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Book Cover for The Death of All Things

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Flash Fiction: If An Injury Must Be Done

This week’s flash fiction challenge is “;Thy Name Is Vengeance;” and I found it really bloody hard.  I finally managed to pry something short and vicious out of my brain, though.

Title is the first portion of a Machiavelli quote.

(Psychological horror, this is, maybe.)


It’s the memories that will kill me, in the end.

I’ve looked into it, studied it, where they come from, whether or not they can be erased, and mucking about in the brain like that, it can cause some serious problems.  People have had some luck removing memories, but sometimes they take out whole pieces of other stuff.

I’ve met with some of the survivors.  A few of them seem happy, if a bit inane.  Not all of them, though.

I decided that I couldn’t risk it, couldn’t risk taking them out, and that meant learning to live with the fact that having those memories is having a mind made of jagged-edged knives that want to draw blood.

They don’t care whose blood it is, so I decided to choose yours over mine.  For now.

I can’t take the memories out, not safely, so I have to live with them, until they take me apart from the inside.

The thing that always hurt the most, though, was that you never had them.  I’m sure you think of that apartment as a warm and friendly place, gaily painted yellow, with warm and companionable wood trim, and the sun shining through the leaves of the trees outside.

It never comes to you in flashes flavored with horror and disbelief.  It never comes unwelcome, unfriendly, in nightmares.  It never comes to you like it comes to me.  You got to walk away, and you left me with this thing grafted to me that I can never escape.

I have always hated that.  Hated that you could walk away with nothing more than an easily-forgettable regret, while I burned.  You made me into a thing made out of knives and scandal, and you walked away, and I wonder if you even remember.

I do not get to forget.

I can’t take out the memory.  I lack the suicidal impulse, for better or for worse.

Do you think of that place often?  I do not know if you were a child living there, but I do know that I was a child visiting.  If that shade of yellow made you want to vomit, would it poison your memories of childhood?

I do wonder.

But here’s the thing.  I can’t take out this memory, but I can make an impression of it, an imprint, and it’s so much easier to put memories in without breaking a mind than take them out.  We’re making memories all the time, after all.

All I have to do is give you this little shot, to prepare your brain, and I can resonate your nerves so you remember – oh, maybe not precisely what I do – but something enough like it that I can be satisfied.  Maybe the color will taste of bile and terror, or the swaying leaf-patterns lull you into the madness of knowing there’s nothing you can do to stop me.

The memories will still kill me, eventually.  I am burning inside, every moment scorching away a little more of me.

But at least I won’t die alone.

2 comments to Flash Fiction: If An Injury Must Be Done

  • A N

    Layers of putrid yellow peeling off the walls as they haunts you still. Great imagery. I felt like I was there, in a lucid state, unsure of what exactly was happening. Something evil. Just enough detail to ignite the imagination 🙂

    • kiya

      Thank you!

      And ooh, I’m guessing this means that Chuck has released all of everyone else’s stories from comment purgatory and I can go read other people’s horrible ideations too. 😉