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Punching Fog | By Bjorn Ephgrave

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

I was thirty-seven when she started on me. The trouble was I didn’t see her. But how was I to know to look out for someone that I didn’t know to look out for?

It was in the kitchen of the old house, late morning, perhaps early afternoon. I was getting iced water out of my Samsung American-style fridge. I’d been meaning to get the filter fixed, but with everything else going on I never got around to it.


On my haunches. There was no blood, no cuts. It was like being battered by a sock full of soap.

I had of course experienced pain before. I remember getting my fingers caught in the hinges of a door when I was a kid, that was a bad one. My index fingernail still won’t grow back properly. But this pain was different gravy.

There was no-one else there.

My wife was in another room; I could still hear her on the phone to her mother again, oblivious to my beating, which was probably for the best. She couldn’t help me anyway; you can’t have a scrap against someone that isn’t there, can you? It’s like punching fog.

When I spoke to the doctor about it all, he listened, it helped. Figured she’d had her eye on me for a good while, about eighteen months. It was only an estimate though; these things are never accurate. He said she'll almost certainly come back, but whenever she tries to attack me again, I should refuse to fight back – don’t rise to it.

I did, I still do, it works.


Bjorn Ephgrave is a Visiting Lecturer and PhD student at the University of Chester, his research is centred around working men in contemporary flash fiction.

He has had several stories published both online and in print for magazines like: Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, for whom he also regularly reviews flash collections, Storgy and Pandora’s Box.

Bjorn is also co-founder and co-editor of House of Flash, which is a workshop / magazine specialising in flash fiction.

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