by Angelita Bradney

The peaches on the draining board are dark purple and swollen. Mummy must have washed them; water droplets glisten like dew on their furred skins. I’m alone in the kitchen. I stand on tiptoe and take one of the fruits. It’s heavy as a rubber ball and velvety like our cat’s ear. My baby teeth clamp around the flesh, gums feeling a slight resistance, then there’s a pull and a soft tearing sound. Juice runs into my mouth and down my chin. I taste summer picnics, the promise of a holiday, Mummy and Daddy happy together.

What have I done? There’s a jagged crater in the peach. Under the skin the exposed flesh is orange, glistening like guilt. I’ll be told off. It will look less bad if I replace the fruit on the draining board; take a different one for a second bite. And another, for a third. If I turn them round a certain way you can’t see what I’ve done at all.

Mummy is at the kitchen door! What are you doing, she asks. Nothing, I say. The sun is shining in the garden and I run out to play.

Angelita Bradney | @AngelBradn

Angelita Bradney’s fiction has been published in literary magazines and three print anthologies, most recently ‘Nothing Is As It Was’, a collection of stories about climate change. Her work has been performed on stage and shortlisted in several competitions including the Fish Prize. In 2017 she won the National Memory Day short story prize. She recently graduated from the Faber Academy ‘writing a novel’ course and her novel-in-progress has been long-listed for the Flash500 and Retreat West opening chapter competitions. She lives in south east London, in a house overlooked by a large walnut tree and lots of squirrels.

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