He returned and stood in front of the toilet and, with renewed peace of mind, relieved himself. The rattle returned and a metallic clank came from the toilet bowl. Victor peered down and saw, creeping up out of the water, a wasp the size of a salt shaker. He hurriedly sheathed his short sword and zipped up his fly. The wasp tested its wings with two rapid bursts and then launched up out of the toilet bowl with a loud drone. Victor ducked and rolled back onto the floor. As the giant hornet floated toward the ceiling another clank came from the toilet; a moment later a second wasp flew up. Victor dragged himself along the floor tiles, reached up and slammed the wooden toilet lid shut. He rolled over and looked up; the two monstrous insects hovered high above. Keeping his eyes on the wasps, he shimmied across the floor on his back, toward the door. As he reached for the doorknob one of the wasps dived and attacked. Victor retracted his hand in the nick of time—the kamikaze bug hit the door in full flight, buzzing aggressively. Rolling away, he somehow whipped his shoes off and had them in his hands in self-defence by the time he crossed the three feet to the bathtub. Lying there, side-on on the floor with his back against the tub, he assessed the threat facing him. The wasp that had just attacked him had its stinger temporarily stuck in the door—and what a stinger it was: long, hooked and glinting like steel. The wasp was heaving itself back from the door and beating its wings faster than Spitfire propellers. It would soon be free to attack again. The other wasp was crawling on the small mirror above the sink, tapping the glass—tink, tink—with its stinger. It flew back, hovered for a moment and then charged the mirror, striking it and leaving a crack like a lightning bolt its entire length.
“Oh sh**,” said Victor under his breath.
He studied the wasp more closely, and then the one at the door, and discovered they had two-inch-long fish hooks for stingers.
Clunking sounded from the toilet and Victor saw the lid was moving, being rammed from the inside. The clunking became louder and more rapid, and the lid rose slightly, venting a chorus of buzzing from within, before dropping back down. He got to his hands and knees and crawled over to the door, watching the wasp by the mirror. With steady movements he crouched, reached one hand to the door knob, and, holding his shoe between his thumb and forefinger, turned the knob with his palm. It clicked upon and the wasp on the door went berserk, trying to yank its stinger free. Victor eased the door open but as he did so it creaked; it might as well have been an alarm sounding. The wasp near the mirror turned and began hovering round in menacing circles; the toilet lid shook to the drumming of the gathering swarm it could now barely contain. There was a tense standoff as Victor stood with one hand holding the door ajar, and the other raised and ready to strike with his size 9 Colorado. He inched the door open. Suddenly, the wasp on the door broke free of its snare and flew back; Victor brought his shoe down like a sledgehammer, but only clipped it. The wasp spiralled to the floor and staggered like a groggy boxer. The toilet lid sprang up and half a dozen enraged wasps darted out before it crashed back down. Victor swung the door open, slipped out low and slammed it behind him, rolling as he entered the hall. A volley of fish hook stingers pelted the door from inside.
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