Sunday, April 04, 2021

New Short Fiction by Veronica Kirin


 I dreamt that the circus had come to town. We gathered at the railway to watch the train roll in. The master of ceremonies was eccentric, we had heard, and was experimenting to perfect the circus animal.
 We were awed as the old steam engine puffed past, for the first car was a flurry of activity. With each breath of the blackened metal issued an infant elephant. One by one they landed beside the great wheels of the engineer’s car, righting themselves and trotting along to follow in a manifest herd. 
 These calves were strange, unlike those at the Zoo. They were smaller and grew before our eyes. Their skin soon changed from smooth and glossy to tough and wrinkled, tusks began to form. They trumpeted to each other as they trotted along, their feet crunching the weed-covered stones.
 Step by step, clickety-clack, the hoard grew up as they followed the painted cars. Their grey forms obscured the bright yellows and reds that swooped along those wooden frames. The rumbling metal wheels grinding on metal rails was scarcely heard over the cacophony of stomping feet and snorting trunks.
 Into adulthood they paraded as the end of the train neared. Their tusks were long and they trumpeted loud their joie d’vivre. But the mad ringmaster had not perfected his elephant formula, and as his elephants aged into full height, they began to fall apart.
 Their weight was too great, their pace too quick, and the elephant bodies cracked. A leg here, a tusk there, breaking beside the train. Distressed, but not in pain, each stopped to pick up its own pieces. The pride of elephants that followed the train now limped along the tracks. 
 They gave their best effort to follow their master, but instead they continued to weaken. As the red caboose pulled away the elephants began to fall. To our horror, their heavy bodies split open when they met the ground. The seam of their backs, the top of their heads, broke as if brittle ceramic. Layer upon layer we could see inside, not blood or bones, but clay and sandstone. What bizarre chemistry had the ringmaster used to form these artificial creatures?
 Silence fell with the last elephant, all movement and prancing ceased. The train, our joy, and the elephant's lives ended unceremoniously.

- © Veronica Kirin 2021

Veronica Zora Kirin (she/her) is an award-winning queer author whose writing aims to unearth within the reader something they may not have known existed.  Learn more at

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