“Lena Keeps Her Secret”

The scar ran like spilt wax down her shoulder and arm. Her face changed as she spread lotion over the ruined flesh, eyes pooling with something he did not understand or ask about. Even dressed, her hand would move to the place where the scar was hidden beneath the cloth, covering it like a bandage.

Once when they were naked he put his mouth against this wounding and she shuddered as though something seismic was stirring deep inside.

I’m sorry, he said.

She said nothing.

He was drawn to the scar, this Braille with which to read her past, to know her beyond language. The story of her body that she would not tell.

He too had a scar, his lip stitched like the seams of a mended cloth, a tension where the pieces came together.

Immediately she wanted to know.

My brother, he said. His head turned slightly as if listening to a sound that only he could hear. He gashed me with a rock when we were boys. He wanted to kill me.
Then she possessed his secret, but she would not tell hers.

That night she pressed her mouth against his mouth and moved down the muscles of his neck, his chest, and at the hip she stopped and spoke something into his body, something Russian that he did not understand, untranslated sound entering his flesh.

Later they sat on the sheetless bed like dazed survivors on a raft. They drank beer from a bottle, she skinning a boiled potato then bringing pieces to his lips on the blade of a knife.

His face was grave and scrawled with thought.

I don’t know how I got here, he said.

By car, she said.

His smile was incongruous.

No, I mean I don’t understand how I’m in this room with you. How chance delivered me here.

Not about chance, she said.

With the blade she brought a slice of potato to his mouth.

A scar will always find another scar.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Why I Write Editing/Publishing Advice / Suggestions Featured Fiction Reading Lists New Fiction
Sort by

Why I Write: Lena Marecki

On Writing Writing, for me, is unlike any other form of art in that its mode — words — are ab
2018-12-14 10:20:48


“Your No One is My Everyone: Some Thoughts on Publishing and the Sage Advice of Businessmen”

The first time I fully realized the value of what I do for a living, I was stricken with the stomach flu. Illness is
2016-12-05 09:57:43


Why I Write: Eunice Barbara C. Novio

(My Journey with Words) Since I was young, I vented my anger and happiness on words sometimes, I painted. But
2016-08-31 22:16:15


“The Heavenly Language”

As the car whipped over the rise, his stomach came up in his throat and he saw his father’s accusing eyes on
2014-11-26 06:18:52


“Aimee’s Alibi”

Aimee Semple McPherson was kidnapped from Ocean Park Beach near Santa Monica on May 18, 1926 by two men and a woman,
2019-10-11 23:51:11



The boy’s favorite smell was the smell of leaves burning, that mossy, earthy smoke, even though you weren’t supposed
2019-10-02 09:37:12



Coach unzips his blue tracksuit, zipper fizzling down the suede, as the wind carries the sound off the bluffs at the
2019-09-23 11:04:54


Why I Write: Jim Powell

Old School Mission [for “Why I Write”] I’m writing this essay in March 2018, eleven days out of an ele
2019-09-16 23:45:09


“The Colors of Pain”

“Gut pain’s always the worst,” says the medic. I could tell him he’s right, but I want to keep my pain p
2019-09-02 10:58:28


About Ryan Griffith

Ryan Griffith is a writer currently living in Budapest, Hungary. His work has appeared in elimae, Night Train, Dogzplot, FictionDaily, FlashFiction.Net, and the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Stories of 2012.