Issue #73

Winter 2020

Three Stories

by Avra Margariti

Feline Companions

I'm having a tea party with an eclectic society of taxidermy kittens. They have the most delightful rose-decorated china set--not a chip or scratch on it.

As I use a syringe to pour tea into their tiny cups, I complain about the weather forecast. Their whiskers give commiserating shivers. The kittens say their bones, too, are always chilled.

They offer me one of the winter hats they've been knitting. I politely decline, since the red-wool bonnet would barely fit my pinky.

I look out the window at the empty driveway. My sigh sounds like the whistle of a kettle. "My children never visit," I say, petting the kittens' bristly heads. "What would I ever do without you?"

I eat some more cake, and cut miniature slices for my feline companions as well. They thank me profusely but say that not even crumbs can fit between the steel threads that stitch their mouths shut.


Cock Robin Is Dead

Cock Robin is dead, but if he was alive, Cock Robin would tell you that all those at his funeral are crying crocodile tears. He'd always been a strange bird, though given the chance his best mates would call him a dreamer with his head in the clouds. Those same mates now serve as Cock Robin's pallbearers. They carry his egg-blue ornate casket on hollow-boned, feathery shoulders, bent convincingly with grief. One of the pallbearers seeks the Widow Robin's beady eyes. She lowers her head and blows her beak into her monogrammed handkerchief to hide the way she stares at poor Cock Robin's best mate and pallbearer, the way her eyes spark; a magpie who just spotted a silver, shiny object.


Arithmetic For Bunnies

Inside Mr. Hare's classroom, Billy stares at the blackboard and sees squiggles of color. They are learning Basic Arithmetic for Bunnies, Mr. Hare pointing at each number with the end of his birch rod. Billy is particularly drawn to the numbers three and seven. They are a deep cobalt blue, the same color as the cover of his brand-new school notebook.

Billy leans toward his closest classmate across the slanted wood desks. "What color are the numbers to you?"

The other bunny stares at him, nose scrunched up and whiskers crooked in confusion. "What are you talking about? They're all white."

Billy opens his mouth to protest, but Mr. Hare looms over them, his birch coming to rest on the desk. Talking isn't allowed among pupils when Mr. Hare is in the classroom.

"Palms up," the teacher says, and, trembling inwardly, Billy complies.

The rod whooshes as it cuts through the air. Mr. Hare smiles coldly. "Get up there and show the class how to do long division."

Billy grips the white, powdery chalk in his stinging paws as he walks up to the blackboard. He reaches up, rising on tiptoe.

He writes, and he writes in color.

Author Bio

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Avra Margariti is a queer Social Work undergrad from Greece. She enjoys storytelling in all its forms and writes about diverse identities and experiences. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Daily Science Fiction, The Forge Literary, The Colored Lens, Argot Magazine, The Arcanist, and other venues. "Three Stories" also appeared in Issue #71 of The Cafe Irreal.