THIS HEATBats are flying around on the third floor again. Trapped. We live on a hill, so the height attracts them. Like a belfry. My husband is gone again. The beans he planted in the garden during the full moon are wilting. I’m not tending to the new shoots in this July heat. Like the jungle, he says, this heat. The news is bad lately. More troops killed this month than in any other. I keep the paper away from him, but he watches the reports on TV. This new war brings the old one back. In his sleep, he fights with the chain that hangs from the overhead bedroom light. He is always waging some past battle. Sometimes his hands find my throat. He leaves after these episodes. To be alone. At least he doesn’t wander the streets, like some. Doesn’t get lost permanently. He always comes back. Till then, I live with the bats. They flutter their wings of skin against the screens, while I lie in bed, staring up at the ghost of a light.
by Tara L. Masih
by Tara L. Masih
When I first read this, I immediately went back to The Red Convertible. There are some obvious connections, but instead of it being between two brothers, it is between a wife and her husband. This gives us another view to consider. We never really realize how many people are affected by certain actions. In this case, the wife (who is nameless) is struggling to keep her family together. She tries to hide the war from her husband, but he finds information about it anyway and it brings him back to when he was in the war. "Sometimes his hands find my throat," reminds me of when the eldest brother jumped into the river. They are not coming out and saying, he chokes me or he committed suicide, they are letting the reader experience the act, but describing it in a delicate manner. It's very effective in making the reader really "feel" the work and become a part of the work.
As we talked about with the Red Convertible, the government plays a huge role in both stories, yet it is not mentioned at all. "This new war brings the old one back." That statement is very powerful and it gives this feeling of empathy toward the narrator, we want to help her, we feel for her, but we can't do anything because everything has already been done. Within these two stories, you feeling a sensation of defeat like, "Okay government, you win, take over," which leads to novels like Feed and Brave New World.
Flash Fiction is an interesting genre, though it is very new, I think that it will be a great addition to the literature family. I like this story because they say so much without saying too much at all. It is much like poetry, where every word counts and in Flash Fiction, I feel like every word counts.