Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 19

—I tried. I remember reaching, it was in my pocket, but I couldn’t, I couldn’t pull it free. It was stuck, and then, and then.

Sebastian stopped. Put his fork down. Two smears on the tablecloth.

—I want to tell you that I tried. I want to tell you that I had my fingers in my pocket but the button was stuck. I want to tell you that I ripped the button off in my attempts and the noise of it skittering across the ground was louder even than the train whistle. I want to tell you that I thought everything will be all right if I can just. But it was so fast. My heart had seized and I had fallen and by that time it was too late. And I don’t remember.

Sebastian placed his hands on the table and looked down at his bowl and Rice reached out for his hand but stopped. Instead she masked the move by reaching again for her fork, picked it up, slowly resumed eating. After a moment, he did too. Together, they ate in silence.

—I like what you’ve done with the garden, he said.

—I tried, she countered. Nothing takes. Just, potatoes.

—Potatoes are still something.

Not for long. She pushed the bowl, now empty, toward the edge of the placemat. Rim teetered on the lip but she did not let it tip over. There was a scare, a while ago, maybe a year, maybe two. Produce that came down from the farms up north, contaminated. Or at least suspected contaminated. That a community had gotten sick, poisoned, cancerous even, epidemic just took out half their population at a go and they, apparently, shared a food source with us so, so the Mayor he. She paused again, drummed her fingers on the porcelain. He ordered the produce destroyed. And they burned it in a bonfire just outside of town. All those vegetables.

Morgan Fox | 19