Anaesthesia by Courtenay Gray

Flash Fiction

Graze me like she grazed the palm of your hand with the kitchen knife — stigmata, no treatment needed. Having seen your fair share of vomit, you should know how it pools so far and wide that each step is like walking through a minefield. Sitting across from me with your book of Rimbaud poems and the leftover pizza.

Death is a gratuitous sunburn. If you strip it all back, the vermillion jelly beneath moves all on its own. My fury pounds from my heart to my teeth — a philosopher’s wet dream. I’ve lost a lot of people, some I never really had, but losing you destroyed the fabric of my reality. Little did I know that you’d been keeping the devil close, letting her sleep in your bed.

An angel should have replaced the demons that poisoned your life, but you left me here to fend for myself in spite of all you knew. I want to absolve myself of all knowledge of you — the way your voice took on that heavy drawl, caramelised satin. I am not for this world, it’s too self-absorbed and blind to the suffering. I’ll sit in the tub, to stare at the razor covered in sandalwood shower gel, and I’ll think about how it glides when wet — how it drags when dry.

Courtenay S. Gray is a writer from the North of England. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize (2020), and she has been shortlisted for the Literary Lancashire Award (2021). Courtenay was previously the Associate Editor for Thorn Literary Magazine. Twitter: @courtenaywrites