By Michael C. Keith

He’s deeply disturbed but has concealed that fact well enough to keep from drawing unwanted attention. He wonders what it is that has him clenching his fists and feeling the rise of his heartbeat? Is it the sudden darkness in the room or the icy air that seeps through a break in the windowpane that makes him so jumpy? He smells something, too, which puts him off . . . churns his stomach. A scent that rose from the freshly severed arm of an Afghan villager he rushed to aid as an army medic. Then there’s the rose-colored water that trickles onto his shoes as he slumps at the basin’s edge. Clare, he thinks, you shouldn’t have done it. His lover’s hand twitches in a postmortem spasm and he screams for her out of habit.

Michael C. Keith teaches colleges and writes fiction. For more information visit:

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