Virgin Flight 244, Chicago to Heathrow

By M. M. De Voe

In airborne darkness, the pain of birth. She grabs her neck just above the locket and feels the pointy head of a small creature emerge from the hollow in her throat. It gives a soft bleat. Reeling, she holds the small idea in her hand, amazed that such a bloody, furry thing could have come from someone like her. Palms cupped, she shields it from the sleeping passengers nearby-like any newborn, it nestles deeper, afraid of the world. Her throat bleeds onto her pale yellow blouse; despite the splintering pain of speech, she whispers eager reassurances.

“I will nurture you. You’ll grow.”

Her husband shifts; her reawakening sends fingers of lightning to rouse him.

“What is that?” he demands.

Her hands open into a tulip. He peers in and draws back sharply. He has seen only its helplessness, but that is enough.

“Yours, I suppose?”

She nods, mute, as the delicate thing casts its swollen black eyes at them.

“You’re bleeding, you know. It looks bad.”

The intercom pings a Captain’s announcement. The thing bleats in response, loudly, fearfully. People are starting to shift in their sleep. She holds it close. It bleats again.

He reaches across her and twists, silencing it.

“I’m doing you a favor.”

Sadly, she’s already bled to death. He opens her locket and finds only himself.

Someone offers him a drink which he accepts, and when the flight attendant walks by with the flimsy white garbage bag, he has many things to put inside.

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About M. M. De Voe

M. M. De Voe once ran away with a group of jugglers. She has also hitchhiked across Germany, been in a John Waters movie, forgotten her bag in a pub in the Australian outback, accepted coffee from a homeless man, and danced for Pope John Paul II. Her MFA is from Columbia, where she won a Writing Division Fellowship and studied under Michael Cunningham, Joyce Johnson, Helen Schulman, Stephen Koch, Nicholas Delbanco, and Michael Scammel.

Her short fiction has been widely published and has won multiple mentions and awards: Wordstock Short Fiction competition, The Raymond Carver Short Fiction Competition, PRISM: international Short Fiction Competition, Phoebe's Short Story Contest,'s Annual Poetry Contest, H. E. Francis Short Story Competition, Fish Publishing's Short Story Prize, The Bellwether Prize, The Dana Awards, and first prize nationally in the Lyric's Annual Poetry Contest. She is a three-time Pushcart nominee, as well as Best of the ‘Net and Best of the Web for her stories. She also won the Regina Russo Outstanding Recent Graduate Award in June 1999, and has been listed in Who's Who of American Women and Who's Who in the World since 2004. She won two Editor's Choice Awards for short fiction published in 2007. "Dulce Domum," is available in the anthology Best of TFL Editor's Picks: 2002-2006.  She is also included in the literary erotica anthology Stirring up a Storm (alongside Joyce Carol Oates and Margaret Atwood). Her novel-in-progress won the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Fellowship in 2006 for historical novels with gay-positive characters.

During the day, she runs Pen Parentis, which provides resources to authors who have kids. She recently won a Manhattan Community Arts Fund Grant to help support the organization. You can read more about M. M. and purchase her work at her website.

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