Dead, Yet Alive

by Kevin Shank | Apr 15, 2021 | 0 comments

One balmy day during the summer of 2014, my sister and I found a deceased cicada. We deposited it in a Styrofoam container. Then we gifted it with an air freshener, a mothball. After performing these burial rites, we sealed its casket off with a plastic lid. We then placed the container in our bedroom.

Cicada. Photo © Jianghongyan/

That evening Daddy read us a particularly suspenseful story. Then we crawled into bed, reluctant to leave such exciting tales for later enjoyment.

In a few hours, darkness was exchanged for the peaceful dawn of another sunny day. We lay wrapped in silent slumber while the birds trilled their melodies.

Suddenly, a zzz-z-z-zzz pierced the calm of our room, beginning at pianissimo and crescendo-ing to fortissimo.

“What was that? Did you hear that noise?” I whispered urgently to my half-aroused sister, as my heart rate accelerated.

Her drowsy reply came, “Yes, what was it?”


We gripped each other’s hands as if we hoped to break them. “What is it!?”


Two petrified youngsters clung to each other in agony. We squeezed our eyes shut and screamed like never before.

Daddy shot across the hall to our bedroom. “What’s the matter,” he implored, as he swept the room with a very alarmed pair of eyes.


Again we shut out any alarming sights, and screamed as though we were being kidnapped. The noise subsided. We cautiously opened our eyes and gazed into a twinkling pair above us. Then Daddy threw his head back and laughed as if the most hilarious thing in the world had just occurred.

“What is so funny? Why are you laughing?”

We were still terrified, and now we were utterly mystified!

Ha. Ha. Ha! Ha. Ha. Ha! He was still laughing! His mirth finally subsided enough to explain with great relief that all our anguish was due to our resurrected cicada across the room. Our mothball had made the cicada go berserk!

Today Daddy still declares that he never erupted from his bed so fast.

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