Latest Flash


Regrets can provide important life lessons.

The most important lesson in The Gutter? Don't push the wrong buttons.

Counterblow by María C. Domínguez

Saturday night and I was off doing the pub rounds with Sarah. I wanted to celebrate my new status. I was no longer a failure, an outcast, becoming a father had changed it. Besides, I really needed to wind down. Working all day and doing night shifts to keep Sarah happy was killing me. Everything has a price, I guess.

She was sweet and chatty, as always, before drinking. Dressed in a tight transparent top and revealing mini skirt that I hated, she started her incessant chatter. Telling me how she had bumped into her ex a few days ago and how attractive he was. A true gentleman, a self-made man, who had a chain of lottery shops across the country. He was rolling in money.

“I´d have been better off if I´d settled with him, Georgie. He´d have made a queen of me eh,” she said, pinching me fiercely.

She really knew how to take a stab at me. We were already in our fourth pub when she started her usual arguments. Her swearing would end in a full-blown wrestling match, between me, the bottle, and whoever got in our way. Until we´d be thrown out.

But this night Sarah was different. Her eyes were fiery, her body tense as if ready to pounce. She hurled a bottle at me, giggled hysterically at my stammering white face, and yelled, “You’re crap, Georgie, look at him, he´s not even half a man….”

Dumped in the street, I could take it no more. Swaggering and drunk, I forced her back home. She gave in despite her unflagging strength and continued laughing.

“Guess what, you´ll never be a father now, ye know, ye know. I’ve done with it.” She fell on the floor once we crossed the front door, so inebriated that she crawled to the stairs and stayed put on the bottom step.

“Hey, get up, will ye? What did you say?” I said, incredulous to her last words.

“The baby, it’s n-o-t-t-h-e-r-e,” she replicated, slurring her words. Her eyes were two black smudges. She swiped at a trickle of saliva that was falling off her chin.

“Poor little baby,” she said, looking pathetically at me.

“What the? It can´t be…..”

“Oh, never mind, Georgie. The baby wasn´t yours anyway.” She said, throwing off her black stilettos with virulence.

I couldn´t face it. Failure thudded in my head. I felt an acrid taste pricking my tongue. My eyes, wet and burning, couldn´t focus. My life aborted in a second. This woman—my lover, a murderer—had fucked me up.

I slapped her face. I could feel her tentacles trying to grab me. “Go up,” I said.

“No, I won´t. What are you going to do? Hit me? Eh eh? Kill me?” she began to sob insistently.

Before I knew it, I had dragged that thing all the way up, slammed the door shut, and pushed her with all my strength. She fell and hit her head against a sharp edge. Blood gushed from her mouth. She whimpered loudly.

I felt powerful now. The monster would get what it deserved. My son would be avenged. With yet another powerful blow, the body, just flesh and bone bathed in red, was silenced forever.

María Castro Domínguez was born and raised in London. She has a book of poetry titled "Four Hands” (A Cuatro Manos) with Jacobo Valcárcel, and has contributed to several newspapers and magazines, including Blaze Vox, Retort, The Argotist, Message in a Bottle, Bareknuckle Poet and StepAway Magazine among others. Maria is a freelance writer and translator with a Bachelor´s Degree in English Philology.