“The Ministry of Sacred Affairs” by Claude Lalumière
(Originally published in Here Be Monsters #7: Tongues and Teeth.)
Lost in music, it takes some time for Leo to register that Rosa is calling his name, that her hand is trembling on his shoulder. He lays down his violin and clasps her wrinkled hands between his.
“Something terrible’s happened next door. At the Bergens’. Pounding on the wall. A shriek. Things thrown about.” Rosa’s speech is terse, choppy, nervous. Leo stands up and enfolds his small and fragile wife in his bony old arms. She continues: “I phoned, but there was no answer.”
Leo and Rosa look away from each other. Leo knows which memory haunts his wife. It haunts him, too, but they never speak of it. Of him.
Claude Lalumière is the author of Objects of Worship, The Door to Lost Pages, Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes, and the forthcoming Venera Dreams. His work has been translated into French, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Hungarian, and Serbian and adapted for stage, screen, audio, and comics. In summer 2016, he was one of 21 international short-fiction writers showcased at Serbia’s Kikinda Short 11: The New Deal. Originally from Montreal, he now lives in Ottawa. He can be found at claudepages.info and on Twitter as @cldllmr.
About the Narrator:
Martin Reyto is an educator, writer, and musician. He has worked in an eclectic variety of fields, including 18 years as a technical writer and software developer, 16 years as a teacher of creative writing, computer science, and business communication, and shorter stints as a symphony musician and audiobook narrator. He has published short fiction and two collections of his poetry.