Natalie Morrill is a student in UBC's Creative Writing MFA program. She has contributed short stories and poems to various university-based literary journals, as well as to the Lake Effect 4 anthology from Artful Codger Press, and the Writer's Digest 2012 Short Story Competition Collection. Her stories often showcase love, death, the diversity of human strangeness, and small animals.
The child had a thought like a nail through the sole of her foot, stuck. The hatted aunt with lips like scrambled egg looked at the child but could not see the thought; she saw only the child, staring into the corner at the floor where, the hatted aunt proved with a glance, there was nothing except off-yellow off-white smears six inches up from the floor, and dust.
Are you hungry at all, she said to the child.
But the staring seated child with the thought like a nail through the sole of her foot went sit, sit, sit.
So the hatted aunt with lips like scrambled egg and eyes like boiled eggs sat and watched the wall.
The uncle of the child came now tall and smear-coloured from the office halfway down the hall, and he said to the hatted aunt, Thank you for waiting. If we hurry we can make it there by seven. And the hatted aunt said, I wish we had gone to your – and the child could not hear what the hatted aunt said to the uncle after that, for she said it with her face hidden behind her hat and her mouth hidden up against the uncle’s smear-coloured coat.
The uncle said, Come Emily, and he reached his sallow fingers out at the child until she peered up from the thought she was having, and laid her hand in his fingers to hold. She followed the uncle into the elevator and the hatted aunt followed after them.