Security by LiAnn Yim

Nov 21 2013

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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