Story of the Week #5 — “A Sunday Brunch in Amber” by Kelly Ann Kiehl

I want to apologize to my readers for the long absence. A summer malaise seems to have latched onto me and is only gradually starting to abate. I keep telling myself that it’s because I needed a break after school let out, but a tiny voice in the back of my head knows that that is BS and I’m just lazy. Well, I’m back now and searching for stories to bring to you!

This week’s Story of the Week was published by the online journal Devilfish Review. Read the story here.

This story is one of five from Devilfish Review’s fifth issue. It is an interesting look into the lives of a married couple who live in a town with strange paranormal rules: when a child is born, a person — old, young, newborn, doesn’t matter — dies. The population of the town stays at exactly 162 no matter what happens. Pregnancies in this town must be approved by the city council and take place during a “wet year” — only one baby is allowed to be born every two years.

So when Dotty and Albert discover that they are expecting, it is a bit of a shock, especially since their Application for Child has not yet been approved and it is a “dry year.” The existence of their baby is going to kill someone in the town — there is no way of hiding the birth.

I was captivated by this piece. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop. The character development and world building that take place in this short space are phenomenal. I really felt for this couple as they tried to figure out what to do. Regrettably I wish that the story had continued. There were some things that the reader is left to wonder about, like the reason for the birth/death cycle. All in all, however, the piece entertained me and I would definitely recommend it!

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