Archive for November, 2013

Security by LiAnn Yim

Nov 21 2013 Published by under Stories

The soldiers who came for us had their orders in the form of stamped papers out in their hands. They let us read them over. Take as long as you like, they said. The soldiers were trained to stand still for hours and walk for hours and they were doing the first part very well in our kitchen. Our home was too small for them to form any sort of phalanx or regimented line, so they had to stand in an islanded knot, between the table and the oven and the sink.

We read their orders carefully. The words moved around on the page, disordered, and we had to decode them. This took a long time; the words kept multiplying. The refrigerator turned on its hum twice in the time that we did this.

Then we finished reading. The soldiers had come to take us away, so they did. They were well-trained in carrying out their orders. Our baby was in the next room, sleeping, and though everything was kept very quiet, he woke up as we were being escorted out.

The baby started crying, and crying. We knew its cries. This was a mix between a hungry cry and the mysterious cry. The one that sounded older than it should. Sounded like the baby had a reason for crying, but we just didn’t know what it was and he didn’t even know what it was. The cry was too big and strange to name.

Please, wait, our baby, we said. There’s no one home to watch him. How long will it take to sort this out? We can’t leave him.

Their leader said, You can’t take the baby with you. We don’t have any orders about taking the baby, just you.

It’s OK, another soldier said. He went into the room. Perhaps he saw the baby, though perhaps he could not, since he didn’t go in and the crib obscured his view. The crying was beginning to swallow the world. He locked the baby’s door from the inside and walked back out again. The baby screamed. From behind the door, the baby grieved in the language of cats. No one can get in to him now, he said, the baby is secured.

LiAnn Yim received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. Her work has appeared in The Nation, fwriction : review, NANO Fiction, and Verse Kraken. She co-edits the speculative literary journal, The Golden Key, and tweets from @lkyim.

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Rivals by Jack Neasham

Nov 08 2013 Published by under Stories

Brothers  Stuart and Chris were competitive. But for a few days one summer, their rivalry took a worrying turn. Worrying too for Jack Kaye, who owned the corner shop.

Outside Kaye’s on Sunday morning, Stu shocked his younger brother by sharing the bar of chocolate he`d just pinched. Chris’s face went white. Stealing. Stu smiled at Chris’s horror. Said don’t be chicken.

Chris`s head rolled about all day at the insult. He could hardly sleep that night.

Monday morning, passing Kaye’s shop on their way to school together, Chris calmly picked up a bottle of milk from the crate, and walked on. Drinking the cream, then handing the bottle to his big brother. Stu burst out laughing, but Chris heard fear in it.

Jack’s checkout till was beside the doorway. The nerve. Right under his nose.

The following morning, Stu did exactly the same, keeping face.

On his way back from school, Chris called in to Jack’s, leaving with four chocolate bars, and the comic he`d paid for. He gave a bar to Stu, who could now see where this was going. Stu decided he’d bring it to a head, drop him in it.

“You had your jacket on. Bet you couldn’t do it without” said Stu.

“Bet you couldn’t either” replied the sly youngster.

On Wednesday night, Stu came out of the shop, jacketless, paying for a sherbert dab. He had a tin of sardines in his back trouser pocket. He thought Jack Kaye gave him a funny look, but had said nothing. Chris was not impressed.

“Sardines? You hate sardines. Why?”

“The chocolate was too big for my pocket. And Mrs Kaye was sniffin’ about”.

By Thursday both boys were feeling uneasy, especially Stuart. They agreed to call it a draw. That would be it. Finish.

Friday night was football at the youth club. Walking back home in his boots and footie strip, Chris called in to Kaye’s to buy a bottle of pop. In the shop, he tucked his shirt into his shorts and dropped a big bag of crisps inside the back of his shirt collar, heart racing as he walked past Jack at the checkout.

Advantage Chris, he thought, vowing never to tell anyone.

Jack Neasham is an elderly man living in north-east England.

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