The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Chapter three: Her very own hell

Rachael Conlin Levy
Photo courtesy of Smileykt

Because her luck died in the bedroom, it was here she felt the first lick of fire and sizzled skin. The bad luck curled through the room like smoke, choking and strangling her until she woke, smothered by the blankets and babies and man. (There were too many penises!) She clawed her way out of her claustrophobia and went in search of her daughter. The tiny girl was sleeping nearby on the floor, and, sighing in relief at the familiar shape and smell of the girl’s small body, she lay down and slept again.

But under the dark cover of sleep, her breasts were discovered by her daughter, who nuzzled and greedily drank the milk, as sunny and sweet as ripe strawberries. Waking to the gulps and tugs, she slapped the girl away and ended up waking her cherubs too. First one and then the other sent up sharp cries of protest when they discovered their milk missing. The husband woke and cursed. The children wailed. She yelled. And the balls of words smoldered and exploded in flame.

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