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(A short story of 2557 words)

Something Vital Fell Through


by Char March

A disabled girl's view on her parents trying to run a small-holding in Norfolk.

It was me shoving myself out, then changing my mind, then trying to get back, then coming out backside first, that started it. I dislocated Mum’s pelvis, and tore her – about three inches, for it was just before we all went decimal.

She said: You were dark purple, and you already had six teeth.

Dad said: Shame about the things you didn’t manage to grow.

No mid-wife available – they said. They never come out to anyone who lives in the lanes. It’s as if all of them at the Norwich & Norfolk Hospital sit on their hill-island surrounded by faded maps labelled Here Be Dragons. After all, every ambulance driver has his memories of returning, palsied and mute, after hours of wandering lost in lanes so narrow both hedges squealed along their sides; of wincing at every blind corner – expecting to be impaled on the bale-prong of a tractor… or the horns of the Minotaur. The lanes are as bad as any Cretan maze to them, for each endless hedge stands higher than their quavering blue top-light, and is rooted in a landscape so flat the Earth doesn’t even dare curve here. How is a body ever to find their way out?

And it’s true – we are difficult to find. Even I get lost – frequently – on my way back from school. It’s as if any homing radar I have was faulty from the off. I am a Friday model – slammed together just before knocking-off time in my genetic factory. But, in terms of my homing radar, I choose to think it is deliberate sabotage...

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