November 12, 2014: Horn Island Castaway

It’s just under 50 degrees in Mississippi.
The wind from the water feels strangely warm, almost sickening like the Gulf of Mexico has a fever.

A call came through the offices about a sudden outbreak of a strange virus in Pascagoula and Gautier.
I’m standing on a dock just off of Belle Fontaine Point, waiting for a boat, along with members of the CDC and military.
On the beach, half in the water, is a decaying carcass of what looks like a giant moth.

That’s why you’re here, I bet. No other press wants to get close to these things. They’d rather just cover it from press conference later today.

We cross the water to Horn Island.

There is only one road on this island. It leads to three buildings then on to the other side.
The trees are burning. Beyond the road I can see giant insects – flies, moths, what looks like a mosquito – lying dead on the ground.

They test biochemical agents here. Usually on insects. Once on guinea pigs. Maybe humans in the 50’s.

Gunfire. Another giant bug is coming towards the jeep.
The four military personnel with us quickly take down the bug and begin burning the body.
The smell is horrible.

Horn Island is infested with these giant creatures. The scientists have locked themselves in the lab and are waiting for the military to extract them.

The largest building bursts into flames.

On the South side of the island, soldiers are trying to keep the bugs from leaving and getting to the Breton Wildlife Refuge at the tip of Louisiana.

Flamethrowers light-up the morning fog.
More giant insects appear from across the island. Giant moths and flies circle us, their wings kicking up dust.

The soldiers call us back to the jeep, firing at the flying bugs.
We weren’t able to save the scientists.

We reach the boat and speed off from the island.
I hear a jet.
There’s a flash of light and I’m almost knocked overboard.

It’s the only thing they could do. Who knows how many more of those bugs were on the island. You just take your losses and destroy the whole thing, hoping nothing survives.

There’s a quiet hum and as we land back on the Mississippi mainland, I think I see something fly out of the smoke and fire towards the horizon.


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