The cult section of the literary world

Flash Fiction Friday: Wife Cell

by Gary J. Shipley

I get they want their babies back, but she’s my wife, been that way for 40 years, and it’s not like she took them or wanted them or needed them then, and the sudden slack flesh of their stomachs ain’t proof of her crime any more than her own skin struck saturate with unborn babies, ‘cause it weren’t her that vanished them from their mothers or grew herself with them, made herself room-sized, immobile, who inseminated her unused womb with all them borrowed fetal lumps, and even though doctors have said they cannot be removed, if they come apart they come apart dead, still there’s graffiti and rocks and the hollow-bellies squirming in lines of ragged tents across the street, so I’ve had to arm my adopted boys, have them watch the doors and windows while I watch my sprawling wife from the ever-narrowing edge of her room, listen to her recite nursery rhymes in her sleep, her insides full of eye-less mute material that won’t ever be returned, and clear her of the bugs and spiders, and the cats I find suffocated in the folds of her stomach, holding my breath as I scrape their furless rot-covered bone into bags, and the cobwebs keep coming, half-filling a room in a night if we ever sleep that long, and there’s no distraction from it, nothing else but the stolen embryos and our TV stuck on The Wizard of Oz, all channels day and night and the boys still scared by the oddness of the colour, and prone to accidents when the green witch comes to see them, but they’re not scared of her, of her arms or her legs that lie there like dead snakes, and that she cannot move her head, and that her eyes have rolled back out of view does nothing to dissuade them from crawling across her rutted surface for a spattering of head kisses and the broken surface of her breath.


Gary J. Shipley is amazing.

One response

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