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That noise you hear is Chester. It’s the sound of two size eleven steel-toed boots running down a hallway. The front door opens and closes roughly. Outside an engine sounds. A white jeep Cherokee pulls out onto the street and tires spin as it heads left down the highway. Away. But that’s not so important. What’s important is the girl he left behind. And the baby. They are sitting in the corner of the back room of the house. The girl holds the baby tightly, attempting to soothe it. The baby’s face reddens as the eyes squint more tightly shut and its mouth contorts as if figuring out how to release its anger in sound. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” the girl says to the baby – she’s not so much a girl as a young woman, uncertain of what to do next. Sweat forms on her brow. “He’s gone. He won’t be back. We don’t have to -” The girl’s voice is interrupted as the baby finally finds his voice. The shrill cry rings out and the girl jumps as something explodes in the distance. The baby’s cry fades and soon it yawns and falls asleep, smiling sweetly. The girl lays the baby down, her hands shaking as she goes to look out the window. She sees the wreckage of the white jeep Cherokee a ways down the road and looks back towards the room. She wonders what would happen if she tried to leave. She considers it for a moment, then lets the curtain fall back over the window. During the evening feeding, she sees in the news that all that had been left of Chester were the steel plates in his shoes.

NOTE: The brief narrative above was brought to you by TZ Books and The Bite-Size Fiction Project, created by Dave Baldwin and Sheila Lee Brown (this particular one is a Sheila-story). The results of this project are bite-size story morsels for short attention spans. These tidbits are sometimes fun, sometimes weird…but always short!


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