Exclusive! Deleted Scene from Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard

Exclusive! Deleted Scene from Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard

How the Beetles Came to Nelson Parade

The Goliath beetle knew that if anyone looked up they would see his dangling legs, dark abdomen and the iridescent blue-purple flash of his beating wings flying above their heads, but no one did. A storm was about to break over the city and people were scurrying home with their heads down and their collars up.

Standing proudly on the window ledge the Goliath beetle lifted his back leg and rubbed it against his wing case, sending a message out into the early dawn.

The regal black and white beetle battled through the inky sky. The constant bombardment of raindrops forced his flight into erratic patterns. His leathery wings shuddered like the fabric of a ripped kite as they were struck repeatedly by the vicious winds whipping the city. Lifting his elytra to make use of the strong air currents, he ploughed on bravely over the throbbing heart of the metropolis, climbing higher as the buildings reached up into the sky like twinkling kapok trees. He wanted to cover ground, to put distance between his exoskeleton and the malice of the human woman they called the Cutter.

The towering blocks fell away, replaced by rows and rows of low-level human dwellings. The Goliath beetle swooped down, flying close to the slate rooftops, seeking protection from the weather. The tired arthropod veered from left to right, around and through the thicket of antennae and satellite dishes, willing himself forward. He needed to find somewhere safe for the others to shelter, the ones following behind. He was their king, they were depending on him to find a place to establish a colony, a home.

Lightning ripped the sky apart, and a large chimney pot loomed out of the darkness. Steering sharply to avoid the brick plinth, the beetle hit a pocket of cold air, which spun him down behind the building. As he tumbled towards the ground, a violent gust hurled him sideways through a pane-less window.

Stunned and confused, he found himself upside down on his thorax inside a dusty pink teacup. He waggled his legs and unfolded his wings to flip himself on to his claws. Once up, he became still, waiting for the world to speak to him. The darkness was quiet, the storm far away. He could hear a droning noise that rose and fell with a whistling sound. All the insect’s senses were alert, its antennae twitching, but it found no predators. The tiny hairs covering its body shivered with excitement; there was sugary food here in abundance. He clambered out of the teacup to find that it was one in a mountain of mugs. Clambering up the mountainside the beetle marvelled at the moss and dandelions growing there, the fungus and the grass sprouting up between cups. His antennae became excited as he approached a dollop of something pink and sticky. He stood over it scooped the sugary gloop up into his mouth with his mandibles. Cranberry sauce!

There was a snorting sound, and the Goliath beetle froze, then the rhythmic droning and whistling noise returned. The alert invertebrate crawled past a butterfly bush to the top of the mountain to see where the sound was coming from.

Beetle Boy - M.G. Leonard

On the other side of the room was a large pink armchair and bulging out of it was a vast human being with a belly like a mound of rising dough. A mug dangled from the chubby fingers of his left hand, a dribble of tea left at the bottom. The noise was coming from the air escaping from his nose. The Goliath beetle leapt from the mountaintop, cracking open his elytra and spreading his wings. He flew over to the sleeping human and landed on his chest, which was partially covered by a greying string vest. Scrambling up the neck rolls that led to the human’s face, he butted the chin of the sleeping man with the Y-shaped horn on his head. The man snorted and blinked his eyes open, going cross-eyed to stare at the beetle.

‘Go away,’ he muttered. A giant hand swung up to knock the insect from his perch, releasing a toxic scent from the man’s armpit.

The Goliath didn’t wait to be struck. He jumped into the air, wings aloft, and returned to the mug mountain. The human wriggled in its chair and a thunderous rumble came from underneath it, releasing a foul stench into the air. After a moment, the droning noise began again.

The man is not interested in beetles. This place is safe.

Standing proudly on the window ledge the Goliath beetle lifted his back leg and rubbed it against his wing case, sending a message out into the early dawn.

Before long he saw a giant green flower beetle, carrying a pair of blister beetles on her elytra, flanked by ladybirds, and beside her flew a rhinoceros beetle, followed by a cluster of dung beetles and a chorus line of jewel beetles. Behind them followed a string of others, giraffe-necked weevils, a posse of flickering fireflies and a frog-legged leaf beetle.

He had done it. He had found them a new home, where Lucretia Cutter would never find them.


The copyright remains with the Author. All rights other than the exclusive right to use the piece for promotional and marketing purposes in connection with the Book Club are reserved by the Author (including but not limited to Publication rights, TV/Film rights, Stage rights and Radio rights). All rights granted to WH Smith shall automatically revert to the Author upon completion of the promotion of the Book Club. Any changes to the text must be approved by the Author. The Author shall be properly credited.

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