaborate murals painted along length of the walls.
“This is could be descent,” I thought. They must get a lot of tourists here if they have the money to hire someone to make such nice paintings.
I walked up to the gate. Right above it there was an old, tattered sign. I squinted hard and was just barely able to make out the faded letters:
“The Thirsty Mosquito Guesthouse”
“How funny,” I thought. They must know that foreigners are sick of run down, mosquito-infested guesthouses, and so they made a joke about it.
I walked up the staircase to the second floor. I walked past a comfy looking hammock and a quaint little hangout with pillow chairs overlooking the street. I went up to the mural on the wall and studied it. It was some of the nicest artwork I had seen in awhile. It had six foot tall paintings of Hindu gods demonstrating their powers in the Indian country side. There was Shiva shooting his bow, Ganesh dancing happily, and several minor Hindu gods showing off their mythical powers.
I walked up another staircase to the rooftop. It was another cool hangout that was complete with a bar and kitchen. On the far side there was another elaborate mural. I spotted two men that were going about the business of the guesthouse. They seemed to be doing mindless little tasks. They had zombie-like looks to them as they didn’t seem to have much to do.
Then a man came walking from the back room. He was fit guy wearing a sleeveless T-shirt. His fully shaven head hid the signs of his pre-mature balding and gave him a tough, but friendly, look. He seemed to be inspecting the bar. I could tell by his body language that he was the owner. I walked over to him to inquire about a room.
“How much for the night?” I asked. I really liked the place, and I didn’t have many other options. I was really hoping that he wasn’t aware of how limited the lodging was that night.
“700 rupees (14 USD) for non-A/C room, 900 (18 USD) for A/C room.”
“Ok,” I said. It was a pretty fair deal, especially since the place was so elaborate. “I’ll take the non-AC room.”
“Ok someone is in there right now. Come back in one hour.”
I usually like to look the room over, but I was confident that the amount of detail that was put into the common areas would assure that the room would be descent.
I left to go have a coconut by the bay, and about two hours later I wandered back. This time when I passed through the gate I encountered two scrappy looking dogs. One was young and one was old. The young one got up and started barking at me. It was holding its ground and foaming at the mouth. It seemed half retarded. I was pretty sure that its scrappy look, unwarranted aggression, and slobber coming out of its mouth meant that it had rabies. I gave it stern look and maintained a strong posture as I walked past it. I kept my guard up, but wasn’t too worried. I figured that if it bit every guest that walked by then they’d have gotten rid of it by now.
When I got to the base of the staircase the old dog was blocking my path as it was lying down across the third step. It was asleep and drooling heavily. It looked half dead. I was pretty sure this one definitely had rabies. I went to take a step over it. It sensed my motion and mindlessly snapped its jaws in the air. I jerked my foot back, dodging its teeth but catching a mist of rabies foam on my leg. It fell back in heap and passed out again. I’m pretty sure that in its deteriorating rabies brain it was chasing a nasty little rabbit. I motioned to step over to see if it would move again. It was fast asleep this time. I hopped over it and went up the steps to find the owner waiting at the top of the staircase.
“Is the room ready?” I asked.
“Yes follow me.”
He took me into the room and went over to the wall. He bent down and started fidgeting with old-looking, dusty device on the floor. I heard a few tapping sounds, and then all of a sudden:
The device slid about a foot across the floor. He was now holding ancient-looking cord in his hands. He had pulled it out of an even more ancient-looking power socket.
“You have non-A/C room,” he said as I realized that all “non-A/C room” meant was “A/C room with the A/C unit jacked out of the wall”.
I paid him, and he left the room. I took a look around. It had a bit of a musty smell, and the sheets on the bed were tattered. I went over to the cabinet and opened one of the doors.
I jumped back as a small creature ran past my head along the wall and hid behind the A/C unit. I stepped closer and saw a little gecko. It looked frightened but seemed accustomed to having guests.
“Roommate,” I thought.
I noticed a few mosquitoes hovering about the room, so I went over to the window. There were no screens at all.
“This place is crappier than I was expecting,” I thought, rubbing my forehead.
I tried my best to think like a mosquito. They would come in through the window and then go into the cabinets and the dark corners of the room to hide. I shut the window and then went over to the cabinet doors. They were clunky and didn’t shut all the way, but I shut them as far as they would go. Finally, I went over to the big sturdy door that separated the main room from the bathroom.
“Moment of truth,” I thought.
Indian bathrooms can be pretty atrocious in size and design. Often times, mosquitoes breed there because small pools of water accumulate on the floor. I was expecting to see about five or six mosquitoes in there.
I gave the main room about a “4 out of 10” and had low expectations going into this bathroom. I opened the door slowly and peeked in. The first thing I noticed was a small window. In line with the quality of the room there was no screen covering it.
The next thing I noticed was about a hundred mosquitoes drifting about the room. Five dollars and about ten minutes worth of effort was all that it would take to put up a small plastic screen over the window and turn this bathroom from a mosquito metropolis into a descent bathroom. I closed the door as quickly as I could and made my way back to the safety of the main room.
I paced around. I didn’t want to go in there, but I really needed a shower. I decided to risk it. The mosquitoes usually aren’t too much of a problem when you’re awake and moving. I just hoped no mosquitoes would try to take advantage of me while I was all nakey in the shower. I stripped down and went in.
The mosquitoes were mindlessly buzzing by me while I was showering, but they were alert that I would squash them if they got too close. Occasionally a brave or oblivious one would come near. I would swat it and then see it appear about ten feet away. It would be dazed and flying crookedly, but it would soon forget the incident and join the rest of the mob.
I grabbed the bar of soap and rubbed it between my hands so that there was a thin film of soap on each hand. I was getting ready to clean myself off when a mosquito landed on my neck. I went to smash it, but it got away. It appeared in front of my nose. It had violated me, but I figured that sending it sailing into the corner of the room would be punishment enough. I took my soapy hand and gave it a whack. I looked over toward the direction I sent it sailing, but I could not see it.
Mosquitoes usually have this stealthy ability to disappear before your eyes. You’ll be trying to time it just perfectly to catch one and then all of a sudden it’s gone. However, if you whack one out of the air without smooshing it, it is usually too shaken up to perform the vanishing maneuver. I was confused that I couldn’t find it, but I figured it had somehow managed to elude my gaze.
I went to go back to showering and then noticed a small dot on my hand. The mosquito I had just hit was stuck firmly to my palm. It was trapped in the thin coating of soap. It could barely move and was trying its best to wiggle it legs free under the weight of the soap.
I was in awe as another mosquito buzzed over my head. Out of instinct I reached up with my other soap-coated hand and hit it. I brought my hand back down and saw the mosquito immobilized in the soap coating. I saw two more coming in the window. I took a few steps over and swung my hand. They were instantly glued in my trap. I turned my hands over to see the four captured mosquitoes trying viciously to wiggle free.
I had caught them effortlessly. I could not believe what had happened. Before I had to sneak up carefully on a mosquito and get the timing just right to catch it in between my hands. Now I could simply touch them with a soapy hand and they were captured. I stood there, staring at my palms in awe. I felt like Spiderman when he first discovered he had super powers.
I soaped up again, and got into a fighting stance.
I swung my hands at the mosquitoes in ninja fashion. Side. Up. Side. Down. Each movement stuck another mosquito.
I swung about the room unit I had about fifteen mosquitoes glued to my hands. I extended both hands out as far as I could.
“Hooooochaaaaahhhhhh!” I yelled, as I clapped my hands together. In one swift motion I put the demonic creatures out of their misery.
I rinsed the fallen mosquitoes off under the faucet. It was a glorious victory, but I realized that continuing to fight would be a never-ending battle as there was an endless supply of mosquitoes coming in through the window. I turned the faucet off and grabbed my towel.
It was time for an early dinner. I went to leave the room, but looked back at the closed window. “It’s going to get really musty in here, so I better air it out,” I thought and opened the window. “I will get back before it gets dark and close it so the mosquitoes can’t get in.”
As I walked along the deck towards the exit I looked over the railing. There was a huge drum of still standing water that was being used to grow some kind of plant.
“This is just retarded,” I swore out loud. These people have their own damn mosquito farm.
I left for a quick dinner, and when I returned I found the old dog sleeping in the same spot on the staircase. I would have declared it dead except that it was twitching periodically and drooling steadily out of its mouth. By this time I had developed the technique to get over it. I batted on the railing.
It woke up from its rabies nightmare and let out a long groaning noise as it took a bite out of the air above its head. It collapsed back down in heap, and then I stepped over.
I went to my room for a quick second to put on mosquito repellent and grab my laptop. Then I went to the rooftop bar to chill out for a bit. It was starting to get dark, and a few mosquitoes buzzed by. They started to increase in number. They were buzzing around my head, but were keeping their distance because of the mosquito repellent. Then one landed on my arm.
“You can’t do that!” I yelled, thinking my arms were well sprayed. I swatted it away.
Then one landed on my other arm. I swatted it. Then two landed. Then one on my neck. “These mosquitoes must be pretty damn hungry!” I cursed.
I took my eyes away from the computer and looked around. To my horror the night air was writhing with little black insects. The sound was nauseating. The mosquitoes were swarming by the hundreds. I looked across the rooftop. The owner and the two workers were sitting motionless and cross legged in meditative positions. They didn’t have shirts on and were being swarmed by the mosquitoes. They didn’t seem bothered though. They just sat there gazing forward, unaffected by the hundreds of little bites that were being marked upon their bodies.
I didn’t know what to think about what I had just witnessed, but I didn’t have time to think much about it. The mosquitoes continued swarming me. There was no stopping them. No amount of spray would hold off their intense thirst for blood. They began swarming in groups, attacking me in formation. They were flying down my shirt, into my mouth, and up my nose. They flew into my ears and into my eyes. I was blinded. My whole body was being covered in bites. Tiny droplets of blood started to drip from the heavily bitten areas of my body.
The biting continued, and my senses became disoriented. Blood began to pour out of my ears and nose. I couldn’t take much more biting, if I lost any more blood I was going to pass out.
I had to run. I brushed the mosquitoes out of my eyes and got up. My room was the only safe place. I ran down the steps and saw the old dog at the far bottom near the gate. It was being viciously attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. It was half asleep and half groaning from the mosquito bites. It was alternating from bouts of sleep to violent rabies convulsions where it would snap it jaws swallow several dozen mosquitoes at a time.
The young dog was in a fury as well. It was pacing back and forth on the ground right below the old dog. It was barking and biting the air. Each second it received a new mosquito bite, and with each snap of its jaws it took out half a dozen mosquitoes.
For some reason the sight made me happy. Two of my enemies were battling and wearing each other down. I didn’t watch long though and went the rest of the way to my room. I slammed the door behind me. I laid down on the bed to catch my breath. I was safe, but I had lost a lot blood. I dozed off…
There was a mosquito in my ear! I came to conciousness and swatted it way. I moved my arm and three mosquitoes flew away. I looked at my other arm. There were five mosquitoes on it. I squashed three of them and the other two flew away. “What is going on? How are there so many in here?”
“The window!” I shouted. It was wide open. I had forgotten to close it when I came home.
I leapt out of my bed and made my way toward the open window. The mosquitoes saw where I was headed and flew in from both sides to block my path. They swarmed me and bit me furiously as I approached it. They knew that if they could keep me from closing the window for just a little bit longer there would be too many of them in the room for me to defeat them. With once last push I got to the window. A steady stream of battle-ready mosquitoes was coming in. I slammed it shut, catching three of them in the window pane.
I had stopped the inflow, but I was far from safe. There was a huge mosquito guarding the light switch. I launched itself at me in a vicious attack. I punched it right in the face.
I turned on the light, and saw over a thousand mosquitoes in the air. They were arranged into battle formation and preparing to attack. They all but blocked out the light. “There’s too many? What can I do?” I thought. It would be impossible to defeat them on my own.
It would even the odds. I would have to go into the bathroom to get it, and the bathroom was at least ten times more deadly than this room. However, fighting the mosquitoes with soaped up hands was my only chance of surviving the night. I went over to the bathroom door and began to push.
The weight was immense, and I heard a loud buzzing coming from the room. The door was being forced shut by the thousands of mosquitoes that were in there. I gave the door a hard jolt. It opened slightly and then slammed shut as several dozen mosquitoes escaped into the main room.
I had to get in there. I backed up and then ran full speed at the door. I hit it with my shoulder, and it began to open. I felt the mosquitoes push back harder as I strained against the door. I gave another strong push and then burst into the bathroom. The mosquitoes flew out of my way and let my momentum carry me to the floor. They sensed my vulnerability and pounced on me. I mustered up all my strength and rose to my feet. I was set upon by another thousand mosquitoes. They held my arms back as I fought my way to the sink. The mosquitoes were working together as if it they were controlled by one giant brain. I felt as if I was fighting one giant creature that was ten times my size. I pushed with all my strength and reached my arm forward. I grabbed for the sink.
Nothing. I had to try harder. I was pushing past my limit and wasn’t sure how much more I could take. The mosquitoes increased in intensity. They flew up my nose and down my mouth. They began biting me from inside my body.
I reached forward again. This time I had something. It was the sink! The soap had to be close by. I inched my hand forward felt the handle. I turned it on and felt a lukewarm stream of water.
The mosquitoes set upon my hand. They knew what I was going for. As I fumbled around I felt several hundred bites on my hand. It went numb.
Finally I had something. I barely had feeling in my hand, but I knew what it was. It was the soap! I used my last ounce of strength and began rubbing it between my hands. I lathered it on the front and back. I lathered it on my forearms and even the tips of my fingers. I finally had a thick coating. I was ready. “It’s payback time!”
I spun around and lashed out into the darkness. I felt dozens of tiny little pings on my hand. I swam my way toward the door. I opened and as I closed it another cloud of mosquitoes escaped into the main room. They flew up toward the ceiling and spread out like smoke. There were now several thousand mosquitoes permeating the room.
The cloud from the bathroom joined the main mass, and I watched as they adjusted their formation to accommodate the new recruits. They were preparing to attack. I readied myself and got into a fighting stance.
“Haaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!” I let out my battle roar. The front line charged me. I thrust my left hand forward and stuck ten mosquitoes. They were swept in by my new weapon. Before they would bounce off harmlessly. Now they were glued to my hand and rendered harmless.
“Tsssaaaahh!” I swung my right hand. Ten more mosquitoes were immobilized.
“Faaaahh!” I swung my left hand. Another ten down.
“Ho-chaaaaaaaaaaah!” I clapped my hands together to finish them off.
The second wave got into formation. They charged.
“Haatt-saaaahhh!, Ruumm-baaaahhhh, Aikaaahhhhh!!!!!” I swung both hands in a wild rage.
The mosquitoes were no match for my newfound power. I swung my hands one after another. Each swipe claimed a dozen more mosquitoes. They got into a line and made a dash toward my open mouth. I chomped my jaws and bit at them furiously, chewing their nasty little bodies apart.
I was fighting furiously, but I was bleeding from every inch of my body. I didn’t know how much longer I could go on, and there were still many more mosquitoes left. I kept swinging my hands. Everything started to become blurry.
“Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!” The sound resounded through the air. I fell to my knees as they swarmed my eyes and ears. Everything got dark. I closed my eyes… They had won…
I woke up late in the afternoon. I had slept for fourteen hours. I was covered in bites, and thousands of mosquito bodies lay piled up around the room.
“I survived,” I thought, “I must have rallied to finish them off, but lost too much blood to remember.”
It was time to get out of there. I packed my bags and left the room. I walked by the two workers on the way to the staircase. They had the same expressionless looks on their faces and didn’t seem to acknowledge me. They were wearing shirts now, but I could see bites all up along their necks and all over their faces. They were both holding brooms and seemed to be sweeping the same spot on the floor over and over again. I don’t think they even knew where they were.
I went up the staircase to the roof to find the owner. He was in the same position as the night before, and his body was covered in mosquito bites.
Before I could speak he opened his eyes. He seemed to sense my presence.
“I’m checking out,” I said.
He extended his hand without saying a word. I placed the key on his palm. He kept looking at me without making a single motion. He seemed to be looking right through me.
I turned and began to walk away. I looked back, “you might want to get a screen for that bathroom.”
He smiled and gave a nod. I continued down the steps. The young dog was nowhere to be found. I stepped over the old dog. It didn’t move at all. I think it was actually dead this time.
I passed through the gate and looked back. For the last time I looked upon the old worn out sign.
“The Thirsty Mosquito Guesthouse”
The once amusing letters were now menacing to me.
“I should have taken that as a sign to stay away,” I thought.
I walked away relieved, but I had so many questions. “Why were there no screens? Why did they have a tank of still standing water beneath the deck? Why did the owner and the workers just sit there while the mosquitoes swarmed them?”
Then it dawned on me.
This guesthouse wasn’t being run by people. It was being run by mosquitoes. They had somehow learned to fly into peoples’ ears and take control of their brains. This wasn’t just a neglected guesthouse that had become infested with mosquitoes – this was a mosquito training camp! They were breeding mosquitoes, and training them to take over peoples’ brains. Then, once in human form, they would start their own guesthouses. Unsuspecting people would come in as humans, and when they left, the mosquitoes would be in control.
I survived the night, but I no longer know if I am fully human. During the battle dozens of mosquitoes poured in through my ears, and I don’t know how much time I have before the mosquitoes fully take over my brain.
I know what to look for now. I know the signs. I will deliver a soapy destruction to every mosquito-infested guesthouse in my path.
They may get me soon… but for now… I’m coming for them.