Twenty-five Years Ago Today

You were right. It wasn’t mice in the kitchen and now I see why those traps never caught anything but dust. But the scratching wasn’t all in my head like you claimed, either. Your mother’s fingers were in the wall behind the refrigerator. The kitchen’s mine, so don’t even start. Our lawyers have already had this conversation and everything in the kitchen, laundry, upstairs guest room, my side of the bedroom, downstairs half bath, and the family room (family, ha!), down to the studs, belongs to me. I don’t want to hear how your father built this place with his own two hands; I’m taking it apart with mine. 

It looks like her left hand. I found the middle finger first (and don’t think that was by accident) caught on the electrical conduit, slightly warmed and a little singed. I noticed some nibbles on the ring finger. Please note: both rings–yellow gold and diamond–are still on. The pinky remains missing (perhaps we had mice after all); the rest I put in your nightstand.

Her nose was stuck in the dryer vent. It must’ve fallen out of your pocket. That I stuck in your sock drawer–along with the dirty, mismatched pairs you left lying about. 

I don’t have to tell you where I found her tongue, do I? No wonder I slept so poorly, all that whispering and wagging. I hope she kept her eyes to herself. 

You might want to check behind the mirror above your sink. That looking glass always made me look bad and I have my suspicions. 

The heart was lodged in the sewer pipe. At first, I thought it hers. Then I noticed the notches on the right atria. I had to get my good glasses to see they were our initials. I recognized your funny-looking L. No one mangles straight lines quite like you. I tucked your half under the pillows you left on the front porch swing and used the rest to re-sole my walkin’ boots. 

Your father’s bones I left under the crawlspace. The blue blanket is a gift from me. That man could keep it together. In admiration, I’ve taken his right hand–those bones built my half of the house so in essence they’re mine–and wrapped it in salvaged copper wiring to carry off with the rest of my gotten gains. I shall wear it proudly, ’round my neck, like an albatross of you.

FYI, you might want to check the crack in the foundation if you’re planning to rebuild. I think it swallows dreams.

H.L. Fullerton writes fiction—mostly speculative, occasionally peculiar—and has had upwards of 75 short stories published in places like Kaleidotrope, Lackington’s, and Underland Arcana. On Twitter as @ByHLFullerton
Twenty-five Years Ago Today is the winner of the Apparition Literary Magazine July Flash Fiction Challenge.

Photo by Lujia Zhang on Unsplash

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