Diagonally, out my back window, pal Buzz Chadsy’s house sits like a white peppermint on the side lane, one house between us. In winter’s Christmas snow, it celebrates life and color, at Easter the calm is newly evident, at night a single bulb lights the living edifice. Many late evenings, it is the last sign of life as I trod to bed, to a deep sleep, or a night full of dreams on the run.Continue reading “Smoke from the Chimney by Tom Sheehan”
The interrogation room is like any other. This one happens to be inside the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in Nashville. A steel table occupies the middle of the room, legs bolted to the floor. Two chairs face each other across the scarred tabletop. The chairs are secured to the floor as well, for good reason and from accumulated bitter experience.Continue reading “For Love of a Three-Legged Horse by Marco Etheridge”
Uncle Florio’s face was all lumps, his purple left eye half shut. His swollen lips barely moved as he spoke. “I’m gonna kill him,” he said. “I’m gonna kill that prick.”
My mother, his kid sister, poured him a shot of anisette. He sipped it and grimaced with pain, gently touching his lips. A dark stain splotched the collar of his red plaid shirt. I wondered if it was blood.Continue reading “Uncle Fail by Salvatore Difalco”
Emmet Emafo started his day running. Broken branches and shredded herbs told the story of the hail storm that woke him during the night. A thin mist still fell. A canvas of fall leaves swayed in trees. He became one with the morning light and shadow. The slap of his footfalls on the wet cement comforted him.Continue reading “The Executor by Barb Lundy”
Listen officer, kids die all the time, you know. Trust me. And seventeen isn’t that young. But his blood tasted like mine, that was a surprise. So was his walk; wobble really. Monnie told me he needed a few more, “Get it girl,” that’s what she said, and she said it just like that, like her lips were dripping with sticky spit and she was slurping it back up. I couldn’t, not just then, couldn’t give him what he need.Continue reading “Fake Teeth Yarn by Kiersen Clerkin”
We were bored when we started drinking and bored when we got too drunk and bored when we stole Adee’s pickup and drove it down to the riverbank. What a joke. We laughed the whole way, that forced, bored kind that sounds like a fraud. How we mused, won’t this be funny when Adee gets off her shift and finds her truck gone.
Since no one ever locked their cars, or their doors, stealing came easy. Only problem in a town this small, you’d get caught. Didn’t matter. Stealing was more a game than a necessity, so catch us if you can, Adee.Continue reading “There’s No Bars in this Town by J Saler Drees”
He was in the sparse land between shifting sands of the great desert and the last tree bearing green when he saw the vultures descending from their high flight. Breward Chandler, “Brew” to friends back in the mountains where breathing was much easier than here in the midst of little life, sat bareback on an Indian pony he had freed from a natural corral behind a blow-down. Chandler had learned that the horse would obey pulls on his mane and in this manner he had escaped from sure capture by heading into the desert, with his pistols loaded and a lariat and a canteen he had grabbed on the run. He was not sure who was after him, either renegade Indians or renegade whites out for the kill, looking for guns, clothes, saddles, anything for free. He was hoping that they’d measure the little he might have against the rigors of a chase in the desert. Perhaps, he also hoped, they were smarter than he thought they were.Continue reading “A Saddle in the Desert by Tom Sheehan”
I’m not saying society is unstable here, but Kidnapping is the third-leading sector of employment. When I flew in, I was shocked by the ubiquity of it, and the apparent randomness of who is selected. So different from back home. Six months later I’ve adapted and am making mind-blowing amounts of money driving a Kidnap Van on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I could ask for more assignments, but the quality of the work-life balance is so important. Two days a week pays all my bills and then some.Continue reading “Van Damned by Todd Mercer”
The body was a small broken thing from a distance. Seen across the snow field there was little more than a coloured smudge against the white.
They couldn’t go for it now, it was too dangerous. There were fissures out there, hidden and lethal. If there had been any chance of life, there would be no option, but they couldn’t justify the risk. Witnesses said that he fell from the summit and there had been no movement since. No reason for him to fall they had said. He had made it to safety, removed the roping and then just fallen back. It was inexplicable, a tragic accident. Maybe a dizzy spell caused by the altitude. Jake had listened to all the radio communication. The panic and distress.
They had called his mobile of course and the helicopter had hovered overhead for a long time, powder swirling upwards in the wash but there was no visible sign of life and so he would stay out there. The dark would hide him and probably more snow would cover him as the season progressed. In a few weeks he would be invisible, nothing but a hump and a sad memory for his climbing mates.
Jake moved away. He wouldn’t come back. Not then, not in the spring. If the season was very cold the body would be well-preserved and if they got to it before the wolves and birds there would be something left for the family but Jake didn’t need to see it. The hullabaloo, if they found the bullet might reach where he was and he would smile at the fuss, but he’d be long gone.
He pulled up the warm fleece around his face and bent to retrieve his ski poles. He had already tucked the rifle into his backpack. As the sun slid away the summits turned pink, and Jake turned to the East and moved off. He loved the snow, the chill and the clear cold air but it would be nice to feel the sun warm on his bare skin and he smiled under his face mask. Life was good when the jobs came up this way. When he got back to the hotel, he needed to call his contacts in Hawaii and organise things ready for his arrival. Another few years working at this pace and he could retire. Maybe he’d come back then and ski with no interruptions.
Frankie is his least favorite nursing aide. She wears cheap perfume that smells like cherries and he hates cherries, the knotted pits inside them, the red juice that blooms across fingers and teeth, the bittersweet taste spread across the tongue. His mother loved cherries, left bowls of them half eaten sitting on dressers and counters and even stacked on the floor, the pits stinking and rotting with bits of the fleshy fruit still attached. The stain on her fingertips resembling the lipstick smeared around her mouth.Continue reading “Cherries by L’Erin Ogle”