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Baths haven’t been allowed for a long time ‘cause there isn’t enough water. But I’ve been saving my rations a whole year for a real good cause.

My sister, Sana.

It’s not that she’s dirtier than the rest of us or anything. We’re all yucky and smelly and hungry. It’s more ‘cause the stuff she’s had to deal with from Mama now she’s 13.

I didn’t drink any of the water Mama gave us to celebrate that birthday. Not with Sana using her share for tears in the next room while Mama scraped.

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Narcotic

I’m one of the lucky ones. I mean, I never got hooked.

Could’ve happened of course, that’s always a danger when you’re a Trader. Got a whole supply at my fingertips, could tap in anytime I want–be like those kingpins over there, rattling their yellow teeth my way, hopped up on the stuff, eyes crazy. But that’s not my style. A Trader’s gotta be fair, has to be clean. If he ain’t he’ll just be pushing for his own benefit. That’s not what it’s about, you know? It’s about helping people.

I’ve been doing this a long time, know all the tricks. That’s why I can call this side of town my own; everyone comes to me. They know I’ll be good to them, that I won’t cheat. I’m running a good thing, here. Got drop points all over the place, a few Runners and a couple of Recruiters. Good ones too. But they all know I’ve only got one rule: don’t get hooked and I’ll keep paying. Get hooked, and I’ll make sure you pay double-double. 

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Fragile Equilibriums & Sudden Fictions: A Review of Paulo Da Costa’s The Midwife of Torment

The following Book Review by Jessica Barratt was originally published at Prism international. Read the full review here, or by clicking below!

Weaving many flash-fiction works into a single, bound narrative, Paulo Da Costa’s The Midwife of Torment paints humanity in its honest bright colours and oscillating emotions of anger, anguish, terror, and curiosity. Between the pages of these sudden fictions lies the nuance of our everyday existence, filtered through Da Costa’s own internal struggle concerning his simultaneous anger and affection for modern humanity.

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