Hunched over the kitchen sink, my son held the point of an unhooked safety pin to a flame, watching it blacken clean. Then, one by one, he opened the blisters on his right index and middle fingertips. Then those on his four left fingertips.
I couldn’t see his face, only his shoulders, broad and tense, his hands working, loosely, easily still. I should have suspected that his fading began when he hauled his double bass up from the basement, ordered new strings and began practicing every day, late into the evenings, again...
* "The Fading" is an excerpt from a longer story with the same title. It won second prize in the 2021 Prime Number Magazine Flash Fiction Contest and was published in Issue #199.