“The Signal Birds” can be found in the inaugural issue of Liminal Stories. It’s about women and war and constraint, and how conflict can change bodies for better or worse. “The Signal Birds” has been illustrated by Tracy Durnell.
Shift change was always marked by the same roster call. “Sugar-plum, feather-plum, come get your coats on! Fall in, ducklings all!”
There were minor variations. We weren’t always ducklings. It was “goslings” when the raids were high, with night-time Spitfires over the Channel, and “little magpie twits” when room inspections had seen too many rinsed out panties hanging in the dormitory bathrooms.
I don’t know what else she expected. The south coast in winter was not a place we could hang out our washing and reliably expect it to dry. It was knickers strung round the bath like bunting or nothing.
“I’d rather nothing than damp,” said Polly. We’d both taken shifts in front of the radar with underwear that hadn’t fully dried before, and it had been an unpleasant, squirming experience.
“Not what I imagined when I got my wings,” she said. “Somehow I thought there’d be more glamour with it.”
The rest of the story is free to read at the above link.
It’s a great first issue for Liminal, though I do say so myself. Also included are fantastic stories by A.C. Wise, David Tallerman, Trevor Shikaze, Joseph Allen Hill and Nazifa Islam. Check it out!