Issue Twenty-Eight - Summer 2016

The Afflicted

By Charles O’Hay

R was born a clock. In the beginning his parents had to wind him every two hours. Nobody slept. Then the treatments started to work. Within a month he was a calendar. The doctors said he’d only last a year. But every day he proves them wrong.

J awoke with a pain in her side. Doctors found a small village on her pancreas. Each day the villagers planted turnips in her loamy soil and sang. On harvest day everyone wore red.

L noticed his feet begin to swell. Dancing became painful. Soon he could no longer wear shoes or toe his name in the sand. X-rays showed a series of broken promises up to the ankles. He gets wheeled about by a nurse named Truth.

P could not stop weeping. He switched from whiskey to wine and slept in the pocket of his raincoat. One day he awoke at sea, without so much as a lighthouse. A bird landed on his prow. It was the first time he’d laughed in forever.

E wanted to know why the stars did not become dizzy when they looked at her. The doctor wrote a number on a slip of paper and placed it in her hand. She should be out by June. In time for the fireflies.

Copyright O’Hay 2016