Skip to main content

Baby Blue Garment





This piece was featured in "The Den Anthology" by Grey Wolf Publishing. It's a collection of short story contest winners compiled over the last year. Grey Wolf is an excellent publishing house in the midwest that has dedicated itself to getting little-known authors like myself on to the printed page and into the hands of readers all over the world. They also offer workshop services and a number of other opportunities to help burgeoning writers find their voice via the pen. Check them out here and hey maybe buy the book, ey?

The buzzing electrical motors and simultaneous hammering of a hundred sewing needles made a hectic but numbing atmosphere. Even in such crowded conditions, the workers were careful never to let their weary eyes meet those of the people around them, especially the overseers that stalked the roads looking to make a brutal example of his absolute authority. The heavy air hung stagnant with sweat and fear.
 Their worn out bodies were vulnerable to the infectious diseases that ran rampant through the workforce. Piali had worked at the factory for nearly four months. She hadn’t seen the sun once in that time. She was part of her machine; she had to feed in the fabric and press the peddle with her foot. She performed the repetitive task with mechanical precision. One error in the stitching, a single inconsistency in the hem and she would be discarded.
The operators of the machines were far more easily replaced than the machines themselves. It was part of Piali’s job to make sure it always ran, to assure that motor was always humming. Their blood was what fueled the comfortable illusion of childhood for those who were insulated from the suffering that was the foundation of modern life. 
When they hugged their dolls, they would never think of the children whose pain created the merchandise that symbolized their parent’s love.
She kept her head low and her eyes down at her hands to avoid the piercing gaze of the overseers. Piali was pregnant, and she feared somehow he would know. Pregnancy would render her useless to him, and she would be condemned to starve among the hordes of emaciated and destitute bodies haunting the areas around the factory. Their decaying bodies putrefied in the streets. They were refuse, just meals for stray dogs and insects. 
Piali finished the stitching on yet another baby blue pajamas designed for a plastic infant. She had stitched together thousands of these garments; she wondered how many prosthetic children could have been manufactured.
She clutched the soft cloth article in her hand. She remembered the child her sister had. She was born small enough for the dolls clothes to fit her. Her life had been brief, though. She lived long enough to feel the torments of starvation, crying futility for a mother whose body was being ravaged by infection. It was a brief and brutal existence, and she knew she couldn't expect anything much different.
A sharp pain tore through her. She cringed and clenched her torso. She felt warm blood streaming on her thigh. Her baby was gone. She crossed her legs and hoped no one would notice the growing stain. She threw the garment she had just sewn into the waiting plastic bin and began to stitch together a new one, a new outfit for a synthetic child who would be afforded far more in its imaginary life than her real child could ever have.


Popular posts from this blog

Ghosts in the Memories

It was a bright and mild morning. A few billowing white clouds drifted lazily across the ocean blue sky, the gentle sun reflected off the dew coated grass and flowers, giving the world a shimmer. A human stream filled the streets and sidewalks as the city rose to life.
One lonely widower had a different reaction to the beautifully emerging day.
Hibiki closed the shutters on his windows, locked the door, and sat his tired old body into a reclining chair in front of a blaring television. To Hibiki, the day’s crystal sky was a dark omen and a visceral reminder of that horrific moment all those decades ago when a flash of light took away 100,000 people.
Hibiki had been there when it happened. He was a doctor at the time, and while the bomb canceled the workday for most everyone else for people in Hibiki’s line of work, there was an additional layer of hell to endure.
“Please...Please..help my daughter!” Hibiki could hear a woman pleading from the street below. With a trembling hand, he pi…

Science and Semantics

Leonard Malcon Warner was one of the God’s that reigned over the modern industry of information. The dimensions of his wealth were such that if any of it shifted in any direction, it made ripples in the economies of entire nations. His investment decisions could irreparably alter the lives of the millions unaware their personal destinies were so bound by the whims of wealth.
Aging happens gradually then suddenly all at once!
Before he knew it, Leonard was leaving the middle years of his life behind. He repeated every futile attempt to reclaim his youth. The cosmetics, the surgeries, and the models were all expressions of the same tragic realization, Leonard was getting old.
LMW hadn't become one of the wealthiest men by accepting any sentence handed down from fate, even if it was what natural law demanded. Warner had a panoramic view of the world, and he understood what moved it. People like him. Reality need never be an impediment to human will.
Science is the most effective tool…

Decay Was The Smelling Salt

(Source: The Verge http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/18/7235895/seeing-i-artist-to-spend-a-month-in-virtual-reality)

Captain Ravensheart commanded a flying machine crafted in the image of the iconic vessels that dominated the waves during the age of sail. His wood and steel propeller powered colossus sailed across the boundless blue sky like it was open ocean.

The enormous vessel moved nimbly and quietly through the fluffy white clouds, its esteemed captain, and loyal crew never losing their footing even during the sharpest and most sudden turns.

The valiant captain was engaged in a life or death struggle with the demon admiral Schaden.

Schaden was a spirit that inhabited the corpse of a Nazi submariner who hunted his human prey beneath the waves nearly a century ago.  Schaden starred at Ravensheart, with eyes that glowed like a hellish inferno. He peeled back the rotting flesh on his lips to reveal razor-like teeth. He was a horrific jigsaw of nightmares.

The worse part though was the…