Every day I see them through my bedroom window:
My next door neighbours:
The four of them—mother, father, son and daughter—hunched over, crawling up and down their lawn, grass flowing in the warm summer wind, their mouths open; their teeth biting it, detaching the tops of the blades; chewing; swallowing…
I have to shut my blinds.
I can’t stand it.
What are they, humans or goats?
But even with the blinds drawn I hear the sounds.
The cud-crushing sounds.
Where in the wider world are they from?
God damn it. This is America and that’s not how we do it here!
We use machines, gas: mowers.
We don’t get on hands and knees and meet the grass halfway, praying gobbledygook as we meet the blades on their own terms. Bless us, Oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty…
A knock on the door—
What time is it? I crawl out of bed, where I’d been sitting comfortably with my book, grab my handgun because one can never be too careful these days and peer out the kitchen window.
There they stand.
What the hell do they want?
“What do you want?” I ask, opening the door, holding the handgun behind my back.
“We would enjoy to eat your lawn,” the father says.
Christ, their greenish teeth.
“I got a mower,” I say. “I mow my lawn.”
“We would enjoy to eat the remnants,” the father says.
“Or mulch,” says the son.
Christ Almighty. “If you have to eat grass, eat your own grass,” I say.
“It is no longer enough,” the father says.
“I’m sprouting,” says the mother.
I fix my grip on the handgun behind my back. My fingers are slickening. Why can’t they just go—
The mother’s skin cracks—
Her body is: soil, pregnant with worms and plants and other bugs, all moving: an ocean of dirt and organics.
I pull the gun from behind my back and point it at her.
“Please,” the father says. “Grass.”
Why is he so fucking calm!
“Get off my porch!”
Blades of grass begin to emerge from the mother’s dirt-body. The flakes of her discarded skin blow away in the sudden breeze.
“I swear to God—”
The blades explode from within her, enwrapping her body in green.
I fire two shots—one in the air, the other at the mother, through whom the bullet passes before smacking into the house across the street—before turning and gunning it through my own house: down the stairs, into the backyard…
They’re all sprouting now, losing their skin-flakes on my hardwood floor.
Four green mummies—
I stop at the far end of my backyard.
Their silhouettes mock me from my own deck. “You have beautiful grass,” the father says. His voice has earthened.
The mother steps onto the grass—
No splash but otherwise like into the deep end of a swimming pool.
I need to climb the fence. I’m frozen in place by fear.
The mother reappears mid-yard: resurfacing as part of the lawn, like a trampoline distending…
The three others dive in too.
I point my gun at the distensions gliding across my backyard and fire until there are no bullets left.
I have to make a run—
I do it. From fence to deck to open door. Eyes closed. Heart racing. Back on hardwood. Eyes open. Heart still racing. Outside: they prowl the yard like floral sharks.
I collapse into an armchair.
I want the police to come but they do not. Somebody must have heard the shots. Nobody comes. The street is quiet. A warm breeze enters through the open front door.
The hinges squeak.
I hear the father’s voice: “You have beautiful grass.”
“I got a mower. I mow my lawn,” I say—weakly…
“Feed us. Fertilize us,” says the lawn itself. Its voice rising from beneath the foundations of the house, making the walls rattle.
“With what?” I ask.
I’m having a conversation with the ground. I slap my face.
I bang my head against the wall.
“We were humanlikes feasting on the grass. Now we shall be grasslikes feasting on humanity.”
One more bang—
I woke up hungover on the hardwood floor. The front and back doors were open. There was a hole in the living room wall. My head ached. My bedroom blinds were drawn, and when I opened them I no longer saw the neighbours.
Weeks have passed and there’s no trace.
Their house stands empty.
Their grass grows.
Yet it does not grow as quickly or as thick as mine.
My mower sits in the garage unused. I lack the will to use it. In the evenings, when the sun goes down, a warm wind rushes in, and on its blowing I cannot help but catch the words:
Feed us… Fertilize us…
It cannot be.
They have just moved out. Abandoned their home and left.
Feed us… Fertilize us…
Every day a little angrier; with a little more bloodlust. They once were humanlikes feasting on the grass. Now, I pray for the salvation of us all.