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"Decessit Sine Prole" by Christopher P. Mooney

Try again, they said, as if it were a school exam or a driving test. As if, somehow, there lay at the root of the problem a lack of practice. Some mentioned different options – as if, somewhere along the line, she’d made the wrong choice – and suggested it should be seen as an opportunity to take a step back and reconsider: is this definitely what you want? Maybe it’s not meant to be?

But they fucking well had practised, and this was what they wanted. They’d both said so, more or less from when they first realized that flutter they felt on impact might mean a big deal.

He didn’t say much after he found the stick, probably still with pee on it, hastily stuck in a vase of mixed, drooping tulips that only minutes before had been partially blocking his view of the television.

You’re sure?

Yes. Can you believe it? Even though she hardly could; even though the same fear of the same once again was already growing inside her.

He’d been gentle that night, with her, with them; not wanting to take any chances. Falling asleep, his hand on her belly, still taut, still keeping their secret from the world. She said a silent prayer to a god she knew couldn’t exist to let this one become a real human.

We still have each other and other platitudes, they said soon afterward. The wine-softened syllables of these well-rehearsed lines fell easily out their mouths; mouths that hadn’t met since the familiar outcome was confirmed.

Of course, he said, and the hesitation was barely perceptible.

And we still love each other? she asked.


No matter what, right?

Christopher P. Mooney was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1978. At various times in his life, he has been a paperboy, a trolley boy, a greengrocer, a supermarket cashier, a shelf stacker, a barman, a cinema usher, a carpet fitter's labourer, a leaflet distributor, a foreign-language assistant and a teacher. He currently lives and writes in someone else's small flat near London and his debut collection of short fiction, Whisky for Breakfast, is available now from Bridge House Publishing.

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