Hard State

Robert Quick

Where the -@!# did my muse go?

Writer, dreamer, knight, shackled by entertainment . . . and people.


When the knock that everyone dreads came, it sounded hard and insistent against the frail wood of our apartment door. Fumbling noises came from the room that my mom and sister shared before the lights flickered on, banishing the comforting ambiguity of the dark with harsh, white, incandescent light.

My mom appeared in my doorway, paused, and then walked out of my field of view. Jurari followed, toddling after her with outstretched hands.

“Who is it?” I heard my mom ask.

“State security. Open up.” The man who spoke wasn't loud but I heard him clearly.

“Of course.” My mom said.

"Marga Jorgensen?"

"That's my maiden name."

"You're to come with us for processing."

"Processing? There must be some mistake--"

"The State doesn't make mistakes and we, as her agents, cannot afford to. Here are your papers. You will want to keep them safe. Now come along."

I didn't hear anything else and when the silence grew swollen and too much to bear, I crept out of bed.

The living room was empty and the door ajar.

"Mom?"


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