For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“A Brief History of Fire”

Jennifer Vanderbes


In winter, halfway to the hospital in Little Rock, Emily Anne Lambert was born.

The first months were like a fever dream; days slid into the swirl of night; my body was her captive. At the slightest cry from across the room, milk rushed my breasts. She latched on to me, gasping, in a fit of madness, then drank greedily; afterwards, conquered, spellbound, I gazed at her red–lipped face. Leaning in to smell her breath – sweet and sour – I'd press my mouth to hers.

My happiness was so deep I was afraid to speak of it.

Luke offered to watch her so that I could leave the house and glimpse the real world, but I refused. I wrapped us in blankets and in the grey afternoon light she nursed on the porch; day after day we watched the winter days slowly lengthen, until, in March, I put her in the car seat for the first time and we went for groceries.

We read it in Granta 122: Betrayal.