In Fiction on July 8, 2014 at 11:32 pm
Eleanor Pearl stood at the window and watched the sky grow dark. Her guests had gone and the house stood empty.
Tonight was a jumping night.
The evergreens shook their boughs and seemed to twist to face the mountain, where their brethren thinned and made room for the flat-smooth rock that rose there. Eleanor Pearl could see the climbers, first as subtle specks against the leaden stone, then stark and small against the snowy peak.
And just beside it, the moon climbed fat and full into a field of winking stars. Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on July 2, 2014 at 12:05 am
Longitude and Latitude
“When did you know you were lost?” he asked, once we’d made it some miles inland. The artillery had faded now, a distant thrumming like timpani in a stygian orchestra, accompanied by Mausers and Brownings for snares. I shook my head and felt the blood come loose from my ear.
“Have a seat, son,” the colonel said, bracing me at the shoulders and guiding me onto a crate. He produced a handkerchief and wiped the blood from my neck, turned my head from side to side and tracked the jagged movement of my eyes.
“The blast was close,” he said. “Lucky you didn’t lose an arm or a leg. Just sit a spell and get your bearings.” Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on June 24, 2014 at 9:51 pm
“Sam. I was never. The same. Your Sam. I was never.”
No matter how many times I say it, no matter how many ways, she refuses to understand me. Is it willful ignorance? Does she know the truth, at heart? I suspect so, but I also don’t blame her. Under my heavy covers, inside my shell of crackled, glassy skin, I shudder as I imagine what she feels.
The September light paints her in ethereal hues, this woman, seated at my bedside. She smiles sadly. Crow’s feet. Her eyes—what color?—not honey, exactly, not hazel. Shafts of wheat in late afternoon sun. But they are not my eyes. Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on June 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm
Waking the Gods
We gave it everything we had, but it wasn’t enough.
It wasn’t enough because … well … because the other side gave everything they had, too, didn’t they? It all just … cancels out in a way. Matter meets antimatter. Total annihilation.
You must forgive these delirious thoughts. I have seen man’s humanity torn to tatters by faith and country. I have seen a billion men, half on each side, tear one another to shreds with machines and fire and shrapnel. I have seen heroic deeds, seen heroes fall, and watched men drown in fields turned to swamps of still-warm blood.
(The blood of heroes, as like as not, but who can tell the difference?) Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on December 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm
A Place to Rest
The whitewashed walls of the old mission emerged from the mist, slow and shy like a wary ghost. It was boarded and broken, abandoned by man and god alike.
“Suits me,” Dan grumbled. Three days in the hot sun had just about baked his brains, and death had seemed near enough, until the fog rolled in and pocked his skin with dots of dew. Half a day of blind shambling later, the desert brought him here.
Unless he’d died. Unless this was heaven, and the rolling mist the veil.
A bell rang softly inside, and a light came on. Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on November 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm
Carge pulled his cart. The wedgestones helped the wagon to climb—up the narrow street to the pit, and the furnace that warmed the governor’s halls.
On cold days the hill would ice, and if a body slipped it would slide like a lifeless luger down the hill, bumping over the stones and knocking now and then on a villager’s door. If Carge was lucky, the body would wedge in a doorway just one or two landings down; if he was really lucky, it would slide clear to the bay and be lost.
Carge shivered and wished for trees.
This quick story is for the Friday Fictioneers. The prompt was the picture up there at the top of the page (by Kent Bonham). Let me know what you think below, and click the link monster to read the rest of this week’s stories!
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 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 August 12, 2013 at 10:57 pm
For All of Us
The water splashes—cold, sharp fingers to wake me—and I roll.
“Vstat’, yevrey,” the guard bites: Get up, Jew. I squint at the past-white sun flaring through the bars. The smell—pelmeni, I think—brings me to my feet and I sway, hoping. But of course it is not for me: A man has opened his cart on the street, selling meat pies. My porridge sits cold in the corner of my cell.
“Ne peremeschayte vozdushnuyu,” the guard says. He opens his mouth, grabs his throat and rolls his eyes to the whites. Don’t choke.
They still do not let me sleep, but the beatings are coming less and less. Abakumov tells me this is because Stalin has fallen ill. The others say he may even be dead. Let it be true.
Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on August 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm
Gracie drifted from the sky and landed, quite elegantly, on the point of one toe, then smoothed the pleats of her milk-white skirt with a satisfied sigh.
The sole spectator to her amazing feat (and her lifting skirt), Matt gaped.
“Hello there!” Gracie said gleefully.
“Are you an angel?” Matt asked. Gracie giggled.
“You’re silly,” she said. “Goodbye!” And she skipped down the street with a look of wonder on her face. Read the rest of this entry »