The Ruins (Caroljean Gavin)

One day a lost woman in a ball gown will ripple and blink through the cracked asphalt of the Acificap Shopping Plaza. Under an orange sunrise the morning melodies of the MerMaids will rise up from the sea. UniClones will graze on wild succulents, horns tipped to the soil. The stores will all be boarded, empty, dusty, devoid, unshimmering, completely mundane. A chuckling wind will jester through the ruins causing a tiny taupe boat to float down to the woman from the top of a New Growth tree. The boat will flutter down into her hand, unclasp, unwind, and open to reveal the picture of a smiling girl with red braids, surrounded by a frame of fingerprint smears. The woman will have heard of these things, napkins; they were called, made from the pulp of organic trees. They were used to wipe the grease of slaughtered and hot oil-boiled flesh animals from one’s cheek or underlip. With the heel of her silver shoe, the woman will dig a hole and bury the napkin. She will always know where it is. She will never have to look at it again. For years later, whenever she rides her blazing FeeNix through the sky chasing zephyrs, the woman will draw her fingers over the circle of her bracelet, over the crook of her arm, looking for the seam, the folded places, the ketchup fingerstains of her creator. Her diamond tears will bullet down, tearing through the roof of the Laundromat, of the pharmacy, to fall and roll in a dusty, dark corner, a rainbow clutched inside.

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Caroljean Gavin‘s work has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions and has appeared in places such as Pithead Chapel, Barrelhouse, and X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine. She’s the edior of “What I Thought of Ain’t Funny” an anthology of short fiction based on the jokes of Mitch Hedberg, out from Malarkey Books. She just ate the last piece of cheesecake and can be found on Twitter: @caroljeangavin

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image: Lindsay Hargrave