content by

Matthew Sanborn Smith

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Beauty Belongs to the Flowers

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Matsumoto Miho had seen ten thousand hospital rooms on the feeds, and not one had looked like this. The room did look clean—no cup or chair was out of place—but a proper hospital room, an American hospital room, contained one patient, not four. The patients, even in the Chinese and Indian feeds, did not look like these men. Proper patients were muscular, bandaged or form-fleshed, unblemished save for a few cuts and, most importantly, attractive.

These men appeared skeletal, with heads of wild hair, bodies shiny and shrink-wrapped in quarantine cocoons. Miho couldn’t have picked her father from the group if her mother hadn’t led the way to his bedside. Daily sunlamp therapy made him darker than any lab worker should have been. His withered arms, bruised purple along their lengths, rested at uncomfortable angles. His dry mouth hung open, few teeth remaining in it. His eyes were shut, as if in agony.

“Ot?san,” she whispered.

[Your father is tired]

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