Jan/Feb 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 1 2021 Kenyon Review Short Fiction ContestJanuary 11, 2022 |

The Bat Inspector

The first bat came in the winter, flapped out of a dream and into the nursery. It veered left at the crib and tangled with the fan. In a frenzy, it circled the room faster and faster, shooting into the hall and into the bedroom, where it smacked Thomas, who had been sleeping, in the head. He was upstairs in a new house while his wife, Michelle, slept downstairs with their newborn. Thomas preferred his quiet bed to the cries of their baby, tempered only by their dog, who barked at the stars. “Getting some sleep will make me a better dad,” he said. Michelle smiled tightly, cursing the biology that ruled out sleep for new moms. At first, Thomas thought he was dreaming. The bat circled in the night sky of the bedroom, its long thumbs sparkling in the moonlight. It wasn’t until it collided with him a second time and he felt the rubbery wings and the hairy torso against his skin that he opened his blurry eyes. Sensing danger and hiding, the bat concealed itself in darkness. It tuc

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