The chirping washes over Leroy as soon as he opens the front door. He wishes his family a goodnight against the steady intrusive noise from outside, kissing his grandmother on the top of her silver curls and waving to his sisters. He doesn't want them to have to come out, so the goodbye is brisk before he jogs off into the sweltering humidity of night’s hello.
Every little house along the road is a faint yellow dot in a cloying mist he can scarcely see through. He fans his fingers over his eyes just in case. The boundaries of his vision are the tall reeds, brown in the pale yellow cast by the houses.
The chirping only grows as he approaches the road, roaring up into a cacophony he’s too ill-studied to recognize. Are they crickets, cicadas, or toads? He can see tall reeds, but nothing else in the fog, and so can’t tell what environment they’d live in. Whatever they are, wherever they are, he can’t hear the jingling of his keys over their din, much less can he hear anything following behind him.
Leroy flips from the aquamarine key to the lipstick red key - that's the one for the car, he thinks, not thinking of anything else. It's another few long seconds of pavement before the mist yields his rusted Ford, resting on an angle against the slope leading into the roadside gutter. He can't see the bottom of that gutter, though there's obvious and erratic motion down there. Maybe water run-off, maybe fauna swarming.
He feels something stirring behind him and the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. He scratches the hairs, then unlocks the Ford and climbs into the cab, not checking behind himself, as people check on their irrational senses far less than they think. The seat groans beneath him, the first sound he's heard since leaving his grandmother’s house, beside all those bugs, or toads, out there. He lingers at the cab door, not shutting it just yet, squinting into the black-on-black night for a glimpse of what army is making that sound. He leans his head out through the frame, and something definitely stirs in the gutter.
He uses a rough palm to flatten the hairs on the back of his neck, eying the dim gutter until he remembers pre-season football is on tonight. He shuts the cab and drives off. Nothing happens to him. Nothing lurks watching him leave, except the mosquitoes that missed the opportunity to nibble on him. We promise there’s no greater context to this story. We would know; we were there watching.