Memorial Day

Ancient hinges screech in protest as the cell door opens and I am once again flung to the dirt floor. The guards’ laughter stings worse than the whip that has just torn a bloody slash across my chest. A loud clang of metal on metal bounces off stone walls, crashes into my skull, as the door slams shut.

Sarah Wells, Private First Class, 580907143; Sarah Wells, Private First Class, 580907143; Sarah…

The rat appears through a crack in the corner. It is never far away, drawn to the pile of rice rotting at my feet. Each day I disappear a little bit more. Soon I will be gone. The roaches scatter at its approach; the rat is king. I reach out as it scurries past.

“Take my hand, honey,” Daddy says, as we cross the busy boulevard. Eastman’s Candy Store on 5th Street. I begin to skip, anticipating the thick stick of peppermint that awaits me.

Outside another eruption of AK-47s. Bullets ricochet across rock; pierce hearts half a world away.

Mommy opens the front door. The two men on the porch wear uniforms just like my daddy’s.

The wall across from me implodes. Blinding light! Dirt and rocks thunder down. I scream. Dust fills my mouth, snakes its way down my throat, coils in my lungs. Debris crushes beneath heavy boots.

Hands reach out, gently lift me up.


Jayne Martin

Jayne Martin’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Literary Magazine, Pure Slush, Midwestern Gothic, Blink Ink, Literary Orphans, Flash Frontier and Hippocampus Magazine. Her book of humor essays, “Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry,” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She lives in a rural valley near Santa Barbara, California, where she indulges her passion for horses, and can be found on the web at


Artwork by SybariteVI.