by Kaitlin O’Brien

Mercy perched, spine stiff, on the edge of her reserved metal folding chair. A tacky velveteen cover had been thrown over the thing, but that did nothing to make the hard seat any more comfortable. She contorted her body in an attempt to alleviate the pressure from her tailbone. The only thing she succeeded in doing was further mussing the cover. She sniffed and tilted her head to look up at the priest droning on about her mother, a woman he had clearly never spoken a word to. Thank God. The less he knew about the woman, the better. At least people will say the funeral was respectable, Mercy thought. It would be the first and only time anyone could use that word in relation to Charity Hennessy….

Kaitlin O’Brien recently received her B.A. in English Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing from Longwood University in Virginia. A Central Virginia native, she draws much of her writing inspiration from the small-town drama of her immediate world. She loves to go places she’s never seen, she obsesses over olfactory and taste memory, and she eats literature. All of it. Bookstores feed the writer.


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The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review is a print and digital literary journal. We offer original fiction — short stories, short short stories, hybrid—poetry and nonfiction. We also curate The Eckleburg Gallery — visual artwork and intermedia — as well The Groove including first released, original music by The Size Queens. Our archives include emerging and established writers, poets, artists, musicians and performers such as Rick Moody, Cris Mazza, Eurydice, Steve Almond, Stephen Dixon, Moira Egan, David Wagoner, Zach Galifianakis and many more. We run annual print issues, The Eckleburg Reading Series (DC, Baltimore, Chicago, New York….), as well as, the annual Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction with a first prize of $1000 and print publication.