The Metamorphosis

 

A dozy blue bottle dashes against the window pane, body tock-tocking, a sound like thrown cooked rice.

Metallic soldier flies – emerald and sapphire – ding on the corrugated roof, as if their combined effort might lift the iron sheets from their bolts, set them loose in the chill night air.

Above a bowl – contents melted by rot – dance the fruit flies, their zigzagging a distraction from the bumble bee corpses lined up on the mantle piece, furry bobbles pinned to strips of padded crimson felt.

On every sill and shelf another order of invertebrate – Coleoptera, Dermaptera, Diptera, through the alphabet  – though each frustratingly incomplete.

My menagerie, live and dead.

I close my eyes and the buzz of the dead joins that of the living and my wings shimmer like finely spun glass.

 


This piece of fantastical flash fiction’s title was lovingly stolen from the novella of the same name by Franz Kafka. It surely contains one of the most arresting opening lines in literature.

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

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13 thoughts on “The Metamorphosis

  1. The opening of this, with the noises, so keenly reminds me of my first encounter with the Banded Demoiselle (damselfly). I couldn’t believe anything so delicate could make such a loud clatter. And thanks for reminding me of Kafka’s story. Oddly, my daughter and I were discussing that just two days past. Great story, too, BTW.

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    1. Thanks Crispina. I just love damsel flies and dragon flies – such astonishingly beautiful, primordial creatures. Would have loved to see the dragonfly with a wingspan of 70 cm which lived during the Carboniferous. Mind you, I would have to have been alive 300 million years ago … Thanks so much for reading and the kind comment

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      1. 300 million years; that’s older than mu Asars! And I think dragonflies that big might have been scary, especially if they had clattering wings.

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      2. True – pretty scary! But I saw a model of one years ago in our local museum and the idea of giant dragon flies has bewitched me ever since. Almost as big as an actual dragon!

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      3. That’s the only frustrating thing about them. Butterflies are almost as bad. You want to tell the things to keep still for a moment. Gold star to you if you managed to photograph a dragon fly.

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      4. Know what you mean. Early season is good, they tend then to bask in the sun, soaking the warmth into their scales. I have even found some who boringly stay still even after I’ve taken loads of shots!

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      5. Well, there’s the harbour but that’s a mile away. Though there is a tiny river – more of a stream – that’s only five minutes away. I suppose they might come from there

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