freight:

A Story Compilation

Prologue

When they showed me into the room and left me there with him, the first horror was his mouth. Open, gaping as if in surprise and shock himself. This mouth and open throat confronted me; there was no dealing with this loss, for his mouth was, after all, the transport and highway for his brain, his words, his entire force as an intellectual, and moreover, his love and affection – his vibrantly zany self. I could not face his open mouth, now empty, silent, finished. The first task in my grief, my devastation and his as well, was to close his mouth. It undid me. It was as though all that he was and had been, had vacated his body, now utterly still and cold, through that portal. As I closed his, my own mouth opened to eloquently keen my grief to a world without knowledge of what they had just lost.

Photo by Richard Horne on Unsplash

Freight Synopsis

A twelve-story fiction collection, Freight focuses on the phenomenon of trauma. Whether gothic, whimsical, surreal, or satiric, Freight’s stories explore the complexity of human ethical and sometimes political dilemmas – investigating the effects of traumatic, troubling events from disparate, often disturbing, perspectives.

Photo by Alfred Leung on Unsplash

Bright Orange Scarf

Dread my predominant emotion, I accepted the package from Beth’s hand. She smiled nervously as I set the parcel in my lap and stared down at the shimmering red wrapping. “Go ahead,” she urged, “Open it, Pru sent it special delivery.”

Feeling the eyes of my family watching, I unwillingly pulled at the ribbon and the paper broke beneath my stiff fingers. The box concealed beneath the paper Beth pried open as I could do no more. She drew out the contents and there it was. A bright, orange scarf. “Isn’t it lovely?!”, my eldest sister cooed, unravelling the length of it and holding it up for all to admire before placing it in my hands. A bright, orange scarf. Very long, very thick, very bright. For a time, I sat staring down at it until I looked up, and realized everyone was studying my response. As my eyes swung around the room, they met the eyes of various members of my family until, one by one, their gaze fell away.

Kate Orland Bere: BIO

Canadian writer Kate Orland Bere has studied literature at Western University, McGill University, the University of Toronto, Duke University, and at the Humber School of Writing – over a decade of study. She has studied with highly respected international writers and poets over her career, and has been recognized for her originality, her often trenchant humour, and her talent. Born in Ontario’s Huron County, the writer-poet has lived in 12 cities across 3 countries. Freight, her first short story compilation, encompasses12 stories exploring the impacts of various forms of trauma, atrocities that mirror the traumas inflicted upon Earth. Her current literary project, a memoir entitled Out of Saudi, crosses into social and political commentary and analysis, satire, dreamscapes, feminist analysis, and more. KOB is also working on a book of poetry and continues to write short stories.