Mama runs to the bus-stop. She tells me to pretend she's dead.
It's a game, she says, feet clickety-clacking like a train.
Not like Dad's feet, big like gunshots.
You can't tell Dad, she says. He's a monster. That's why I have to pretend.
She promises she'll save me. When she can.
Trust me, she says, kissing me. She disappears.
I hope it's soon. I have hidden bruises.
Everyone gets hurt fighting monsters.
It's part of the game.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program. His stories, "Soon", "How To Be A Good Episcopalian" and "Tales From A Communion Line" were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Yash’s work has been published in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Write City Magazine and Ariel Chart, among others.