by L. P. Lee; illustration by Rocky Kelley
Lying in bed, Sujin could hear the shick-shick-shick of its whirring knives. It was helping itself to the bread and butter again. It had already carved up the French baguette into several stale chunks, and now it was slicing through a brick of butter. She could imagine the butter melting against the blade, leaving oily marks on the metal. P’ching! The toaster sang. The slices of bread would be hot and golden. Whirr-whirr went its wheels as it glided across the kitchen and picked up the bread. Now it would be spreading the butter, neatly and quickly. And now it was raising the food to its mouth and chomping on it slowly, deliberately.
Sujin knew its routine fairly well by now. It happened once a fortnight or so. Playing human, as her gyemo* called it. She could hear it growing restless downstairs. It was becoming agitated again. When would it learn? She could hear it gliding to the dustbin and regurgitating the bread and butter. She could hear it wheeling around in circles for a full minute. Then it went to the sink and began scrubbing its knives ferociously. Sujin shrank in her bed and pulled the covers up to her face. She glanced at the clock on the wall: it was 4 AM. It was always 4 AM when this happened….
* A gyemo is one way of saying a stepmother – this particular word has slightly negative connotations
(full story expired at author request)
About the Author
Born to a British father and South Korean mother, L. P. Lee grew up somewhere in between South London and South Korea. A Sinologist and Anthropologist by training, today Lee works in digital media.
This story has previously appeared in a print anthology in 2014.
More by the Author
The Feast (upcoming in The Fabulist 2015), Hibakusha (Eastlit 2015, a feature in Groove Magazine 2015), The White Fox (Eastlit 2015), The Man Root (Eastlit 2015, covered in Groove Magazine 2014), House of Locks (Rousing Reads and HelloHorror 2015), Call of the Cicadas (Litro 2014).
World’s Shortest Author Interview
Is it okay to catch panfish? You know, like, deliberately?
I had to look up what panfish are, so I’m not a guru on this… But it does seem perhaps unethical to catch the small ones. Just give them a chance 🙂
What’s your favorite imaginary color?
Majoola: urban light filtering through your curtains at night.
She lay awake in the majoolan light.
Rocky Kelley is an award-winning artist and muralist whose paintings have appeared in magazines, galleries, art shows, Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogs, and even on The David Letterman Show. Rocky’s numerous awards include the Director’s Award at the 2006 World Fantasy Art Show. Kelley works in many genres, including: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Surrealism… and more. He has appeared as a guest of honor, panelist, demonstrator, judge, and exhibitor at countless conventions and art events. Recently he was voted Best Artist by the fans at Armadillocon 37. Many of his dark fantasy works are created under the pseudonym of “Ashen Gray.” Rocky has written his first book and is currently creating illustrations for that project. His artwork may be viewed at www.rockykelley.com.