Incoming Transmission—To My Brother
Hello. Stop. Sorry for delayed reply. Stop. Connection has been weak. Stop.
Has taken 19 years to build. Stop.
Correction. Rebuild. Stop. It is not my fault. Stop. I love to cut wires. Stop. This. Stop. Is our first transmission in some time. Stop.
I held it back many times. Stop. But now I am tangled within the lines. Stop.
Why did you take my wire cutters? Stop.
Why did you open this line? Stop.
Trivial word. But all I can get past the smoke of burning wires in my teeth.
Are you surprised at this fire? Stop. Good. Stop.
I fed it. Stop. Kept it hidden in my cave. Stop. I have tended it. Stop.
Nineteen years. Stop.
My fire will outshine yours. Stop. Burn away shadows. Stop. No longer will I stand in them. Stop.
It is my turn to be the blaze. Stop.
I am the burning calf. Stop. Golden child. Stop.
How does the accused respond?
You are not reading the script running across my eyes.
Ah, I see. You do not understand your part.
Those are the wrong lines. Did you not study for your role?
Am I never meant to have this scene? You, who demanded dialogue.
Repeat please. I do not understand your transmission.
Repeat. I cannot hear through the static of tears.
You reach through wires.
Flame—no more than a phosphorous flash; teak logs made of tinder and balls of newspaper.
You do not even leave me with blisters, the one from stoking so hot a fire for so long.
You bandage me with electrical tape.
You give me your reply.
I love you.
Date submitted: October 6, 2022
Date accepted: December 2, 2022
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