Sunday, 2 September 2018


by J. H. Malone

Little Franz awoke. Outside, an icy moon hung pregnant over leafless winter trees.

The boy whimpered, then pressed his hands over his rosebud mouth.

Must not call attention.

Lie still. Don't leave this bed.

The tall clock in the sitting room measured the night with its long swinging arm.

Against his will, the boy sat, then stood. Cold oak flooring sent a chill up his legs. Into his vitals.

Reluctant, he advanced down the hall, groping in the dark.

A sound entered his straining ears.

The skritching.

In his father's bedroom, Hermann Kafka crouched on the rug, cockroach once more.

Author bio: J. H. Malone recently returned from Dar es Salaam after spending three years there writing copy for refugee aid NGOs.

Ungeziefer is part of 101 Fiction issue 20.

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