Jenny and I find the shattered shell and spilled turtle meat outside of the cul-de-sac we live on. She stares as I scrape what I can off the street with a shovel that Paul keeps in the trunk and into a reusable shopping bag.
“What are we going to do with it,” Jenny asks. She twirls one of her pigtails.
“You’ll see,” I say.
Jenny watches as I squirt lighter fluid on the turtle asterix in its open shoebox coffin. I pull a book of matches out of my pocket.
“She’s only five,” Paul says.
“She has to watch,” I say.
“She’s. Only. Five.”
“So was I when I watched the Challenger explode.”
I light a match and throw it in the shoebox. I wrap one arm around Jenny, place my hand on the back of her neck so she can’t turn away. I make her inhale three times before letting her go back inside. Paul runs after Jenny, leaves behind the plastic handle of whiskey I asked for.
“Let the nightmares come,” I say to no one before taking the first swig. The moon begins to smear.
J. Bradley is the author of the flash fiction chapbook, No More Stories About The Moon (Lucky Bastard Press, 2016), the forthcoming linked short story collection The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective (Pelekinesis, 2016), and the forthcoming Yelp review prose poem collection Pick How You Will Revise a Memory (Robocup Press, 2016). He lives at iheartfailure.net.
*Photo courtesy of Brian Michael Barbeito*