For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Old Woman”

Luis Bernardo Honwana


I swear I never really lost consciousness, although just before falling down I experienced that slowing-down of sensations which, when it seizes us, restricts our capacity for self defence to those purely instinctive and stupidly slow gestures we all recognise in a groggy boxer. I think no one could estimate the tremendous effort I made in those long or perhaps brief moments to control my fists — brutally heavy before they regained movement, and floundering unbelievably after I raised them. Meanwhile, the blows I was receiving produced no corresponding physical sensation, because I was aware of them only through a fading echo slowly reverberating through my head. This cursed echo, and it alone, was responsible for my fall — for it confused me terribly, making me force myself to think of lifting my arm before I could lift it. I fell slowly, fully conscious that I was falling.