My Brain Cell…

© 2016 by Richard S. Crawford; 355 words

…Sits on a shelf on my desk, lonely and unused. The dendrites look ragged, as if a cat has been chewing on them. Which it probably has. Which would explain a lot, I suppose.

I’m trying to remember the last time I used this particular neuron or why I took it out, and I simply can’t. Perhaps this is the brain cell that holds those memories? I don’t know.

Only one way to find out, I suppose.

I pop my head open and stuff the neuron in. I wait for a moment. The nibbled dendrites might make it difficult for it to synchronize with the rest of my brain, but finally it does, and the memories come flooding back:

There’s a man I don’t recognize in a mirror, a giant axe in his hand, an axe all covered in blood and gore. He’s done something, that man. Something terrible. Something that involved his wife.

As the brain cell settles in, the memory clarifies. Yep. It happened in the basement. The man had done something horrific to her, then, afraid that the neighbors would find out what had happened, he’d sealed her up in the wall of the basement behind the bookcase.

And the more I look into the mirror, the more I remember this reflection: the dark hair, the short beard, the flannel shirt, the jeans, the black boots. Oh yes. This is me.

This explains why my wife hasn’t been around.

My heart’s pounding, and I’m beginning to sweat. I can’t hold on to this memory. It’s awful, and terrifying.

I open my head again and remove the offending neuron. Soon enough, the memory fades and I begin to calm down, not sure why I was even feeling panicky.

I put the brain cell on my desk shelf, and there it sits, lonely and unused. I wonder what it was for.

This one was inspired by… Well, by a little plush brain cell from Giant Microbes that sits on my desk at work.

This story comes with a bonus clip of me reading it from JoCoCruise 2017, introduced by my friend Melanie Cassidy! Enjoy!