Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Brackenheit Fly

There are, at least, and at last count (not including the oval variety, or the short green cylinders, and discarding the data collated from the Sundial Entomological Bank [with the notable exception of the esteemed Yellow Press data], as well as the information taken from the insect index, excluding the Gotberg Pine appendix) around three hundred and fifty longstrung balls nestling within the lower abdomen of the Brackenheit Fly.

Found within the eastern region of the Gitchlan Valley, just south of the Bolturn Range, the Brackenheit Fly is celebrated for its brightly coloured wings which, at their fullest span, reach to an incredible nine inches, having the effect of making the fly appear considerably bigger than it actually is - an illusion that has earned the insect the epithet ‘Jiglanflune’ (Giant Fly) among the peoples of the Gitchlan Valley.

Named after Rudolf Johann Brackenheit, the Austrian entomologist who first discovered and classified the species in the latter part of the nineteenth century, the Brackenheit Fly stands apart from other, similar, types of flying insects by way of the strange, high-pitched wailing sound it emits while in flight, particularly during descent, in times of distress and during those apparently brief, but frequently recurring moments when the fly feels lonely and unloved.

Perhaps the most unusual characteristic of the Brackenheit Fly, however (and one that has been overlooked by generations of entomologists), is its unerring, unwavering ability to find its way back to its nest, no matter how far or convoluted its travels may have been and regardless of whether it has received the required liquid nourishment one might reasonably expect a flying insect of this type to have taken in.

To the peoples of the Gitchlan Valley, the Brackenheit Fly is something of an icon, its image adorning all manner of religious and secular paraphernalia, the most outstanding occurrence of which is a crudely rendered likeness of the fly above the entrance to the Great Bashlan Church where its enormous wingspan has been used to form what, on first sight, appears to be an approximation of the Christian crucifix.

The Brackenheit Fly is most visible during the summer months on account of its as yet unexplained craving for light, something that is in plentiful supply in and around the Gitchlan Valley between March and August when the brightness of the sun is strong enough to bleach the grass and cause permanent blindness to those who are foolhardy enough to gaze up into the sky without the protection of sunglasses.

Although many attempts have been made to breed the Brackenheit Fly outside of its natural habitat (most usually in Europe), none have been successful due to the fact that the insect’s reproductive organs seem to be specifically attuned to the particular and unusual qualities of the heavy air found in the Gitchlan Valley which is notable for its high density of iron, carbohydrates, snow, moltrains, cusk and the scent of passing strangers.


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