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Monday. Fresh coffee. He cradles it, warming away the afterimages of the dream. A bleak, barren sky and cold grey sea. Waves crashing on the ashen shore, redacting the footprints of the boy running towards him, kite straining against the wind. Teeth white and red kite bold against the dark sky.

Just a dream. Absently, on his desk, he traces a diamond in ink, two lines through it. A tail.

Just a dream. Yet somehow familiar. Somehow important.

He’s been working too hard, and too late. Sleeping at the lab. Callum keeps reminding him of the importance of the work. As if he could forget! They are on the cusp. Exploring the last wilderness, the mind. Finding a way to delete memories, racing towards human trials. Privately, he wonders if they will ever find any willing subjects. We are our memories.

Simone rushes past, glances at him, expression unreadable. Startled, his hand shakes, spilling the coffee which spreads in a surge across his desk. He grabs paper towels and wipes it away. But the coffee has left a stain in its wake. He scrubs it vigorously, then stops as the paint on his desk starts coming away. He stares. Under the paint, what looks like a kite. He scrubs again. Another kite. Then another. Some are fainter than others, but each has been painted over. Like footprints by waves.

Simone is staring at him. Asks him to join her and Callum in theatre.

Tuesday. Fresh coffee. He cradles it.

Flash Fiction by Richard Fray
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Published in Summer 2017


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