She is in another quiet mood tonight. As I lay floating on my back contemplating why, I can feel tiny mouths nibbling at my legs. Her huge green eye is staring down at us through the microscope. I think it is odd she has adopted such different hours to be here with us in the evenings. I do like it though because we are all so lively in the dark being Anopheline mosquitoes.
Life is good despite something changing last month. Her scent is different; we joke she has been using the ethanol hand sanitizer a bit too much. Her dry and cracked hands don’t smell as tasty as they used to either. She seems distracted and now moves slower than before, as though her thoughts somehow impede her memorised movements. Last week when she was counting how many of us had taken a delicious holiday blood meal, we all felt her mood instantly shift the moment she heard someone coughing outside our door. Confused, we suddenly detected her fear – it is a distinct smell. She remained in the dark room with us until all was quiet before she decided to leave. Thankfully she remembered to feed us fresh sugary water so we would not become parched in this hot tropical insectary.
When we saw her two days later, I must say we were relieved as some of us had a feeling she was not going to return based on some whispers we heard about a shutdown. Not only did she return to replenish our sugar, but she also brought small containers of water for us to lay our eggs! Our abdomens had greatly expanded since the blood we ingested a few days ago was already feeding our developing eggs. I wondered if she even noticed.
Tonight, now several days later, she looks down at me surrounded by my dark, floating eggs and another female’s hatched babies. I must look comical in this position for she took a photo and smiled before putting me back into my home cage. As she left, I heard her sadly say “two million cases” and was astounded that she had managed to count so many eggs in my pot. Why she was saddened by our fabulous reproductive output, I will never understand. The only thing I do know, despite the strangeness happening these days, is that she will be back because we are important to her – and that is all that matters.