Blue flies peppered the bedroom window pane; trapped, their carcasses fell and littered the sill like ashes from the old man’s cigar whose corpse lay rotting in bed. Mike hadn’t seen the old man smoking behind his house all week, so he went to check on him. He knocked but heard no sounds inside. Mike peered through windows and noticed the flies, then saw the gasping, tilted skull, its upper lip drawn high over long yellow teeth. The old man had fabricated sheet-metal parts for the bombs dropped on Japan. Exposure to radiation had killed the nerves in his bottom jaw, and his lower teeth had rotted away. He told Mike about it once across their common fence chewing pensively on his cigar. He’d described visiting a prison to review designs with Nazi scientists. Now the old man was dead of cancer, another victim of Little Boy.
Third place – Sacramento News and Review Flash Fiction Contest 2012