Flash Fiction

Beyond the Light of the Fire

The boy sucked the last cold chip from the park bin and crept back to his bed under the bridge. The new month had orange eyes and brought with it a scent of winter. Crisp packets and empty cans slept in the crevices. A stray was sitting on his cardboard and hissed. He sighed and hoped when he turned 12 he’d get more respect.

“That’s my bed, but mooj over a wee bit and I’ll share with you.”

As he crouched to pet its head, the cat waddled off. He slumped and felt a lump. Dug a hand under.

A finger.

It was chewed around the edges but hadn’t been dead for long. Flakes of skyblue polish still on the nail. He sniffed. Warm perfume behind the knuckle. A smile surfaced – this was the luck he’d been waiting for. He hid it under his armpit and waited for the pink scratch of morning.

After the street emptied of footsteps, he dug a hole between thorn bushes and weeds and planted the finger.

Days… weeks… months… passed. He checked every morning, making sure it was watered. The snow moved him into an old caravan by the forgotten scrapyard where he waited.

On the first breath of spring, he left to check. The finger had sprouted and a full hand and wrist joined it from the ground. Perfect skyblue nail polish. He lay down and it caressed his face. Soon she would be fully grown. Soon they would be together.

John Gerard Fagan is a Scottish writer who has published over 100 short stories in places such as Thi Wurd, Guts, and The Sunlight Press. His debut memoir Fish Town, about living 7 years in a remote Japanese fishing village, was published in 2021 to critical acclaim. See more @JohnGerardFagan or visit JohnGerardFagan.com