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What the Shadows Bring

Yered Haber

In a rush of cold air and glass, the kitchen window fountained into the room. The baby! Suri dropped the spoon of applesauce. A goose’s head plunged through the flashing shards. Broad wings and body slammed into the pane with a solid, fleshy thud, filling the window and casting the kitchen into sudden darkness.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

abstract shadowFor a long second it was just her and the goose; her and an eye that held no light, no glistening reflection, only an absolute and intelligent blackness. The baby was gone, the glass was gone, the room was gone. The torn mouth opened slightly and revealed a long strip of pink tongue. The mouth opened wider …

… then the head shifted and with it that dark eye and their locked gaze broke. The moment was gone. The baby howled and the world thundered back into place, kitchen all sharp lines and yellow light.

Suri’s hand shot up toward the window, but gravity asserted itself before she made contact. The goose’s heavy bulk dropped away from the windowsill. The neck whiplashed as it snaked out and the bird’s head slapped against the jagged edges of glass. Then Suri was up and at the window, and she saw the dappled black-and-white form crumpled on the strip of dirt between bushes and apartment building.

Its wings were stretched to their full and its neck was curved. It looked beautiful, a painting, but lay very still. It looked dead.

The baby sobbed and Suri brushed at his head and face with trembling fingers. There was no trace of glass. She checked her turtleneck and skirt. They were untouched. Quickly, she unbuckled her baby and lifted him from his highchair. She ran down the hall, pulling her coat out of the closet as she went by, and wrapping it around the baby.

She threw open the front door and rushed down the steps. Turning left, she pressed into the bushes. Bony twigs scratched and skittered at her skirt. Then she was through.


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