The scruffy young panhandler sat on the busy sidewalk suckling a fractious infant. When I dropped a coin in her pot, the baby reached for my fingers. Distracted by the tiny hand and abandoned breast, I lingered for a moment too long.
“Alan?” she said as I tried to leave.
Alan Kemister is a retired scientist experimenting with more fictitious writing. See the gory details at alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com.
“You have me,” he said, the promise reflected in his eyes. She believed him.
That was a year ago. He’d lied.
Now she held her screaming newborn in her arms, breasts raw from another failed feeding. “Shhh,” she whispered near his little ear. “I’m here. I will always be here.”
Zurina Saban is a poet and author based in Johannesburg.
The house’s weathered “For Sale” sign sways over the brown remains of the lawn. A cold wind licks at my bare feet. The crying grows louder.
I enter the basement where the infant’s body lay for months, abandoned in death as in life. An icy breath suckles at my breast.
Jayne Martin’s work has appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, Blink Ink, Literary Orphans, Flash Frontier, F(r)iction, Sick Lit, and Hippocampus, among others. She is the author of “Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry.” Find her at injaynesworld.blogspot.com and on Twitter.