The Sky as John Saw It the Night Kate Sparkled

Molly Gaudry



The sky rolled up and fell through the hole in Kate's roof and bounced from her forehead and floated to the floor, upon which it made a crinkly sound as it brushed the hem of her bed skirt. As it brushed the hem of her bed skirt, she sat up and said, "Who's there?"

"Who's there?" she said. She said it one more time, then got out of bed and found the rolled up sky hiding behind a plant stand holding ivy. Behind the plant stand holding ivy, she bent, and the rolled up sky trembled when she picked it up. She picked it apart and it resisted when she tried to unroll it. She tried to unroll it and it sighed. It sighed wide open and the stars exploded in her face.

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John was long gone by then but he had a telescope trained on Kate's attic, and he saw the whole thing happen, and as it happened he screamed.

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Kate turned and looked out the window but couldn't see.

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By the time John rowed to her window and climbed through, Kate was nothing but a pile of sparkling.

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He swept her into the flattened sky and rolled it up. He rolled it up and climbed back through the window the way he'd come, but he slipped getting his footing in the rowboat, and the rowboat tottered and the rolled up sky unraveled and Kate's remains fell upside-down into the empty space above in which the moon and the sun played hide-and-go-seek. Seek and ye shall find, John's mother used to say. John's mother used to say, You're such a good boy, Jackie. You're such a tall, strong, dark, handsome young man, Jackie. You're all I have in this world, Jackie.

His mother's recent death had not prepared him for Kate's. Kate's remains in the rolled up sky in his hands had been hot, and the rain had sizzled, and the rolled up sky in his hands had sogged heavy like corn starch mixed with water. Look Mother, it's running. It wasn't running. It was solid. It was a solid liquid, running, not running, heavy, sogging mess in his hands, and his mother had said, Just look at what you've done, Jackie, you've ruined my best rug. The rug was red and black. Kate's hair was red. His mother's was black. The moon is red like Kate's hair was red, the sun is black like his mother's rug was red and black, but the red and black rug wasn't really ruined and Kate's not really dead: "Who's there?"





Molly Gaudry's writing appears or is forthcoming in Lamination Colony, Quick Fiction, Word Riot, and Hobart, among others. She co-edits Twelve Stories, solo-edits Willows Wept Review and Willows Wept Press, and she is a recent addition to the editorial team at Keyhole Magazine.

'The Sky as John Saw It the Night Kate Sparkled' originally appeared at Here Explodes My Giant Face as a video reading.