Prick, Sting, Wait by Christina Dalcher
Some words are pinpricks the first time you hear them, the minutest of stings, nothing really. Like stepping on a bee when you ran through clover at Gran’s old house—running, running, running until the creature lurking in the grass penetrates the tender spot between your toes. You stop and register what happened, you think, oh, crap, I stepped on a bee and it’s going to hurt like hell in a minute. But it doesn’t hurt, not yet. The venom hasn’t had time to soak in. You stepped on a bee and it pricked you. You wait five seconds, ten. Wait for the poison to work its way through your tender flesh. Wait for your skin to swell and tighten in concentric circles radiating out from the locus of the intrusion.
by Steve Frosch
Vine Leaves Literary Journal