by Helen Chambers
The hole in the kitchen window is shaped the same way Daddy writes the ‘v’ in my name, Evie, like a heart. Mammy says we can’t afford to fix the window, so she’s stuck brown cardboard over it to keep the Black-Masks out.
A heart’s for love.
The Black-Masks shot the window-heart with their guns and they hurt Daddy’s legs. Mammy says they won’t come back again. But I’m the only one who can see the Black-Masks following me, then hiding when I turn round, like Grandmother’s Footsteps.
Black-Masks have no eyes, just cut out circles where their eyes should be, like ‘O’s. Some nights I dream the guns bang again, and I try not to shout, cos Mammy’s got enough troubles.
Daddy used to sing ‘Evie Girl’ when I was frightened. Mammy says I’ll have to be quiet when he comes back from the hospital.
Mammy says don’t talk about the Black-Masks.
I peel away the cardboard and whisper to Daddy through the heart-hole, so the Black-Masks can’t hear. I sing Evie Girl, very quietly, and say, ‘Come home soon, Daddy, come home soon.’
Helen is a writer from North East Essex, UK. She won the Fish Short Story in 2018 and was nominated for Best Microfictions in 2019 and a Pushcart Prize in 2021. She writes flash and short stories and you can read some of her publications at: helenchamberswriter.wordpress.com.