Haddock is not a colour I said, but she talked about rainbows and I saw them too. A colour you can catch and throw back in.
I’ll just slit you up in bed she said, and we laughed at the thought of hot blood gushing down my fat belly till I died.
She called me Lovebud, and played Monster Mash on her iPhone while she washed my privates.
I didn’t know who she was, outside of my hospital room, or why her skin would kindle green with veins and catch fire if the curtains were open.
Keep everything shut I said.
We’re not dead yet, she said. We need light.
I’m not a geranium, I said. Light or no light. And I’m going to die one day, anyway.
Cool, she said, me too.
That’s something to hold on to. A truth so sharp it cuts. So slippery it breaths, something with scales and eyes and a heart.
Don’t wear such tight T-shirts, I said. Just to be on the safe side. Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t smile. Don’t not smile. Don’t fall in love. Don’t get married.
She stripped me to the buff, pointed to the scars, and I told her the story of each small one.
She cleaned and bandaged the ghost of it.
I was a graveyard smash.
I’m not really a Goth, she said. She said she only wore black lipstick so men would leave her alone on public transport.
That’s how it starts, I said. You are me, twenty years ago. Just with worse make-up.
She curled her palm into the concave of my cut out spaces. Said a scar is a ghost you can hold in your hand.
Elisabeth Ingram Wallace lives in Scotland, and is a Senior Editor for the Best British and Irish Flash Fiction 2018-2019. Her work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Atticus Review, Flash Frontier, and the Bath Flash Fiction Award anthologies. Her stories have won the TSS Publishing Flash Fiction Competition and Writing the Future 2017. Elisabeth is a Scottish Book Trust ‘New Writers Award’ winner, and recipient of a Dewar Arts Award. You can find her on Twitter @ingram_wallace