In Fiction on December 9, 2013 at 1:37 pm
“Sit, Mr. Brennan. Your wound is weeping.”
When I turned, Philippe Bonté was sitting at the white marble counter, delicately stirring a coffee.
“How’d you do that?” I asked, slow to comprehend. “You weren’t there before.”
“I wasn’t?” he asked innocently. “Well, if you’re sure… You really are a magnificent detective, Mr. Brennan. Voudriez-vous un café?”
I crossed the room in three long strides and put my pistol beneath his chin.
“Non, merci,” I said, readying the hammer with a click, but Bonté didn’t so much as flinch. He wiped his mouth and waved the napkin in the air like a little white flag. Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on November 25, 2013 at 11:14 am
As I wheeled through the streets of Luxor in the bullet-eaten Mahindra—my brother covered in blood and brooding like a lunatic—the crowds stared but kept their distance. At the hotel, I parked down an alley and walked my brother through the back.
“Stay here,” I said, opening the door to my room and nudging him inside. I limped down to the front desk to find Panya hiding behind the office door.
“Father has gone out, Dr. Rosen,” she said meekly.
“That’s alright; you can help me.”
The girl gripped the door like a shield, her thick eyebrows working. She was Oxford educated, and smarter than her father by half, but she was also extraordinarily traditional. It was improper for a man to speak to her alone.
“I’m hurt, Panya,” I said. I held up my bloody hands for her to see. “Please.” Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on November 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm
“I mean to make you my husband, Pietro.”
Pietro leaned forward, certain he’d misheard over the clatter of horse hooves and carriage wheels. Ippolita smiled wickedly.
“My family has always punished you for what you are,” she said, smoothing her skirts. Her hands lingered between her legs as she met Pietro’s gaze. “But if you do me this… kindness… I promise I shall remember you.”
Ippolita sat with her legs delicately crossed—a tiny thing, so light that the slightest jostling of the carriage bounced her on her velvet cushion. She was as dangerous as she was beautiful, but Pietro was only a fool by profession, and he wasn’t so easily played.
“Why can’t you do this thing yourself?”
“Kill my own father?” Ippolita shrugged. “I could. I wouldn’t shrink from such a thing, but it would seriously complicate my inheritance.” Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on November 8, 2013 at 10:23 am
Without name, I am often spoken.
The least of the gods, yet the most feared; not Death, but His brother; undone with a whisper, yet the ruin of many lives.
Who am I?
This riddle is my response to this weekend’s Trifextra Challenge. Do you know the answer?
In Fiction on October 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm
The audience poured in, revealing brief glimpses of the wintry street as the doors opened and closed: night settling; snowdrifts swirling in headlights; buildings tall and glimmering. Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett watched. The others had yet to arrive.
“Seems to be a popular premiere,” Beckett offered. Shakespeare shrugged.
“The Tempest is playing at the Otten,” he said. “Patrick Stewart makes a great Prospero.”
“There’s room for new blood, Bill,” Beckett replied, as if consoling an overlooked child. “God knows there is. They’re doing Godot at a black box uptown, but you don’t hear me complaining.”
“That’s because no one would go, Sam, competition or no. No one understands your foggy abstractions.”
“Hmph.” Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on October 7, 2013 at 10:47 pm
Dives and Lazarus
Thomas and Quinn strolled down the Helicline, through pleasant evening air and a smell of lavender. Quinn polished the buttons of his vest and looked back at the massive white orb.
“Magnificent!” he exclaimed. “A fantastic vision of the future. And this fluorescent technology seems a prudent investment, Thomas. What do you say?”
Thomas, who had been inspecting a silver dollar, tucked the coin in his pocket and sighed.
“I suppose it does,” he said wistfully.
Quinn eyed him askance.
“You’ve been acting very queer today,” he said. “Is everything all right?”
“There was a man sleeping in my doorway this morning,” he said. “He asked me for a dollar to feed his family.”
“A crook, surely,” Quinn replied. “Tell me you didn’t pay the man?” Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on October 4, 2013 at 10:58 pm
Charlie Brown… What can you say, really? Poor kid sat in that pumpkin patch even after the rain started and turned the place to a bog. Now he’s just a soggy corpse.
My apologies to the estate of Charles Schulz—I really don’t know what came over me. This is my response to this weekend’s Trifextra Challenge (care of the folks over at the Trifecta Writing Challenge).
Please, if you’re just visiting for the first time, go over and read Akhun… I promise I sometimes write good stuff, really I do :-p
In Fiction on September 30, 2013 at 9:41 pm
By early March we had left Aleppo and were making our way south toward Qusayr, where we had heard Hezbollah fighters were crossing the border from Lebanon. Pha’ris had somehow convinced a commander in the FSA to take us—that my reporting would glorify their cause—even though I told him he shouldn’t have said that.
“You worry too much,” he told me, that day near Rastan. The shelling was thunderous in the distance, and the sky was black with smoke.
“I’m a realist,” I said.
We were packed into our four-by-four with six rebels. Another truck, winding its way through the burnt-out cars ahead of us, held six more. There had been a third in our convoy just a week earlier, but they’d tripped an IED by Maarat al-Numan, and we’d spent the greater part of a day collecting body parts for burial. Hell yes I was afraid. Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on September 23, 2013 at 11:59 pm
Man and Beast
Pietro knelt in the half-light, clutching the rosary to his chest, mumbling his prayers. Faith was the only balm for a soul as ragged and ruined as his. He had been six years at the monastery, and still the wounds had not healed.
“How did you find me?” he asked at last. The girl swept into the room and sat on the edge of his cot.
“How many dwarves do you imagine there are in Florence?” She laughed. “When I couldn’t find you in any of the whorehouses or alehouses, I started searching the churches.”
Pietro sighed. He had finally begun to feel better. He’d finally begun to pass the nights without dreaming of Giovanni’s mangled smile—without waking to find his chamber echoing with his own mad laughter. He turned. Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on September 17, 2013 at 8:55 pm
At the Game
There is a dream I have in summer, when the sun is hot and flashing white in my gossamer curtains. It is a dream known well by men of my age, but wholly unfamiliar to those still enjoying life. I don’t know that I should tell you…
A boat sits in open water, the oars resting, the waves lapping at the sides. I sit in the stern, but I do not row. Instead I stand and stretch and peer toward land, finding only the dark blue rim of the watery horizon, a stripe of color, and an endless ocean.
When I fall, as I always fall, I sink slowly through blue-green warmth, then down into crushing, icy murk. As all goes black, I awake. Read the rest of this entry »