“What Came Last” by Lindsey M. Sheehan

The apartment was small but perfectly formed, much like the uniformed girl sitting patiently on her hands at the fold-down table in the middle of it. Miho was of an age to know better than to start without her mother, but she could not move her eyes from the marinated green beans, drawing the spicy pepper smell in through her nose all the way down to her stomach. After a thousand years Hyojin finally placed the gaeran mari in the middle of the table and took her place.

“Eat up then!” Hyojin said as she slotted herself in. Tired from standing up all day she went first to the simple comfort of rice. Miho, mouth full of beans, poked at the slowly deflating gaeran mari. The pale yellow pillow resisted.

“Don’t play; eat.”

“Um-ma, what does extink mean?”

“Extinct,” Hyojin enunciated, “means there are no more left of an animal, not anywhere in the world or off it.”

“Oh, okay.” Miho filled her mouth again but chewed thoughtfully. “Um-ma, they said at school that chickens are extink now.”

“That’s right.” Hyojin took a bite of baked egg, desiring it now that attention had been drawn to it. She had tasted chicken once, on a school trip to the biggest science museum in Seoul. She remembered it stringy and dry.

“Um-ma, who made this egg we’re eating?”

“I did.”

“But who laid the egg?”

Hyojin pushed her fingers through her hair. “A chicken. Of course. But there is only one chicken alone, so it can’t be a species anymore.”

“One chicken lays every egg in the world?!”

“Imagine like this: there was only one chicken left in the world, so it was given to the cleverest scientist. The scientist found a way to make twins of the chicken – imagine a twin for every person who lives in Samshin 8, all 200 storeys, then imagine more twins for all the other buildings, and even more for all the other countries in the world. But they are all twins, all girls to lay eggs. There are no boy chickens to make babies in the eggs, so they have no species.”

Hyojin’s explanation was paid for with only a moment of silence.

“Um-ma, what’s a boy?”

“Something you never need to worry about.”

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About the Author

Lindsey M. Sheehan is a British writer with aspirations for global domination, one tiny piece of fiction at a time, and as much as she believes that you will be kind to your fellow beings she expects the terrible things in her stories to come true. Twitlove is available via @parodyofvirtue.

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  1. […] babies did make it, and I’m very proud of her. Many thanks to Crossed Genres for publishing What Came Last, a story that is sort of about […]

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