Short Story Preview: Sai-Ko – Gabriela Harding
First I heard Mother’s scream.
Then the thump, a horrible splat like a watermelon bursting.
Alex and I race each other to the front of the building, but it’s too late: the sheet, a flutter of white in the still summer air, has already landed on the object of our curiosity.
A dead body. People surround it: curious, rat-like, armed with fans and sunhats. Think with Alex’s brain, Carmen. Think: broken back, check; broken neck, check; open skull fracture, check; check; check.
Daddy bought a giant watermelon for the midsummer feast. He carried it all the way to the car, and there, when he relaxed his hold for just a second, searching for his keys, it slipped from his hands and burst open.
Daddy: Puta madre!
After two years in Spain, Daddy still swears in Spanish.
Alex: What does puta madre mean?
Me: It means your mother is a whore.
The lady has dark hair and the crack on her head is like the crack on a burst watermelon: lightning shaped and full of juice. The juice sizzles on the hot pavement like eggs in a pan.
Me: Do you get vertigo when you throw yourself off a building?
Alex: I don’t know, why?
I point out the mushy puddle spread across the faded chalk lines of a hopscotch.
Alex: That’s her brains.
Me: Would you like to cut her open? Find the cause of death?
Alex: I’m not as sick as you.
Me: Who says I’m sick?