Forty eight hours since Regina Balfour was abducted.
In the heavy Oxford traffic driving is slow going. Crawling up Hollybush Row towards Frideswide Square, without warning, something bounces off the windscreen, a large insect. 'Shit' curses Bates. Then another hits, this time splattering against the glass. More and more insects strike the car, seemingly coming out of nowhere, and before long DS Bates has to stop beside the road to avoid an accident, the windscreen thick with insects, their smashed bodies, and oozing internal juices. They swarm over the car, some wriggling in through the air vents and dropping onto the floor. They're large insects, crickets or grasshoppers maybe.
Bates opens the door and climbs out, 'Take a look at this.' Outside the car the insects cover the car and other cars parked along the road. They are arrayed across the pavement, perched on lampposts, and up the walls of buildings. A mass of little bodies seething and writhing.
When the insects catch sight of the three of them they just stop moving, they seem to turn and stare straight at them, thousands and thousands of faceted little eyes and chewing mandibles. They just freeze and stare.