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.