ESFJ Bunkerdragon

"Snug as a bullet in a chamber."

  • Charm: Extreme
  • Adaptability: Needs development
  • Planning: Amazing
  • Survival Preparations: Elite
  • Wealth: Top 10%
  • Weapons Skill: Rolling pin rage, vampiric bloodlust
  • Intelligence: Logistical
  • Warm Fuzzies: MmmMM!
  • Leadership: Average
  • Mutation: Dragonbat

The Bunker Dwellers

Like all Guardians, the ESFJs will hunker down in their basements, bunkers, and bomb shelters when the apocalypse hits.  But the ESFJ bunker experience will be very different from that of other types.

Other types: "I wish this army cot was more comfortable."

ESFJs: "I see the cat has gotten its hairs all over my nice down comforter again."

Other types: "Today is day number one hundred and twenty-one of eating spam."

ESFJs: "Aww, this cookie has all brown M & Ms."

Other types: "Judging by the scratches on the wall, we're coming up on Christmas."

ESFJs: "Oh drat, there's a dead bulb in this string of lights."

Other type: "Let’s count the cracks in the wall again!"

ESFJs: "Bingo!"

ESFJ bunkers are the most cozy, comfortable, and welcoming of all.  Fortunately for humanity, there are plenty of ESFJs to go around.  As kind-hearted Extraverts, they enjoy company and will welcome less prepared types into their hidey-holes.  The group will amuse themselves with Bingo, Hearts, Bridge, and crossword puzzles.  The main hardship that ESFJs will face during the bunkering down period is making sure that there are enough marshmallows in the guests' hot chocolate.

Life Underground

After the nuclear winter is over, ESFJs will have two choices.  First they can stay on the surface.  Second, they can opt to retreat to an underground city as described in the Guardian Survival Overview.    Unsurprisingly, the bunker-dwelling ESFJs will be among the Guardians most likely choose the second option.  They will enjoy a peaceful, predictable existence underground, free of the worries that plague aboveground ESFJs.  (Mostly, anyway.)

As the subterranean civilization goes through its initial birth throes, a caste and guild system will be set in place and ESFJs will be assigned to work in the service sector of the economy as part of the Nurturing Caste.  These friendly people will manage all stores and service-oriented industries.  They will teach the young, run earthquake drills, and provide social services to the needy.  Each function will be handled by a different guild, i.e. the Teaching Guild, the Home Front Defense Guild, the Dragonbat Minder Guild, etc.  With their exceptional people skills and their caring attention to the needs of others, ESFJs will form one of the four pillars of the new underground humanity.

Oddly, there will still be a need for bunkers in the underground city.  Due to earthquakes and an unstable ceiling produced by hasty engineering, families will need to be able to retreat to safe harbor in case of falling stones.  Here again, many ESFJs will reason, "Instead of hewing out stone bricks and building a house with them, why don't we just dig simple, ready-to-use caves?"

Although the idea sounds good in practice, it will turn out that nobody really wants to live in a cave because it gives people no opportunity to show up the Joneses.  After awhile, only the poor will live in true caves.  Instead, most families will have a freestanding house with a storage room or game room in the (rather luxurious) basement.

One of the most important duties of the subterranean ESFJs is to care for the Cavern’s dragonbat colony.  Since the bats' domestication thousands of years ago, the creatures form an important of Guardian society.  They take commuters to work and children to school.  They keep the oorrg and darkshrew populations under control through hunting.  They are even used to execute wrongdoers who break the Sacred Operating Procedures Manual.  (This is the especial duty of the holy white dragonbats, the very avatars of the gods.) 

ESFJs enjoy their job of keeping the dragonbats happy and healthy.  They diligently make sure that each one of their charges gets enough prey, and if a dragonbat is sick they will tenderly nurse it back to health.  The ESFJs will even bottle-feed the baby bats to give the hard-working dragonbat mothers a break.  Nor do these friendly extraverts shirk the dirty but necessary tasks, such as job of collecting the bat guano for fertilizer.  They work together in teams to accomplish the yearly harvest, then have a party afterward. 

When the dragonbats are old enough to be trained, the ESFJs are there to teach them all they need to know to fly about the Cavern in a safe, lawful manner.  The Bunkerdragons make patient, encouraging teachers and excellent driver’s ed instructors. 

As described in the Guardian Survival Overview, many ESFJs will form psychic bonds with a dragonbat partner.  Each year a new crop of initiates will be inducted into the Dragonbat Rider Guild.  These ESFJs will be taught to communicate with their dragonbat through the psychic link and how to manage the various items of tack and harness that are necessary for riding. 

Although the new initiates are excited by the experienced riders’ descriptions of the sublime glory of flight, the intimate sharing between bondmates, and the exciting adventure of fighting shriekowls and darkshrews, the first question that inevitably gets asked is, “So how do you deal with the…cravings?” 

Dragonbats are, after all, mutant vampire bats.  When they crave blood, so do their psychically bonded riders.  For this reason, ESFJs are often referred to as “the vampire type.”  But ESFJs only seldom drink blood right from the source.  Instead, they sate their thirst with bottles of blood donated at the weekly drive, as is only proper for civilized folk.  They also make blood sausage, blood cakes, blood soup, and blood on a stick; an ESFJ knows dozens of ways to prepare the red nectar.  In fact, the Dragonbat Riders Guild puts out its own recipe book, the “Little Red Book,” as it is jokingly called.  The dragonbats in particular appreciate their bondmate’s skill in this all-important area.  It can get boring drinking blood raw all the time, so some coagulated blood cakes sprinkled with parsley make for a nice change.  Because of the ESFJ's gracious, considerate reputation, Cave Four is perhaps the only place on earth where vampires are respected citizens.

Nonetheless, in the heat of battle ESFJs will sometimes lose control.  And when the sweet, hot, taste is on their tongue, there is no stopping the lust to feed.  Mostly though, ESFJ vampires are kind-hearted, decent souls, and they always have a bowl of candy on their desks. 

Life on the Surface

And what of the ESFJs who choose to remain on the surface?  It comes as no surprise that many will decide to simply live in their bunkers permanently, with periodic trips above ground to sweep off the solar panels.  The bunker will become a subterranean house much like the ESFJ's former home.  Guests will climb down the ladder and exclaim,

"What a beautiful bomb shelter!"

The ESFJ smiles proudly.  "I found the design in a Martha Stewart magazine."

"What an adorable sofa!"

However, some ESFJs will decide that they really can't live in a house without windows and will return to the land of light, fresh air, and zombies to build a new home.  These brave souls will roll up their sleeves and face untold terrors with the same stolid courage as Rosie the Riveter.  But they will not abandon their bunkers completely—rather, they will turn them into the basement of their new home. 

ESFJs’ homes will often become a sort of way station for travelling parties, since the bunker offers safety and comfort.  With their love of taking care of people, ESFJs make natural hosts. 
The best bunkers will become known on the travel routes, and survivors will map out their zombie escape plan from bunker to bunker.  It will be a relief for tired escapees to put themselves into the ESFJ’s care. 

Of course, it is never a good idea to be too trusting.  Remember the old adage: if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.  If on a dark, stormy night, you should stumble upon a cheerfully lit house where a friendly ESFJ welcomes you in and offers you a steaming plate of tuna casserole fresh out of the oven, ask yourself—“If those jars of corned beef in the basement could talk, what tales would they tell?”

But by and large ESFJs are trustworthy souls. 

As Party Members

Sometimes it will not be possible for ESFJs to stay in their bomb shelter—i.e. flooding, mold or very determined monsters.  In that case they will take as much food and equipment as they can stuff into a bug-out bag and set out to join a party.  Next stop: the Clear Zone. 

No party will refuse a member with so much food on them.  This is where ESFJs can make a mistake: in their haste to find the belonging and safety that comes with membership in a good party, they may settle for a second-best choice.  It is better to shop around a bit first, look at the groups available, and choose the one that fits your style.  The best party for you is one that has a strong, responsible leader with a clear-cut travel plan.  It can be very frustrated for ESFJs when a party leader meanders aimlessly or spends a lot of time pursuing side quests.  ESFJs prefer to head straight where they’re going without wasting time. 

When the ESFJ has signed up with a good party, they will set about doing what they do best—knitting the party members into a real team.  They quickly learn everything about their fellow survivors, and can tell you the name and favored kind of MRE of every person in the group.  Often the ESFJ will end up as the unofficial meeter-and-greeter, welcoming new team members and ensuring that they have the food and clothing they need.  Warm and welcoming, they make everyone feel right at home. 

ESFJs gravitate naturally towards the practical day-to-day work of running a camp—gathering wood, cooking meals, cleaning game and helping to fortify the nightly resting place.  The team appreciates having someone responsible who can be relied upon to do the job right every time.  Team leaders are particularly grateful for their ESFJ party members because the Bunkerdragons have common sense and can be trusted not to waste supplies or pull dumb stunts.  Many a time, the team leader will reflect what a relief it is to have at least one party member who follows the rules and asks permission before going off to hunt mutations.  The ESFJ will clean their catch too, instead of just dumping it on the ground and expecting someone else to do it. 

Eager to keep the group’s morale up, the ESFJs will do their best to maintain the little celebrations that remind us of our past and urge us to hope for a brighter future.  On Christmas they will somehow magically produce a four course meal consisting of three different kinds of mutations and a spam pudding.  Then, after the party has been completely stuffed, the ESFJ will produce the crown jewel: a grape pie.  (So named for the grape-flavored kool-aid which gives the pie its flavor.  As for the rest of the ingredients, don’t ask, just eat.)  When the meal is over, the ESFJ will produce a little present for everyone, each package lovingly wrapped up in colorful soup can labels.  The group will sing Christmas carols, and the eyes of hardened survivors will be wet with tears. 

It is the ESFJ, too, who will celebrate the milestones that mark the group’s progress: the anniversary of their first year together, the 100th zombie killed, the way the group totally wiped out those bandits.  Their efforts give the group a sense of achievement and purpose. 

But perhaps the most important thing that an ESFJ does for their group is to remind them of their own humanity.  The difficult struggle for life quickly strips away any illusions that survivors might have about themselves, and sometimes the result isn’t pretty.  It is the ESFJs who counsel us to lead good lives even when it is difficult.  As the group’s moral compass, they keep our darker natures in check and encourage us to remember the selves we were Before. 

Life Goes On

You and your ISFJ husband are a rare team.  He is the ultimate pack rat, while you are the ultimate warren-builder.  Between the two of you, you have the best-built, best-stocked bunker in the entire county.  Your cozy lair has become something of a local landmark, and travellers come by to marvel at it and enjoy your hospitality.

Because of the obvious desirability of your bunker, your daughter, also an ESFJ, has decided to hold her wedding there.  She is marrying a nice young ISTP man who burrowed his way from his basement to hers through twenty feet of solid earth because he thought he could smell chocolate chip cookies.  They fell in love, and when the nuclear winter subsided they fought their way across the country so that they could be with you for their special day.

Given the difficulty of the circumstances, they plan to have a small, private wedding.  Your husband, an ISFJ Assassin, was once a chaplain in the army and is going to perform the ceremony.  He scrounges together the ingredients for a wedding cake and you spend all day preparing a lovely three tier masterpiece with white and blue frosting.

The color scheme is no accident.  As a wedding present, you plan to pass down your most precious family heirloom: an eighteen-piece porcelain tea set with braided blue roses and gold rims.  The tea set once belonged to an eccentric Countess known for both her excellent taste and fiscal irresponsibility.  You inherited it from your great-great-grandmother, who brought it over from France.  It was once assessed as having a value between $2,000 - $3,000, but you would never part with it for money.

At four o'clock on the 3rd of July, the wedding begins.  Your husband reads the ceremony as your daughter cries.  The handsome groom is more stoic, and quietly gives his responses.  But the kiss he gives your daughter is anything but stoic.  They beam at each other and you wipe away joyful tears.

Afterward comes the cake and a delicious meal cooked especially for the occasion.

At last your daughter—now a wife—and her new husband are ready to go off on their honeymoon.  You throw rice as they climb up the ladder towards the surface.

The ISTP opens the hatch, takes one look out, and goes white.  He slams the hatch back down and bolts it shut.  Then he gives an amiable smile and climbs back down.

“Let's all have some more cake,” he suggests.

Nobody asks what he saw, but the festivities are somewhat damped.  Nonetheless, with a bit of music the mood lightens, and the party continues on.  You make sure that everyone is comfortable as you dish up a second helping of cake and pour fresh glasses of champagne.

While your husband starts a game of charades, you glance sideways at the ISTP, who keeps looking backwards towards the hatch.  Suddenly, he stands up and goes over to the ladder.  He stares there and frowns.

“What is it?” your daughter asks.

“Shhh,” he says, putting his finger to his lips. “Turn down the music.”

You turn off the music, and then you hear it.  A faint, repetitive, rasping sound from somewhere above.  Digging.  A chill goes down your spine. 

“What did you see up there?” you ask.

“Either a man or some kind of insect,” the ISTP says.  “I couldn't say which.  But there were a lot of them.”

“Mutants,” your daughter says with a shudder.  The worst fate imaginable: to have your DNA damaged by radiation and become some kind of nightmarish monster.

Your husband looks at you. “Perhaps we should open the wedding gifts early.”

“Yes, that might be a good idea,” you say.

Your husband retrieves the gifts and the new couple strips off the paper to find a new AK-47 and several cases of ammunition.

“It's beautiful,” says your daughter, quickly field stripping it and reassembling it.  She loads in a clip and sights down the barrel. “Where did you ever find it?” 

“Oh, on a dead body in some wreckage,” your husband says modestly.

You get out the next present, which is wrapped in silver wrapping paper with gold roses that almost match the design on the tea set.  Your daughter rips off the present open and gives a smile of pure delight at the sight of the teakwood case with the crest of the countess' French dynasty engraved on top.  She opens it up and runs her fingers down the gleaming cups and plates, smiling.

“I thought it was time you had this,” you say.

You and your daughter hug tightly.

After putting the tea set safely away in the bathroom cupboard between the towels, everyone gets ready to kill mutants.  You pass out ammunition and load your favorite pistol, a durable Ruger semi-automatic with a ten round magazine.  As backup, you prepare the Thompson and the M16, though you used up most of the ammo for these fighting the zombies last week.  As a backup-backup, you add a bottle of Raid and your trusty rolling pin.

Everyone helps put plastic covers over the furniture.  (Getting blood out of the upholstery is a real nightmare.)  Your husband lights some mosquito coils in the hopes it will drive off the fly-things. 

“Well, at least it's not the zombies again,” you say with forced cheer as everyone sits behind the barricaded sofas, listening while the digging gets louder.

Half-hearted laughter goes up from the others.

“I like a zombie,” the ISTP says. “One shot through the head and they're dead.  Insects don't die so easy.  I hope these man-flies aren't the same.”

This time it is your turn to give an awkward laugh.  How many times have you swatted a housefly, only to see it still twitching and crawling?  You shudder.  "Maybe I'd better call Doreen and the Volunteers."

Everybody agrees that is a fine idea.  You pick up the phone and dial her number.  It is awhile before the phone connects, and over the ringing you can hear at least two other conversations going on.  What a pain it is to share a phone line with the whole neighborhood; there's no privacy these days.  The phone keeps ringing.  You hope Doreen is there; her son had a big soccer game this morning, and they might still be at the field.

At last Doreen picks up.

"Hi Doreen!" you say.  "How did the game go?"

"Oh, wonderful.  We won and Lenny got two goals," Doreen says.  "How was your daughter's wedding?"

"I cried the whole time," you say.  "Thank you so much for sending over the flowers.  Those roses were beautiful—hardly mutated at all."

"Aww, I'm glad I could help a little.  By the way, I've been dying to show you my new candy-striped petunias.  I'm thinking of entering them in the flower show next month."

"You'll have to give me some transplants,” you say.  “The last time I grew petunias, they tried to eat the cat."

"Isn't that always the way!" Doreen says. "I hear the Hendricks almost lost their boy in a patch of hydrangeas.  Really, you'd think they'd prune them back occasionally.  It's irresponsible to let things mutate like that."

You make a disapproving noise.  "I couldn't agree more.  In fact, that's why I called.  We've been having the most bothersome time with these awful mutant flies trying to dig down into the bunker.  Could you come over?"

"Oh no!" Doreen says.  "Why didn't you say so?  I'll get the club together and we'll be right over."

"Do you have time?  I'd really appreciate it."

"It's no problem at all," Doreen says.

"Thank you," you say.  "I can't tell you how much this means."

"It's nothing, don't even think about it," Doreen says.

The buzzing noises are getting ominously loud above.

"Listen Doreen, I'd love to come to see your petunias tomorrow," say. "But right now I've got to go—the flies are about to come though, and I've got cookies in the oven."

Saying your goodbyes, you hang up.  A trickle of plaster falls from the ceiling.

Everyone has gone dead silent.  You crouch down behind the good leather sofa, your fingers clutched around the butt of your gun.  The hatch cover is solid steel, but when has that ever stopped determined mutations?  You think you can hear something sizzling (acid?) from up above.  Briefly you wonder if you wouldn't be better off retreating to the vault-like safety room on Level 2 until Doreen arrives, but it seems improper to retreat without so much as firing a shot.  Who knows what the flies would do to the house if you let them in?  You aren't even sure if your homeowner's insurance covers damage by giant insects.  The sound of hissing and clawing is growing louder by the moment.

With a scream of acid-tortured metal, the hatch crumples inward.  A hairy, black, jointed leg stabs its way through.  You blow it off with a single shot.  The leg jerks back.  Outside you can hear the chaotic, dizzying drone of stirred up flies.

Your victory is short lived.  The hatch blows off its hinges and smashes into the floor.  Maddened fly-men boil down in a swarm of multifaceted red eyes, bloated black-green bodies and twitching legs.

"Fire!" someone screams.

As if you had to be told.  You spray lead into the teeming mass of bodies.  A compound eye explodes like a ripe fruit.  Bullet holes appear in hairy chitinous bodies. 

The flies barely seem to notice.  They scramble forward, mandibles snapping.  The next thing you know, your gun gives an empty click.  There’s no time to reload; you scramble for the Thompson.  Your daughter-in-law's new AK-47 chews a line of death through the invaders, but even more flies are swarming down through the hatch.

You blow a fly's head off with the Thompson.  The corpse twitches on the carpet.  Then, to your horror, the toppled fly-man digs its foreclaws into the stained carpet and pulls itself towards you.  You blast its legs off with two well aimed bullets. 

Your husband slaps frantically at your shoulder and makes a gesture for ammunition.  You look around.  There isn't any.

You seize your rolling pin in one hand and the Raid in the other.  Whether it is the burning fumes of the mosquito coils or simply the fury coursing through your blood, you go completely berserk.  Each stroke of your rolling pin sends a fly tumbling, and with the other hand you spray your foes down with blasts of concentrated insecticide.  They claw at their eyes with their hideous mandibles and fall writhing among their twitching companions.  Your tear-blurred eyes sting from the fumes, but you can't stop to wipe them clean.

The next thing you know your husband is yelling, "To the safe room!  To the safe room!"

Suddenly it becomes apparent that you are about to be overwhelmed.  You lunge for the stairwell that leads to Level 2; the others are already ahead of you.

You dash through the parlor, past the bathroom, and finally you are at the stairwell.  On the walls hang framed photos of your brother and the '06 family reunion; with the dexterity of many drills, you snatch them off the wall and tuck them under your arm as you fly past. 

At the bottom of the stairs, tastefully concealed behind a country quilt, is the door to the safe room.  It is an actual vault door from a bank, the kind that has an automatic time lock that seals the doors shut for exactly twelve hours before it can be opened again.  You tried to get rid of this feature, but you have only managed to reduce it so that the door will open again five minutes after being shut.  Your husband yanks the quilt aside and the group thunders in.

To your surprise, the flies have not followed you down; possibly they were distracted by the sugary cake and leftover drinks upstairs.  You can hear the sound of breaking glass and gleeful buzzing.  You hesitate, the door half closed, fighting the ESFJ instincts that urge you to save your home.

"Why isn't this cozy," your daughter remarks, looking around at the book-lined niche with its cupboards full of canned goods and jugs of water.

"We can hold out for a week in here if necessary," your husband assures her. "Nothing to worry about."

And then you remember.

In the bathroom, between the towels—your great-great-grandmother's tea set!  And of course the flies will head straight to the smelly bathroom after they’ve finished with the kitchen.  Should you go back for it?

Common sense says no, but this is a special case.  Anyway, there will never be a better time to go save it.  The flies are obviously distracted right now; perhaps you could make a quick snatch and grab.  But you don't want to put anyone in danger.

You set the pictures down and heft your rolling pin.  "Don't worry," you say over your shoulder.  "I'll be right back; I just forgot something.  Put on some tea, would you dear?"

"Where are you—" your husband begins, but his question is cut off as the door closes behind you.  It won’t open again for five minutes. 

Rolling pin in hand, you scurry down the hallway to the Level 2 kitchen and arm yourself with a bottle of oven cleaner.  You don't know if it will be as effective as insecticide, but the label says that you could go blind if you get it in your eyes, so you have high hopes.  The timer on the cookies has three minutes left.

Slowly and quietly, you mount the stairs.  The hallway beyond is empty, but you can hear fabric shredding and wood splintering amid erratic buzzing.  From the sound of it, the flies are exploring your good leather couch.  You grit your teeth.

You arrive at the bathroom without being noticing and gently close the door behind you.  The tea set is still cozily ensconced inside a beach towel.  You tuck the bundle under your arm.

As you do so, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the bathroom mirror.  You can't help but stare.  The woman in the mirror is splattered from head to foot with puce-green bug guts, and her hair and blouse are soaked with red human blood from the gash on her forehead that she didn't remember getting.  At least we already took the wedding photographs, you console yourself.  You are pretty sure you are going to hurt a lot when the adrenaline stops flowing.

The sheer horror of looking like a human windshield translates into a rather neurotic urge to wash off.  Since the flies have not yet discovered your hiding place, you turn on the hot water and give your hands and face a quick rinse.  Your rolling pin has gotten slippery from all that blood, so you clean it off too.  The sink fills with red and green like some horrid Christmas nightmare.

When you are done, you take a towel and wipe your face, and also the sink and faucet (there's nothing that annoys you more than stained chrome).  As you do so, you hear a faint beeping noise that is recognizable as the Level 2 oven timer.  The cookies are done.

With an impatient huff, you open the bathroom door.  A fly is standing outside.  With a shriek you bash in its head with the rolling pin.  You vault over its falling body—clawed appendages grasp at your legs—and race back towards the safe room.  Behind you comes the sound of infuriated buzzing, but you do not dare to look back.

When you reach the bolt hole you skid to a stop.

The vault is still locked.

The flies are boiling down the stairs in an angry mass.  Saying a word that you would not normally use, you sprint down the hallway.  With a quick turn you find yourself in the kitchen.  Here you will make your stand.

There is no time to turn off the cookies.  You open the cupboard and pull out the bottle of the fruit brandy that you used to make cherries jubilee for the social last month.  You rip the cap off and slam the bottle into the microwave.  Three minutes should be enough.  Grimly you jam a box of strike-anywhere kitchen matches between your teeth.

Then the flies are in the doorway.  The buzzing black mass of legs, thoraxes, and bulging eyes swarms into the kitchen.  You bring your rolling pin down on the first one's head and split its carapace open like a watermelon.  It thrashes wildly at your feet.  You kick it aside. 

The world narrows down to smashing, buzzing and bleeding.  Inch by inch, you are pressed backwards into the corner between the sink and the stove.

Beep! Beep! Beep! Beeeeeeeeeeep! the microwave shrills.  Flailing the flies back with an arm that aches with exhaustion, you grope for the microwave door.  You feel the handle under your fingers and yank it open.  There is no time for niceties; you claw the bottle out of the microwave.  It tumbles to the floor and the boiling brandy flows across the floor, with a glup, glup, glup.

The box of matches is crushed between your clenched teeth.  You loosen your jaw and rip out a match like a soldier pulling a pin out of a grenade.  In that moment of distraction, a fly slashes your rolling pin out of your hand.  It tumbles to floor.  You strike the match on your foe’s faceted eye.

Startled by the sudden flame, the fly recoils; you cast the match into the brandy.  The puddle goes up like a bowl of cherries jubilee.  Lurching backwards, you scramble onto the kitchen counter to avoid the eager flames.

The flies go insane, racing madly about the room and slamming mindlessly into the cupboards.  You seize a pair of knives from the block and go into berserk mode. 

You don’t really remember what happens after that.  Doreen says you answered the doorbell with a strained smile on your face.  In your left hand you carried a gut-covered eggbeater trailing an extension cord; in you right hand you held a length of bloody wire which is later identified as the one you used to pinch dough up into cinnamon rolls.  “Come on in,” you said.  “I just took the cookies out of the oven.”  Then your eyes rolled back in your head and you collapsed. 

By the time you regain consciousness, clean up will have commenced.  You wander around the house in a daze.   Hacked off limbs still twitch, and you hear the occasional buzz as a seemingly-dead insect rights itself and tries to kill.  The Volunteers help you gather all the flies into a heap in the backyard.  You burn the bodies.  Never have you seen a more satisfying sight than that smoking, reeking pile of death.

It is only when the job is done that you sag on the ichor-spattered remains of the blue couch and succumb to exhaustion.  The doctor informs you that you have fractured ribs, a broken leg, second degree burns, acid burns, blood loss, a missing right canine tooth, and a whole slough of skin perforations that are probably infected with who-knows-what.  Needless to say it will be a long recuperation.

The bright spot is that your daughter and her new husband decide to stay and help take care of the house until you get back on your feet.  Another bright spot is that your insurance policy does cover fly damage under the broader mutant policy, so you will soon have a check in the mail.  (Unfortunately, they refused to cover the fire in the kitchen, since you were honest enough to admit that you started that on purpose.)  The neighborhood pulls together to help you clean up the place, and a week later Doreen turns up with an envelope full of money donated by St. John's Parish.  All in all it things are looking hopeful.

You scrape the black off the bottom of a burnt cookie, dunk it in your great-great-grandmother’s teacup, and crunch it down.  And so life goes on.