At the Opening Night of this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival, we announced the winners of the 2018 Monash Prize. Aileen Westbrook took home first prize (and a cool $4,000) for her story Mistook, while Dai-An Le won Highest-Placed Monash Student for her story Dragon Teeth.
As part of the prize Aileen’s winning entry has been published in Kill Your Darlings. Read an excerpt of the story below or click here for the full piece (unlocked on KYD for a limited time only).
I called you Missy because you were my mistake.
Actions bear fruit, my mother’s eyebrows said.
And it was a tell-tale fruit that grew a heartbeat inside my belly till I let you out in a panting slide on the bathroom floor, green hexagon tiles smirched guilt red too fast for the ambulance men to stave off the slick of shame.
Afterwards, Mum dug a hole for the placenta under the pepper tree and plopped it in. I’m not sure what part of us was buried between those peppery backyard roots. I think it was my pouch for you. From when you lived upside-down in me, fed by my arterial tree. Mum watered the grave daily, tugging the snaky hose from its slumbering coil behind the purple irises. It was as if she was washing a big stain underground.
I left Mum on the front verandah with her rosary beads amongst the frangipani petals that rained with the storm of my going. Her glasses were fogged from crying. She waved, and I waved your mitten, but if I’m not mistaken, it was with relief.