fiction in a flash



it was only a sliver. but it hurt something fierce. it had only been a tiny crack that he had looked through to gaze at her thigh. he knew it was her thigh, the opal quality of her skin, the lone freckle that shone like the one visible star in a city sky. he knew it was her thigh, and his heart started its audible beating and his hands started opening and closing like they always did at the sight of her.

he stood there in his room, held up by his palms against the wall. his right eye was shut tight and his left eye wide open, not blinking enough, drying out from not wanting to miss a thing. he watched her hand trace invisible I love you's on her skin. he shivered despite the heat of his breath bouncing off the wall and condensing on his face. but then, a hand, not hers and not his own, was tracing a line from the freckle to something out of frame. the hand was square and ungraceful. his hands were long and thin and longing. they started making fists, white to red white to red. and then, he couldn't look any longer.

he covered the sliver of light with the picture he had painted of her through the crack. it was a sliver of her back framed by black. he ran his finger along the wooden frame he had made with the tools his grandfather had left him. and as he ran his finger along his imperfect work, one fine sliver of pine stuck into the pad of his index finger. he winced and grabbed his hand at the wrist. he examined his fingertip and marveled at the invisibility of so much pain. he squeezed it against his thumb to intensify the ache. he continued squeezing and thinking of how strange it was when something so small and unseen could hurt so much.

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