In The Wake Of Dead Soldiers

She grabbed the edge of the counter and pulled herself from the floor to something
like standing. 
The ringing in her ears would stop soon; it always did.
Her right side, though, screamed with each shallow, ragged breath. This was new.
She staggered to the table and tossed his dead soldiers—8, 9, 10— into a plastic bag.
The sour, yeasty smell from the cans wasn’t as offensive as when on his breath, when
his face was up in hers, screaming. Each clunk of a can was a reminder of that
night’s…what he called lessons.
Dinner was on the floor, smeared where her head had slammed into it. She scraped it
up, formed it into a ball, then flattened it against her palm.
He’d wanted steak. She’d laughed. When was the last time they’d been able to afford
steak? She’d offered to cook him a hamburger. He liked hamburgers. Not tonight.
She raised her palm to her face.
She’d heard raw steak was good for a black eye. How about raw hamburger?

Flash Fiction by Linda Gould

Photo by Adam Strong

Linda Gould is an American and long-time resident of Japan. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in media outlets around the world. Gould is the editor of White Enso, an online journal of creative work inspired by Japan, and host of “Kaidankai,” a podcast of supernatural stories. 

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