It had been a quiet enough day, though I was nonetheless tired. Sleepily, I plodded up to my room, and the creaking of the staircase made up the final sighs of the evening. Sat on the bed, I removed my shoes, and then took some socks off that I’d been wearing for 3 days straight. I then smelled the socks, out of curiosity, since it’s not so often that I wear socks for 3 days straight and I couldn’t help but wonder what they would smell like. They weren’t too bad. Not too bad to me at least.
But somewhere, lurking in Milan’s darkest shadows, something had caught whiff of a smell oh so divine. Something, or should I perhaps say ‘some things’, for if they had only been one I would probably not be writing this very tale. And these things begun to migrate to my room, slinking in the shadows, they drew slowly with purpose, they never sped up, nor slowed, and their consistency added an inevitably to their desire. They, the zanzare, arrived. The floating syringes of the night, hungry for blood, invited to dine by old socks.
They, the gigantic Italian zanzare, with their ominously pitched hum, had found my chamber of rest, intent on disturbing my once peaceful evening. One of their wings vibrated the air in my ear, my ear drum then hummed like their wing, my brain then registered that one must sudden be near me, and my hand instinctively slapped myself on the side of the head. A futile maneuver if ever there was one. But the slap brought with it a frantic realisation, and now sudden alert to the danger of a night spent in a room of mosquitos, I bolted up from my bed and sprang to the open window, praying that by the time I’d closed it the room would not already be infested with the needle heads. But it was too late. Not too late because the room was already crawling with zanzare, but too late because I reached the window and remembered that it was broken and didn’t close. It seemed that my new winged accomplices and I were in it together for the long haul.
I jumped back into bed, and I pulled the sheet up over my neck so that only my face were exposed to the creatures of the night air. This clearly confounded these beasts, who kept their distance as I managed to sleep for the next few hours, only being disturbed by infrequent hummings. But the zanzare grew restless. The zanzare grew hungry. One so much so in particular that after some buzzing he landed upon my eye brow and I pulverised him immediately. This clearly angered his comrades who had been floating in unknown numbers, so far biding their time, but now it appeared had played their part as observers for long enough. My ear pricked to a now constant humming, which would keep growing louder and fading, sounding that excruciating tone which sent shivers down my spine and could send an open palm slap towards my ear. So I pulled the sheet over my head as well, and wrapped myself round in it. But the humming continued. How were they getting in? Or were they just humming right next to my head, taunting me from outside the sheet? Wherever they were, they seemed too close. Every few seconds another rising and fading tone, I’d roll myself again around in the sheet, this time more tight, but their noises never went away. This continued for what seemed like hours, and I started to despair. I needed to be awake at 8 to go to a new job, I needed sleep and like this I wasn’t going to get any.
I walked to the bathroom and splashed my face with some water. Pondering upon the predicament I’d found myself in, there unfortunately seemed only one solution. But surely not, you could never do it, I thought. But what other option did I have? I would never sleep if I could keep hearing them every few seconds, and it was too late in the night to begin a full scaled mosquito hunt. The question became what was worse; their bark or their bite? I decided their bark. Thus I took a deep breath, resigned to defeat by those that are one thousandth my size, and I returned to my bed and rid myself of my formerly protective sheet, offering my entire and exposed body to the drooling zanzare. I tied a shirt around my ears so I could no longer hear them, and I tried not to imagine them flocking down from the darkness, infesting every inch of my body, drinking my blood. But they were drinking my blood, and every slight itch I felt I imagined was due to another needle landing, swooping down from the night, frenzying in this satanic buffet. I’d never felt more naked than those moments, I’d never felt so much at something’s mercy.
Without being able to hear them, I was however able to forget them and I fell asleep soon enough. But at some cost. I woke up the next day with no less than 27 mosquito bites, and to this day (two days later at time of writing), I still hear their hum even when they are not there. They, those syringes of the night. They, the zanzare.