Kafka’s Cricket

I was lying awake at the deep hours of the night. The day had been hot. The air had barely cooled. My window was open and curtains undrawn, letting in the beginnings of a breeze and the sounds of a multitude of chirping crickets. I tossed and turned and remembered, hazily, a dream about being an undercover spy aboard a giant intergalactic cruiser. I had been hunting traitors. Each cricket made its own sound. The sounds reverberated inside my skull. Slowly, I was falling into dreams. Slowly, the crickets’ chirps merged. Sound waves overlapped, magnifying themselves. What were many crickets became one—a monster cricket, whose position relative to me I could trace by the nearing loudness of its incessant chirping. As the cricket came closer, I curled further into my sheets, dampening them with sweat. Finally, I could take no more. I rose from the bed and, without looking outside, terrified of meeting the cricket’s eye, shut the window and drew the curtains.

The room became dark and warmer. I returned to bed. Still, I couldn’t sleep. I shifted my body uncomfortably—

That was it: my body: uncomfortable.

I stopped moving yet the discomfort remained, intensified.

And the sound…

The sound of one cricket chirping grew, no longer on the other, foreign, side of my bedroom window, but on this, my side, in my side, in me!

“I will have to modify my clothes,” I thought. “But will I find a tailor?”

It hardly mattered.

Perhaps I would wear no clothes at all. Perhaps that’s what had become of me. I chirped this way until morning, no longer dreaming of spies on intergalactic cruisers.


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