Grant Faulkner is the executive director of National Novel Writing Month and the co-founder of 100 Word Story (100wordstory.org). His stories and essays have appeared in The Southwest Review, The New York Times, Poets & Writers, PANK, Gargoyle, eclectica, Puerto del Sol, the Berkeley Fiction Review, and Word Riot, among others. He's currently finishing a collection of one hundred 100-word stories, Fissures.
When I came again into the bedroom, I found Red Kate sitting up with her lamp lit and belly piling the sheets.
I worried you were dead, she said.
I sat beside her and put a hand to her belly, wherefrom issued a kick of a tiny foot, and I was filled even more with grace and glory.
If I died, I said, You’d know because the very ground would split and there’d be a sound of thunder.
You’re wild, she said.
The world will know when I pass out of it, I said. And the mark I leave will be great.
Red Kate pressed a finger to herself, where she thought was our child, and said, This is your mark. Nothing more. And don’t forget it.
The widow Cobb’s face was ashen when she drove me out of the house that night as the birth began. I didn’t want to leave, for the last I’d seen of Red Kate was her face twisted in pain before the widow blew the lamp out, saying that there must be darkness or she might go into a fever for the oppressiveness of light. This was the last day of April, and Reuben happened to be there, and he along