Paralysister By James Claffey

June 25, 2015 Comments Off on Paralysister By James Claffey

Teapot on the table, covered by a knitted tea cozy. The late-morning light slacks its way through the filthy curtains as the wireless crackles and the connection to the station disappears for a moment. The electricity company has been on strike for months, and the supply, even to the national broadcasting center, is marginal at times. One sister fills a hot water bottle and wraps it inside an old towel, pauses at the foot of the steep, carpeted stairs and succumbs to an attack of coughing that has her dizzy. Abed, the elder sister is snoring, the bedclothes in a tent about her crooked body. Since the paralysis, her knees are locked in place, immovable and withered. The younger recovers from her fit and wipes the spittle from her chin with the back of her fist. She’d kill for a jar, a small whiskey and water in the local. Instead, she has to make do with stolen nips from a battered pewter flask that’d belonged to their father, a cute hoor who spent less time sober than he did awake. She thumps up the stairs, giving each step a bit more vitriol, and once in the bedroom, she rummages beneath the bedspread and props the hot water bottle into the crook of her younger sister’s knees. Funny, the snoring has stopped, and the only sound is the constant battering of raindrops against the window. She leaves to return to her own cup of tea, her sister’s dull eyes fixed defiantly on the portrait of the Sacred Heart of Jesus crookedly hung on the wall opposite.

© 2014 James Claffey

James Claffey hails from County Westmeath, Ireland, and lives on an avocado ranch in Carpinteria, CA. He is fiction editor at Literary Orphans, and the author of the short fiction collection Blood a Cold Blue.

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