This Week's Friday Flash is brought to you by low oxygen levels and codeine.
The old man leaned into the grey light.
"Yes'm. I seen 'em. I seen 'em many a time before. Dark corners, trail of black dust, like soot from the furnaces of Hell. That's them alright. I've fought them buggers for nigh on fifty years now, seen em smaller than a pinhead, and big as a dinner roll. They're a scourge on humanity and foul everything they touch. I've carried my weapons of duty to fight the good fight against their blight.
"But there's one as yet, I haven't squared with. You hear tales on the long nights when the old men sip their Rob Roys and tell tall stories. They all ran against him and lived to tell the tale. They were the lucky ones, and they say that none have ever faced him and come away whole – not entirely whole anyway – in the soul, ye see, ma'am.
"I crossed his path myself, when I was too young and carefree. They call hims Bingodangogumfree which in the old Indian tongue means 'one-eyed bastard'. When the settlers came to this land he was given the name 'Blinky', but there's still some among us think that names don't mean nothing. They say that he's Old Nick himself, walkin' the earth.
"Now when I seen him, it was dusk, I was in the old Mason house – don't look for it now, they tore it down years ago. I remember walking the floors, armed with my poisons and I heard a scuttling sound. "Skutter-skutter" it went – "skutter-skutter" like something with more legs than good intentions. I could feel the foul musty air press against me and I was too terrified to move. I could only stand with my feet stuck to the floor like tree-roots as I saw the huge creature shamble across the floor.
"He was bigger'n my Great Dane, Rufus – coulda swallowed him whole, and the sickly yaller moon shone on his greasy brown carapace. He stood up on his spindly legs, his great rotten body turned towards me with his one beady eye and an unearthly "chitter-chitter" noise came from his monstrous head. How I survived, I don't know. I coudln't move for fainting and the beast had me to rights, but he let me live. He only looked at me and turned away as if to say, 'not yet, boy. Your time ain't come yet.' He and I knew it would only be a matter of time before we would tangle again and it would be a battle for the ages.
"I never saw him again, but I will. Someday I will meet Blinky again. He'll kill me, or I'll kill him and we'll shake the very heavens with our struggle. Count on it, ma'am."
"Yeah," I said, eventually. "We'll I think most of the roaches are under the washing machine. See what you can do okay?"
"I will, ma'am. It'll be safe to come back in the three hours. I'll mail the bill to you."
"Uh-huh." I picked up my purse in a daze and dragged my kids to the car. "This is the last time I let your dad pick the cheapest exterminator in the phone book," I told them.