Scars heal, but should they?
What if they lingered, a weeping sore, so that they were a constant reminder? When they faded, so does the memory. If they remained, visceral and seeping, would you neglect the reminder?
He saw it now upon his hand as he held that steaming cup of tea.
It seemed like a milliard years ago to him, but it was not. That was the falsehood of memory. In reality, not that much time had passed. It was perhaps a decade or so, possibly more. The recollection, when called upon, felt crisp, like the scars that followed. It remained raw in his mind, the oozing wounds on his knuckles, the ruptured skin, the burgundy and scarlet flesh underneath, but only when he coerced himself to reminisce. Only then, when he dredged the memories from the deep abyssal within his own mind, did he evoke the gory details.
The scars, they were still there, on his knuckle, on the top of his hand, on his skin, but they were faint now. The wall had been plastered over, that imperfection was gone, the hole had been filled, same as the skin that had grown, and then regrown, so often that they were just unimportant, peculiar, little marks now, blemishes, blebs, nothing more…
His hand trembled, causing the boiling tea to slosh and dripple over the edge and onto his knuckle.
But that wasn’t the truth of it.
They were a souvenir, however indistinct, of a tenebrous chasm that was within all of us.
So, maybe scars shouldn’t fade, perhaps they should remain tender and raw, so that he could never forget what he did…
He gripped his cup, and his hand stopped its quivering.
Or possibly the dwindling of a scar was forgiveness.
It was the human body’s way of absolving you for what you’d done. The scars had dulled, so had the memory, so maybe it was time to let it go, and exonerate himself for what had happened.
Perhaps everyone had a murkier nature that materialised every now and then, and left its terrible marks, but eventually, it faded away, and you could move on with your life.
Maybe, this was just the way of the world.
With a sigh, he covered his hand with the other, hiding the scar and what it meant from his eyes.
Elliot Harper is a speculative fiction writer. He has short stories in The Wild Hunt: Stories of the Chase and Spirit Machine by Air and Nothingness Press, Black Telephone Magazine Issue 1 by Clash Books, and The Protest Issue in Popshot Quarterly Magazine. His short story, “Into the Garden”, won the Flash Vision 2021 contest, which was run by The Molotov Cocktail. He currently lives in Leeds, England. Find him on Twitter @ElliotJHarper and at his website, www.elliotjharper.com.