leave good enough alone. She picks at
the wound until a generous mixture of blood and pus oozes out. The perimeter
has enlarged two-fold and is now festering something awful, a putrid mustard
As she works meticulously
to peel back the inflamed
skin flap, her lips purse tight keeping the screams locked inside. The
excruciating pain does not tear her away. Increasingly light-headed, she takes
pause every few seconds to catch her breath, and to savour the accompanying
relief. Soon she feels nothing at all.
from her surroundings. She is
unaware of the passing of time, the passing of her young life. Hovering out of
body, she is oblivious to the approaching footsteps outside the bedroom. Jerome
bent on confrontation, his engorged tatts pulsating through a soiled, buff,
tank, lurks around the corner. He bursts into the room yelling at her to cut it
out, threatening that he’ll tie her hands down if she cannot control herself.
Maudine cowers. ‘He’s a miserable shit. Doesn’t know when to mind his own
business.' Her gut clenches in a vice grip holding back vomit and rage. She
swallows it whole.
Ignoring a faint
reminder of life that once held
promise, she follows the dark voice inside that pulls her beneath the surface.
Maudine burrows deeper into the gaping hole until her nails hit bone. The pain
is acute and arresting, a welcome distraction from her pathetic life.
“The Cutting Room”
by Karen Schauber
originally appeared in Blood Puddles: Night Terrors and Daymares, Volume 1,
published in May 2018 by Scribbler’s Press.
Karen Schauber's flash
fiction appears in seventy-five international literary magazines, journals, and
anthologies. including Bending Genres, Cabinet of Heed, Cease
Cows, Ekphrastic Review, Fiction Southeast, New World
Writing, Spelk; with three “Best Microfiction” nominations. She is
editor of the award-winning flash fiction anthology “The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories
Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings” (Heritage
House, 2019). Schauber curates Vancouver Flash Fiction, an
online resource hub, and Miramichi Flash, a monthly
literary column. In her spare time, she is a seasoned family