Kaitlin McCloughan’s story “The Flight Home” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 1 April 2016.
For a post-apocalyptic story about robotic bees, The Flight Home draws more than one might expect from my real life. I wrote it when I, like Carlotta, was facing the prospect of returning to my home country after spending time living in China.
Carlotta’s experience in many ways was a magnification of my own feelings at the time—I’d been in Beijing only three years, not decades like Carlotta, but I had a life there that was difficult to leave behind. My friends and family back in the U.S. were only a Skype call or Facebook message away, but I was eager to see them and be home again. And the feeling of being in a place that I loved but didn’t entirely belong—how would that grow or change or disappear in more extreme circumstances? I think we’ve all thought about what we would do if disaster struck. This story was inspired largely by what I imagined could happen if someone like me, living a happy life far from home, were trapped in that moment by the collapse of society.
The bees and Carlotta’s relationship with Yitao were originally part of an entirely separate story. I was interested in communication and the things often left unsaid between people who love each other. Unfortunately for those of us living in the real world, the heavy lifting of maintaining long-term relationships generally can’t be left to a swarm of mechanical insects.
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