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My entry into the Flash! Friday weekly flash fiction contest wherein you supply 210 words max in response to the photo prompt above and the word prompt to use the setting “parking lot.” My entry received an Honorable Mention with the kind words from the judge:

This was one story whose first line gives us a superb description. “The dark pus of my brain dripped between the fingers of yesterday’s mistakes.” This line uniquely describes what remembering something forgotten feels like. The broken sentences throughout help enhance the feeling of things forgotten. In reality, who remembers things in flowing prose? It’s all bits and pieces that battle to surface, and we believe this piece captures that.

My entry:

The dark pus of my brain dripped between the fingers of yesterday’s mistakes.

I was curled inside the basket of a Walmart cart. There was enough glow from a nearby streetlamp that I could see my hands.

In another time, in another place, under much different circumstances, the glow would’ve illuminated blood-soaked hands. And a mop of black, curly hair.

Aarif. He was obsessed with the Terminator. In his broken English, he’d say, “I’ll be back.” Then he’d come back with gifts from his grandmother. An ornate, colorful rug made with patient hands. Lost that.

I gave him my black sunglasses. On the day of his death. I always did have good fucking timing.

Found them after the friendly fire explosion, no longer salvageable, but I like to think, containing his presence, a faint echo of what he once was. He was no Terminator.

Yeah, yeah, it’s a cheesy thought, but I’ll take the cheesy thoughts over the other ones.

I walk through the parking lot to exercise my legs and I see those ugly fucking yellow, “Support the troop!” bumper stickers. And then when I see the owners, their eyes avert mine.

In my uniform, they consider me a warrior.

In my broken human skin, I’m the unseen shadow.

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