Fiction from Janna Miller

Various origami animals in pinks and greens.

Photo: Shinta Kikuchi

Folds Within Folds

Under Edy’s hands, five seconds of life play out in folded paper. A moving menagerie of starts and sudden stops between origami creases. A kiss of birth. A gift. Five seconds is enough for:

  • A butterfly’s wing to open and close once
  • Five steps of a quick fox, pointed paper footpads skidding to a halt
  • A layered rosebud to loosen and stretch its outer petals, opened forever to the sun

Edy tries to refold the lines, rebuild, but the gift is gone in restart. Her creations live only long enough to stumble, to bloom, to begin in the same space it takes for atoms to slough off a lazy pinwheel. A motor of moments.

In potential she can predict an object’s start, its fall, the pattern of its undoing. She can fold paper into anything. In five seconds she can determine:

  • If a train will stop
  • If the boy will reach out, just slightly, towards her
  • If she will fall

Edy builds and folds, a future in mind, a start as close as a blush.

Librarian, mother, and minor trickster, Janna has published works in SmokeLong Quarterly, Cheap Pop, and Scissors and Spackle. Nominated for Best Small Fictions and Best Microfiction. Generally, if the toaster blows up, it is not her fault.

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