Vowel Movement 
by Laura Berry, 3:49am July 10th 2022

Only a few pages in and you feel awful. But it’s a horror story, you’re not supposed to feel good. Your stomach gurgles consonants and you bring the tome to the toilet; panic or diarrhea approaches. The author walks the protagonist into a scissors factory. Into a plate-glass door, a gnashing press, a furnace that locks from the outside. Each page worse than the last and the doctor said not to sit on the throne this long but swear to god no one could read this book without a bucket or a fainting couch, if you put it down, you’re not going to be able to pick it up again, just power through it like an overstuffed sandwich. Protag survives the smelting, his skin flakes off in bacon bits, fat balloons and pops like o. o. o. o. But when the people see him, no one screams. No one calls for help. Everybody just la-a-a-a-a-aughs. Last chapter and either the print is getting smaller or you’re shaking too hard to read, and you lean in, closer now, nose to spine, and we clamp our jaws because we love the oooooo and aaaaa and uuuuuuuuu of suffering, the squealing eeeeee of pain and stammering i-i-i-i-i in the face of death. And sometimes you ask y, y is this happening to me? And we could explain it if you didn’t need consonants. But all you hear is noise.