When he reached for the creamer, Charles’s cuff rose and revealed the scarring. She’d seen those deep round holes before. “Cigarettes?”

He slipped his hand under the table like a boy who bites his nails. She cradled his hand in hers. Delicate hair blanketed his skin except for an intersection of circles shaped like a cross.

“Third grade. Older boys smoking behind school. One held me down, another covered my mouth, and the biggest one seared my skin like I was cattle.”

She pulled down her turtleneck exposing pale skin riddled with thick holes.

“Call it my rhino skin.”




Anne Anthony has been published in Brilliant Flash Fiction, Tell Us A Story, Poetry South, Easy Street, Firewords Quarterly, Crack the Spine and other literary journals. She lives in North Carolina.