Flash Fiction: Significant

Every two weeks writers have the chance to take part in Soliloquies Anthology’s Flash Fiction contest. We publish a new single-word writing prompt as a starting point, and you write a story in 300 words or less. This winning story uses the prompt Sound.

Significant

Her primate was laughing and laughing. Technically, Yuki belonged to the university, but to Carol she was something like a daughter. Did the university ever sleep next to her? Did the university ever bathe her or read to her? Did it hear her as she tried to mimic Carol’s human voice? Sometimes. The reports had to be submitted and reviewed even if there were no “statistically significant” findings.

What Yuki produced was not language, by definition. Carol was often reminded of this by her colleagues and from her literature. “Language is a productive, recursive, infinite series of combinations.” Yuki could only make a few rudimentary mixtures of verbs and nouns, and definitely not through what could be called speech. Her laughter, for example, was an alarming high-pitched shrill. In no way did Yuki have the articulatory capacity for English.

When she stopped tickling Yuki, Carol had the urge to give her a hug. It was not unusual to do this, especially when no one was watching. This time, while buried in her wiry black hair, Carol began to weep. She became overwhelmed with an emotion that she could not classify or describe. More importantly any attempt, she realized, would be inadequate.

Author bio
Kara Crabb is a linguistics student at Concordia. Her work as been published in Vice, Tunica, Fashion, Windsor Independent, Thought Catalog, and Signature Editions. She is interested in the psychology of language and currently volunteers with The Aphasia House Foundation. In the past she volunteered at the Zielinski neuroscience laboratory in Windsor.