From the Enter the Abyss short story collection
Summer was burning the ashes, watching intently as every trace of her boyfriend’s favorite blue shirt disappeared into the smoldering fire of burning leaves. She thought about just how much her boyfriend loved that shirt, and smiled a little, the engraved brass buttons the only thing she ever liked about it. She watched the tendrils of smoke as they wafted on the breeze, carrying away all the bitter memories of her former flame. She felt relieved, cathartic, as if now everything could be alright, as if this was the final symbol of letting go. She almost couldn’t believe it was over, the years she’d lived in her ex’s shadow. In the light of the hot autumn day when so many people were incinerating their piles of dead leaves, Summer reached up and touched the tender bruise around her eye, still wincing at the pain. It had taken unbelievable courage to finally get free, but Summer smiled, knowing that she was worth it.
As the fire subsided, she saw a glint amid the ash and shook her head, admonishing herself not to be so careless. Picking through the charred remains, she retrieved the engraved buttons of her ex’s favorite shirt, and the bloodied teeth that had not succumbed to the fire, placing them in her pocket and preparing for the new day, knowing that he could never touch her again.