top of page

Horde by Karen Schauber

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

In the morning the window has been thrown open, last night’s storm upending the terracotta pots and herbs on the ledge. Rain has soaked the flowered banquette cushions inside. I pull the latch closed and wrap a pashmina tight around my shoulders, light the fire in the pot belly, assembling bits of kindling like Jenga. My head swimming like vichyssoise after a night of drinking—I never learn. I fill the cast iron pot and take down the steel-cut oats for a hearty warming breakfast. Lots of debris to clean up outside.

I hear the crunch before I see them. A blur of mottled brown shells scuttles across the floor. My feet recoil but where to step next. More snap crackle pop underfoot. I don’t dare move. My toes crimp in their slippers. I call out to Geoffrey, but my voice is raspy, thin, hardly audible. The horde already advancing like a parade, a marching band, hissing, chirping, trilling, two-by-two around the legs of the gabled table, a constant tempo over the transom and with precision on toward the pantry door. I look for the leader, intent on extermination, follow hundreds of tiny sets of legs tippy-toeing up onto the countertop. The thick viscous trail marking the territory through a wide thoroughfare, boulevard, streets, and backroads; changing lanes and traffic patterns like Google mapping. I reach for the broom, crushing exoskeletons as I lurch. I hear Geoffrey thumping up the staircase, watch his terry bathrobe billowing, he’s running, he heard me. I gesture to the swarming infestation, Wait, Watch it. He's seen this before, he says, reminds me I should stick to a two-glass limit.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page