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Issue 128Short Fiction

Francine (draft for the September lecture)

Translated by Sue Burke

As a consequence of the scarlet fever, Francine’s skin became covered by a rash. In certain spots, her skin became scaly, swollen, and gangrenous. Six days into the illness, a finger began to putrefy, the little finger of the right hand. On that day, Descartes repeated incessantly: “Nothing that I think makes sense if I can do nothing when my daughter loses a finger.” Franciscus answered, “A finger is just a finger. Let us proceed.” And that is when it all began.

Issue 128Short Fiction


I turned away with my face in my hands, but my eyes met again with Buddha’s gaze and I remembered that Aethra was a specialist in deriving anthropomorphic reactions from the absolute absence of consciousness. I turned again towards the window. It was looking me in the eyes. As I lowered mine, I noticed the small plate on the pedestal: Imaginary Self. That kind of humor was beyond me.

Issue 128Short Fiction


My spirit aches. Reality is severed. I’m trapped in a glass room. Time is water, streaming by. I’m underwater in the current of time, watching time float by. My hand on the room’s thick glass, unable to shatter it, unable to get out. Even if I escape, time will drown me.

Issue 128Short Fiction

The synchronism of touch

I breathed in. It had a complex smell with many layers. I sniffed until I sneezed. It reminded me of luxury fragrances composed of many aromas and varying notes. But these fragrances only become perceivable with time, whereas the flower’s essence was, let’s say, simultaneous. There was the scent of vanilla and dust, of sand and musk, of the damp of a cave, of salt and blood.