Megan Hunter, author of the novel The End We Start From, published an original short story in ''Bomb'' magazine this month. It's first two lines:
"What was the earth like?
My sister asks this every night, leaning back on her pillow."
HERE IS THE FULL TEXT (c)2019 Megan Hunter
The Madeleine Machine
by Megan Hunter
A small electrical shock to my hand, the fingers lifting in an involuntary dance. My skin has never got used to this, even if the rest of me has.
I buy the flights in a small, cluttered office on the street that leads to the train station. I book with an obscure airline; the return leg is on the first anniversary of September 11th. (Watch it.) That’s okay though, it made the tickets cheaper. That’s good. And I cycle back to my house that day—downhill—feeling the sea air rushing through my long hair, making it fly out behind me. The sea air is … salty, then, and full of birds squawking. In the mornings, birds land on the roof of my house—my room is in the attic—and scratch it with their feet. (Stay positive.) I like waking up to them. It makes everything sound busy and alive.
Mum has been in the hospital for a week already; her blood pressure has gone too high. She is an older mother, much older than most, especially now. It has been ten years since she had me, easily, flawlessly, according to her story. It was hardly pain, she told me once.
The beeping again, the mildest of shocks through my fingers, like static. He is feeling patient today. But I remember his tone last week. I can hear him stretch in his chair, flick through his papers. I keep my eyes on the ground. I nod my head. I’m ready.
(Get straight into it.) It is such a sunny day; the whole hospital corridor is filled with liquid light, a brightness that seems to enter my heart. I am warm, almost alight, my steps so quick across the floor I think I might slip. The door is open; I know this is a good sign before I even get there, so the last of my steps are just pure anticipation, pure waiting, no fear left, the open door—
A low hum from the machine; almost a purr, a sound of pleasure, a growling efficiency. I can hear him sitting back in his chair, the rub of his back in the leather. I try to concentrate. I am doing well: he doesn’t even need to say it.
The other children come out in a parade of voices, of jubilation. Only one or two drag their feet, look tired or worse.
Megan Hunter’s first novel, The End We Start From, has been translated into seven languages.