Kateřina Tučkova – State of Emergency
19 May 2021
We included a short story by Czech author Kateřina Tučkova in our annual magazine. We publish an excerpt here, but you can read on in Common Ground, our annual magazine.
A one-bedroom with a spacious kitchen—a cozy den, as they say.
The bedroom and living room are fully furnished, the only thing possibly still left to buy might be a sofa-bed for guests. Electricity, water, gas—everything is in order, she checks several times a day to make sure of it.
They lack for nothing. Every other day, her husband comes huffing and puffing up three flights of stairs with groceries, by evening he’s whistling by the stove, browsing web pages about healthy eating, looking up new recipes. Beef goulash for nursing mothers then appears scribbled on a scrap of paper pinned to the fridge by a magnet. Or turkey breast medallions for breastfeeding moms. In the meantime, she sews face masks, or rather tries to. From time to time, she looks down through the closed window at the street, only to turn quickly back to her work. The deserted streets of the once bustling city fill her with an indescribable dread.
Morning – seven hundred and twenty-four infected, eighteen dead, three hundred and two recovered.
Evening – seven hundred and eighty-six infected, still only eighteen dead, recovered three hundred and twenty-one.