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Motherland

Jasmine Ang lives in sunny Southern California and generally writes genre fiction. Some of her other works have been published in Ricky's Back Yard Flodoip issue and Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal, issue 2.3.
When she first left, they gave me her feed out of kindness. A thin solace for a lonely child, but one they didn't mind. After all, there was little enough for their enemies to do even if they could gain access to the feed; it was space, vast, unknowable, and her ship more or less unlocatable. She didn't know, or if she did she never tried to use it to communicate with me.
Instead I got status updates, banter. It didn't really matter what she was saying; sometimes I would turn it on while I was sleeping and let the low murmur of my mother's voice put me to sleep like it did when she was home, sitting at the kitchen table working late into the night. Sometimes the feed was silent, if she was asleep, but as she got farther away silences stretched between even the simplest bits of dialogue. The algorithms kept words together admirably, but even so, eventually, I would have to wait hours, days, weeks before hearing the punch line to the joke or the solution to a problem.
It got to be too much. I stopped listening when weeks turned into months turned into years before the next word, next phrase.
I got the news before the first of her last message: She had died.
It was almost a full nine years before the message came through, was completed, the ghost of my mother through a machine: "Tell her I love her."
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, February 1st, 2018


Many stories focus on those who go away, rather than those who stay. This story is for those who get left behind.

- Jasmine Ang

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