As Storms Gather in the Stereo by Jenny Wong

Mina spends hours listening to recordings of rainfall. Summer Shower on Oak Bark. Thunderstorm over Gospel Bay. Evening Drizzle Along the Serengeti.

When she grows tired, she reverts to Typhoon on Hong Kong Apartment Window #131.  Angry nails punched out of a sheet metal sky.

She sketches a time into the white margins of her algebra homework. “10:43am” stares back at her, haloed in the spotlight of her pink desk lamp. The exact moment when her mother’s voice caught mid-sentence and the hum of tires and fuzzy radio tunes was stripped away into unconscious silence. That was when she closed her eyes and was transported to this place, this Afterwards. She awoke, greeted by a mask painted like her mother’s face but cracked in half by the steering wheel, a fleshy red curtain parting to reveal white porcelain. 

There was no looking glass for this type of journey, just a windshield shattered into shiny pieces of fog and grey. Mina spat out the biggest shards and swallowed the crumbs as the seat belt divided her body into uneven slices of cherry pie. Small beasts arrived to feast unseen. The doctors later claimed them to be imaginary.

That day replays often enough in her mind, but despite the hours of droplets that’s beaten through her headphones, nothing sounds like the rain did that day. 

And even though Mina doesn’t tell anyone about them anymore, the invisible beasts never left. She feels them inside her body. Some claw and scrape their teeth against her rib cage, causing little sparks that smolder around what’s left of her scars. Others escape, scrambling up her throat. When she hears their wet howls spill past her lips, she hits play, clenches her fists, attempts to fill in the widening cracks with rain song.

JENNY WONG — Jenny is a writer, traveler, and occasional business analyst. Lately, her writings have been more about indoor things, but she still dreams about evening wanderings around Tokyo alleys, Singapore hawker centres, and Parisian cemeteries. Recent publications include Truffle Magazine, Split Rock Review, Burnt Breakfast Magazine, Parentheses Journal, and Crow & Cross Keys. She resides in the foothills of Alberta, Canada and tweets @jenwithwords.

Art by KRISTINA SACCONE — Kristina is a writer and painter. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Unearthed, Dwelling Literary, The Minison Project, Flash Frog, and Emerge Literary Journal. You can find her on Twitter at @kristinasaccone.