Half a dozen tally marks scratched into the grey stone walls, flaked with rusty brown spots – blood stains. Aside from me, those scratches are all that remain of the team. They called us The Seven. When the sun rises tomorrow morning, only the tallies will remain.
If I’m completely honest, my execution will come as a blessed relief. Death means an end to the dreams, an end to waking up drenched in sweat, yet still shivering. An end to seeing their pleading faces behind my eyelids. An end to breathing the all-pervading coppery odor of blood every time I inhale.
I scratch at the wall, determined to leave a mark of my own. Seven scratches for The Seven just seem right. I don’t know how much time it takes, but by the time I finish my nails are ragged and my fingertips caked with blood. The constant pain flows through my veins and for the first time since they led Lana out of the cell next door, I feel a connection to the world.
An orange plastic tray representing my final meal slides under the reinforced steel door of my cell. Apparently the Russians feel that I should face their firing squad on a stomach full of cheap macaroni and cheese. I assume they didn’t bother to drug it this time. Not much point trying to debilitate a dead man. I eat about half of it.
With nothing else to occupy my time, I drift into sleep. Once again, I see the faces of the rest of The Seven. Once again, their eyes bulge at me and they mouth the word “Why?” And once again, I’m plunging my dagger into their throats. I watch as five of them collapse to the ground, blood bubbling out from their necks as they fade from living. Lana knew better. She saw my intent and bolted before I could add her corpse to the pile.
I’m awoken by two guards, led outside and chained to a wall. I vaguely hear a couple of barked Russian words and the crack of a rifle before oblivion embraces me.
As followers of this blog are no doubt aware, back in March of this year, I participated in a Flash Fiction writing challenge known as “Four by Flash,” which had the goal of producing sixteen flash fiction pieces (four a week for four weeks) in a single calendar month. However, the full extent of that challenge was to repeat that schedule four times in a calendar year for a total of sixty-four pieces. I had earmarked June as my second month to attempt this feat, vowing to do better than I did in March, where a late start meant that pieces were still dribbling out in April.
I clearly failed miserably on the actual deadline thing, but I’m still determined to get all the sixteen pieces out. This piece is my seventh of the set and I still have ideas for the rest.
My “prompt bingo card” provided the inspiration for this 353-word piece, which combined with my last few pieces means I have five squares marked off. This piece was prompted by the square reading “Not all scars are visible,” a quote from Jose N.Harris. This means I actually got BINGO!
Stock photo courtesy of Angel Souto