by Angela Sylvaine
Mama lay on the kitchen table, screaming until her voice was no more than a bullfrog’s croak, the midwife’s soft words no comfort. After a full rise and fall of the blistering sun, my baby sister, Clover, came. When she opened her mouth and cried, the clouds gathered and released a torrent of rain on the parched land. Mama died smiling, with a crimson Clover in her arms.
I would’ve liked to see Clover smile, too, but Daddy said God sent her for a bigger purpose, one that required suffering. Each day we’d poke her or pull her hair to make her cry, and the rain would come. Crops grew and we all had enough to eat and drink, even the dogs and horses. But it took more and more to make Clover cry, punches and kicks and long pins. The townsfolk each took a turn, each did their part.
Then Clover couldn’t stop crying, even whimpered in her sleep like a starving kitten searching for her mama’s teat. The rain poured down until it flooded the fields and choked the roads and uprooted houses. Daddy took her out back and buried her; made sure to fill her little mouth with dirt.
The rain stopped but I still heard Clover crying. We all did. Daddy tried stabbing those same pins in his ears, and it stopped every other sound but her. I buried him, too, to stop him screaming. Now I wait for blessed starvation, Clover’s cries my only company.
Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, an homage to 1980s slashers and mall culture, is available now. Her poetry has appeared in Monstroddities and Under Her Skin, and her short fiction has appeared in various publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and What One Wouldn’t Do. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.