Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about alien life by Yoon Chung.
Yoon Chung is an emerging writer based in South Korea. Her works are forthcoming in bioStories and Hobart. She studies intimacy at her desk and Comparative Literature in college.
Yoon Chung has been writing in English since she was seven – partly because her mom gave her pocket money for the good pieces, and partly because she liked the feeling of typing fast on her dad’s laptop. What started as a way to keep up her English after returning to Busan from Seattle grew into a hobby, then a dream, then a habit.
She only started writing short diary entries and poems in Korean after graduating high school. She has no definite goals or plans for her few drafts in Korean, but who knows. Although she is more comfortable with writing in English than Korean, she has never lost touch with her native language as a writer. It’s a good refresher to write in a different language now and again, or because she lives in Korea, some events and the emotions they evoke are more translatable into Korean.
‘Space Cavity’ follows a woman forming a close relationship with an alien child.
My biggest secret is that you licked off my right nipple. Shame in the shape of absence. Making love with men was a dream for months. I thought to myself – you will understand the pain of a cold bed, once you’re grown. But what do you know about it now, now that you are?
Then, you were a glob. No one dreamed of finding you there. But there you slept, lodged, like spinach in teeth, in the debris of dead moons. Your home – before mine became yours – was a meteor the shape of my head, the length of my legs, and the breadth of my breasts. As if, by some star, my whole body was shaped to cradle you.
But embryos die in the palm of our hands.
The incubator held you first. Your pink goo stained the glass and wet the pads, until sixty days later you outgrew your sticky sack and dried as dry as bones, those miracles that shaped your five pounds into something worth our money and time. The whole lab strained in silence as you wailed your first wail. Expensive child, you held the breath of the world. I remember little caves opening in your face – slits widening into nostrils and the taut line beneath them breaking out into a mouth. Thank god you could breathe oxygen.
I filed away your pictures, first on a desktop, then in my heart.