My latest in the Micro Bookends weekly flash fiction contest wherein they supply the first (PLAY) and last (BOY) words, respectively, and you respond to the photo prompt with 110 words max. My story received 3rd place with the following gracious comments from the judge:

“This story was an abundance of brilliant images- “this death, squatting in my body” as a description of tortured grief, to pick but one. The final line used the bookend to stunning effect- “a toy disillusioned with the boy”- to allow a glimpse about what might have passed between the narrator and the boy that he mourns.”

My entry:

Play me a tune, baby, to awaken this death squatting in my body. It’s leaving littered notes, sticking to my innards. I ignore them, illegible scribbling of a madman.

Maybe I’m the madman. When you left, I felt like a child that’d lost his favorite toy down the sewer. It was floating away on a river of shit.

My eyes watch the windows, the skies, any opening to see a hint of your shadow’s return. Waiting only serves to water the death; misery is like its cherry blossoms.

You aren’t gonna play that tune, though, are you? Your throat went dry. Probably my doing.

A toy disillusioned with the boy.

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