For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Limbs of Osiris”

Brian Patrick Eha


First Runner Up, The Short Form Story Contest, Spring 2013.

Full Story

We're covering Pvt. Valley from small arms fire in the Afghan mountains when an enemy mortar impacts right next to him. He's there one second and then a geyser of dirt and fire occludes him and he's down and there doesn't seem to be enough of him anymore. The MEDEVAC chopper is already inbound as we crawl over to him. Everyone else is returning fire from behind a bunch of skinny trees. We're trying to gather Pvt. Valley together and lift him onto the stretcher. It's like trying to gather the limbs of Osiris. The MEDEVAC chopper is closing in and now is hovering above the mountain and now is settling lower, suspended motionless above our heads like a dragonfly. The noise is terrific. All the dust is lifting up.

The journalist who's been dodging bullets with us comes up with her absurd huge black camera in her hand and her face all smeared with dirt and asks as nicely as she can if she can take pictures of Pvt. Valley. The platoon sergeant just stares at her and says Yeah, okay because this isn't even Valley anymore, it's just an object we're trying to lift into a chopper that keeps coming apart in our hands, it's a problem of mechanics really, the atomized parts of the man we're not supposed to leave behind keep sifting through our fingers. So we're struggling with the body and the chopper's blades are confining us in a funnel of dust and all the while this bitch journalist's camera is going rapid-fire, clickclickclick, like a revolver cycling on empty, God knows where her pictures will end up, documenting something that isn't even here anymore.