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Flash Fiction - Thin-Skinned


Getting out of her way wasn't hard, but it was difficult. What I mean is that she lived like a hurricane, big eyes and big hair, ready to smile that witch smile or cut you down. What I mean is that you saw her coming a mile away, a thousand miles away, you heard her name whispered in warning, carved in the fucking stones saying 'do not go there.' But all those warnings did little to convince me. When she came skipping down the street she looked like a girl, and nothing more.

So I got sucked in. It happens to the best of us, and the best of us prostrate ourselves to whatever she needed. The midnight screaming fights, those were for the best. The first knife she pulled, the one she swore up and down killed her mother and father and then pointed at my heart, that was a catharsis long needed. I lied to myself with born-again ferocity, ignored the strange brown stains under her fingernails and the watery glimmer in her eyes. Then she showed me the tattoos.

The truth was I enjoyed the murder. She said I shouldn't, that what she did, what I now did was sacred. We took the most valued and gave them to the grave so the grave would look past us. Her skin became paper thin and we could no longer make love without it tearing. It wasn't enough, she said, pointing the knife at me, close enough that I could read the letters the bloodstains made. I shivered in the corner, her arms red and corded, her lips drawn back over yellow teeth. I should be ashamed of myself. I pulled the blade from her hand and pushed it through her heart, sawed it as she howled and bucked.

I'm going through my things, packing them up and getting ready to vanish. I kept the knife, and even though I can't read what the bloodstains say, I can feel my skin getting thinner.


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