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, Adults, Young Adults, Quick Read
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?

Alice?