Dragonfly Collage

This short short story features in ‘Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand’, published by Canterbury University Press with the support of Creative New Zealand.

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Suitable for Young Readers
Gail Ingram | The commuting Book
Gail Ingram

Aug 31   ●  2 min read

The dragonfly’s eyes are made up of multiple hexagons. Inside each hexagon is a black and white picture of my face. I’ve printed the photos from my files and glued them on, one by one. There must be at least a hundred. They’re very small. You don’t know they’re faces until you look closely, then suddenly you see them, a million disembodied eyes staring at you in the dark.

Dragonflies are capable in darkness. I saw one in the hallway mirror after what I’d done. It involved a gun. No, it didn’t. I like that gun rhymes with done. A knife. I took a knife outside and sliced all the leaves off Mum’s blood red begonias. You said that I should tell the truth. I am telling the truth, Alice. The begonias were the first thing I remember getting in trouble for. They’re represented by one of my faces. My skill is this: to see everything from every direction simultaneously. I didn’t want to take the Zyprexa. Though, at the time, I remembered thinking I don’t have eight pairs of visual neurons like the dragonfly, yet I am capable of collating multiple parts into a whole, I will not be affected. I said I would take it. I think it’s fair to say, Alice, that my stabbing of Mr Gotthard’s cheek in front of three hundred and twenty-three spectators only deserves a small part of the picture.

Blunt craft scissors sharpen effectively on a raspy concrete floor. The dragonfly is very skilled. It tracks its prey, calculates its flight path and moves into it before you can blink. It must be a shock for the prey to see its own face reflected multiple times in the dragonfly’s eye, don’t you think?




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