I was visiting Fraser, an old friend, in Fife. It was one of those fine, dry, crisp, cold days that you often find in Scotland in February and we took a walk out into the countryside. Fraser pointed out a ruined tower in the middle distance, Balwearie Tower. The name was familiar, like a fragment of an old song: ‘Balwearie Tower? The home of Michael Scott, the Mage?’Continue reading ” The Laird of Balwearie by Michael Bloor”
I found him at a country fair. He sat apart from the other men, a distance only I noticed. Hearing the coin in my pocket, they turned when I approached. Money makes cocks of men. They tried hard to impress me with chest-bumping, fighting, and tidbitting. But this was the season for hiring, not mating.Continue reading “The Hireling by Florianne Humphrey”
Looking from one end of a story to another is enlightening in most circumstances. Often the surprises on tap happen out of the blue … or take a piece of forever to come around.Continue reading “Burial of a Dark Charger by Tom Sheehan”
The official records taken at Fort Indomitable suggest that nothing occurred on July 17, 1861. Initially some reference was made, documenting that a horse race between a soldier at the fort and an unnamed Navajo brave was won by the American. Some weeks later, this record was removed and destroyed.Continue reading “A Fleeting Victory by Jake Kendall”
Rasputin was wasted again.
From a couch in the corner I rubbed my eyes and watched, amazed, as he lifted another bottle and polished it off . He finished with a growled belch and a rub of his stomach.
I downed a healthy hit from my own bottle . “ And good morning to you, Father Grigori.” With
Rasputin on one of his rages I felt It best to join him.Continue reading “Take the Giants in Five by John Giarratana”
I came across the manuscript below in a second-hand shop in Simla, the former British hill-station in the foothills of the Himalayas, among some papers previously belonging to a Victorian military surgeon. The ms was seemingly written in Bombay (now Mumbai) and signed by Captain Jahleel Brenton Carey of the 98th Regiment of Foot (later to become the South Wales Borderers). It is dated the 23rd of February, 1883 (two days before his death, aged thirty six), and appears to be written as a kind of testament.Continue reading “Captain Carey’s Luck by Michael Bloor”
From one minute of the day to the next, Neckwrek Handel-Handel sang the song endlessly, “Ain’t No Jail Aholtin’ Me,” sang it, mouthed it, uttered it, yelled it. For his five years in Yakima Territorial Prison the guards always knew where he was, in what disposition, secure in one cell or another, or laboring on a prison work detail. Prisoner #127 was known by the only name ever used by him, Neckwrek Handel-Handel, but history had other versions that are worth unveiling if the man is to be known if not understood. Yakima Territorial Prison, as described by some Washington folks in the know, was “200 miles of nothing between here ‘n’ there,” and about the toughest place in the territory. He was 24 years old when he was brought to Yakima, the prison then just over a year old, and 29 when he escaped, in 1881.
It was a late spring day in 1981. Ana Severino clocked off early from the paediatrics ward in Hospital de Madrid. The new national healthcare system meant there were more and more staff on the ward, so no-one would notice her leave a few minutes before the end of her shift.
“Your limbs grow weary, and the inn’s still far. Rest here. No need to punish your faithful and pleading flesh. Rest a moment, only a moment, and then proceed with new vigor and greater speed.”
“Foul specter, hush, quiet your insinuations and temptations. The inn’s fifteen easy minutes on a good road, and dusk stirs; the sun lowers, and your kind will be about soon. Still, still, it’s too soon to vacate your gloomy tomb.”
Henry watched the girl in her drop-waisted dress, heavy brown hair tied up in an even heavier bow, as she scrubbed molasses off the drive chain of the Black Beauty bicycle. She worked the delicate brushes through the tiny crevices, dunking them in saltwater — a necessary evil — to free them of gook. Her dress was stained, and brown water dripped over her knees.