Lithopedion by Christina Ladd - 206 Word Stories - Bag of Bones Press
ago, a woman gave birth to twins. Sort of.
first child she pushed out squalled with usual vigor. The second she thought
was the afterbirth, except that the midwife frowned when she saw it, and took
it to the washing pail.
son and a stone,” she declared to the waiting father, and showed him one
swaddled bundle while his wife nursed the other. He took it with trembling
hands. It was too light for a rock. Pale and twisted, it was a bone.
he could walk, the boy was given his brother to wear in a pouch around his neck
and told never to open it. When he was old enough to wield a sword, he
blisters were not yet callouses, and when he drew out the bone, they burst and
wept blood into its hollows.
divots blinked like eyes. Vertebral juts unfurled, and teeth erupted. And bit
into his hand.
lithopedion gnawed the flesh from his brother’s bones, and when he was done he
cracked them open and slurped down the marrow.
he scooped what remained into the pouch.
have another turn,” he whispered to his brother’s bones, which hung still warm
around his neck.
Christina Ladd (she/her) is a writer,
reviewer, and librarian who lives in Boston. She will eventually
die crushed under a pile of books, but until
then she survives on a worrisome amount of tea and pizza. You can
find more of her work in Vastarien, A Coup of
Horizons and more,
or on Twitter @OLaddieGirl.