Naomi awoke from a night of fitful sleep to find that she had turned into a giant bug. Scared and a little bit hungry, lying on her back, she wiggled her many legs in the air and listened to the sound of her high-pitched whine. She bucked and wobbled, grabbing the air with her dozen hooked toes, her middle left foot just managing to lift a piece of damp wallpaper.
Finally exhausted, she stopped. She clutched the small square, wishing she could use it as a tissue until she realized she wasn’t crying. In fact everything seemed so ridiculous that Naomi couldn’t help but laugh a buzzing beetle laugh. She remained still, remembering hearing of this happening before. She imagined a huge beetle named Gregor knocking at her window, munching a rotting apple he’d pulled from his hip. “Better come with me.” He clicks, offering her a bite and two hooks, “I know how this ends.” Would this have happened if you’d not made it through the Iron Curtain? She hums. Gregor turns away to hide his misty eyes, and in a strangled buzz replies “Why would you say something like that?”
She takes his hooks and rolls onto her weight, accepting his bite of apple as she peers into the nightmarish hole in his exoskeleton. Naked joints slip by one another in slick black gore than runs un-corked down his leg and her pink bedroom wall. Small hairs of mold left by the apple circle it all like tinsel. Curious, she tastes the liquid now at her feet and the morbid spice sends her screaming to the ceiling. Gregor’s laugh pops crackily as he trains his milky eyes on her. He cooes until she slowly stops shaking and crawls down to him.
Some hours later, when Naomi’s mother came home, she found her daughter no longer able to speak. She would try violently, a screech in her throat, to scale her bedroom wall whenever her mother or father or brothers came near. She would tear open her fingers on the bare cement after she’d removed the remaining wallpaper.
The morning they wrapped her in a blanket and took her away, her mother picked up a rotten apple core from under the desk and threw it out the window.
- naominagler posted this