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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

     There’s a light that hangs just next to the bed. It’s a little to the left, not quite glaring in the sleeper’s eyes but close enough to always be in the periphery. The light doesn’t flicker, isn’t cracked, never shivers, but it buzzes. Like a fly on the wall. But the sleeper keeps the door shut. No maggots allowed.

     There are voices down the hall. Around the corner to the right. They demand the sleeper joins them, call out “Marissa” in the night. It cuts the sleeper deeply, but without the voices there would be no bed. The voices would never call out “Mark.” They’re too far to the right.

     There’s not much else in the room. A pink bedspread bleach-stained white. The sleeper had been hopeful, for a moment, that the whitewash would get it tossed. It hadn’t. The pink looks like bloodstains in the buzzing florescence of the light.

     The light casts its shadows right, from its buzzing on the left. Dark little corners into which the sleeper doesn’t dare look. Like the cracks from which the voices carry. Like monsters creeping inside.

     The light above the bed buzzes off-tune lullabies. The sleeper dreams of silence and living without his skin. For years the sleeper grows with that light just out of reach. A buzzing never silenced, a peace too left for him to breach.

     Then one day the sleeper speaks to the voices, the shadows, and the light. He tells them he is different. The buzzing is a growl.

     That night the blood-pink bedspread finally pays its due. The sleeper has grown tall enough. The light’s sturdy mount is in view.

     Standing on the edge of the sheetless bed, the sleeper faces the voices both within him and without. The shadows are a bottomless pit, full of claws that pull him forward.

     For once, the light stops buzzing. The loose wire wrenches from its den. All that’s left is darkness and the silent swinging just left of the bed.

THE LIGHT THAT SILENTLY SWUNG

THE LIGHT THAT SILENTLY SWUNG

Sarah Edmonds

Author Bio: Sarah Edmonds is a queer author and filmmaker whose films have screened at Barebones Film Festival, Global Shorts Film Festival, and FlickFair Film Festival. She has fiction in Wolfsinger Publication’s US/THEM anthology and Whiskey(tit) Journal; poetry in Backchannels Literary Journal; and upcoming work in Ethel Zine and the West Trade Review. She is also the founder of For Page & Screen Magazine. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @SarahEEdmonds.

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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

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