by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
When Hana Samsa woke from a fevered nap one afternoon, she found that she had been transformed into an enormous mosquito. At the foot of her bed, her tiny legs thumped against an empty bottle of Becherovka; she’d pushed it there that morning after licking the last particles of bittersweet liquor from the cap. Her head pounded in the faint light of the gas lantern by the bedside, but when she raised her new insect arms to massage her temples, they wouldn’t bend. She felt quite sure that, when she had escaped Anastázie’s embrace that morning in order to retrieve the Becherovka from beneath the bed, she had been human, had used her human tongue to lap the inside of the cap, had nudged her human head back under Anastázie’s arm and rested it on her chest, had breathed with human nostrils the sunshine smell of Anastázie’s skin. Now Anastázie was gone, likely off to work at the school, and Hana had gained four extra legs and a mouth like a needle.