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Her fingers were white and slim, her wrists delicate. Perhaps she once played in an orchestra. She had her hand on her heart. Her mouth was parted slightly as if about to speak. The report was open on the bench. You read, ‘trauma’, ‘drowning.’ The metal of the trolley caused the flash from the camera to rebound. It distorted the image. You put on another filter. You leant closer. Her nails looked like beautiful pink shells, small and fragile. The photograph caught their iridescence.

Afterwards, you travelled home along the thin tongue of coast and listened to the wash of the sea over and over.

Now it’s late. You don’t want supper. Your partner, Neil, is already upstairs, undressing. He shouts, “Hi.”

When you reach the bedroom, the bathroom door is open. Neil fills a glass with water. It sounds like an echo chamber. He stays by the window for a moment looking out. You brush your thick, brown hair in the dressing table mirror.

Naked, he groans as he gets in bed, the way he always does. When you get in beside him, he briefly caresses you.

You remember her hands. The curve of blood in one of the cuticles. How the nails seemed like detached and separate creatures.

Neil asks, “What are you thinking about?”

“Just thinking,” you say.

He rolls on top of you, kisses your mouth and puts his fingers in your hair.

You feel small and fragile under the crushing weight of him.

Flash Fiction by Julia Robinson

Published in Spring 2017


  1. Wow! I’ve read many of these entries. This particular one is haunting. I love the imagery. Had to comment. 🙂

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