Nod Ghosh





Blood Displaces Water

Paola opens stitches on the cuff of her wrist. An efficient seamstress, she works on fine silver scars. She cuts with precision, but there’s danger in her strokes. She leans over the basin. A feather of pink spirals the water.

The collagen of her arm releases red drips, reluctant at first, then unhindered. She cuts again, and the swirls deepen to cerise. She is is fading, cold and alone. A lizard skitters across the cracked ceiling.

Soon her blood is depleted and scarce. The one-two one-two beat of her heart is strong, but her body fades with each breath. Her flesh is white; glassy folds of skin transmit the flickering candlelight.

Paola hesitates, remembers her lover’s oaths. The knife slips into a tangle of structures in her forearm. Water-in-eyes. Betrayal and lies. His lips. His promises against another’s. The beat of drums, and his sideways glances, imagined or real.

The basin is a red-red mirror. Paola’s unloved features break into concentric wheels. Drips fall. Leather-taut weals on alabastrine skin, where hesitant cuts have failed.

The fourth cut is deeper and releases a splash of crimson. The shadow of a clot writhes like a memory. The level in the basin rises, as blood displaces water.




Nod Ghosh‘s work features in various New Zealand and international publications. Nod is an associate editor for Flash Frontier, an Adventure in Short Fiction. Further details:

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