©Douglas M Macllroy
In rolling heat, under a bleached bone sky, all you have is your horse. Guns quickly shed their bullets on dog soldiers, canteens run dry, but even a scrub should stick with you ’til the end.
They said he was a widowmaker, but I was ridin’ crowbait–I had no choice. His head was milk-dipped, a strong blaze runnin’ from ear to muzzle. A six-shooter snuffy, quick to slat his sails and leave me dusted. Not fit for ridin’.
I woke up to hot breath and a heavy hoof on my chest, hell-fired, coal-black eyes starin’ into me. Shoulda known better.
He leaves lilies. White stargazer lilies. An afterthought, a pure fingerprint on a grisly, horrid scene.
I watched the news to learn the women’s names, as if they pieced a puzzle that could be solved. Notebooks filled with scribbled writing and folders of torn newspapers, amounting to nothing.
The lilies haunted me. Earthly cousins to ethereal Milky Way, grounded stars, faces turned to heaven. Outcast from the Kingdom.
Everyone thinks he places them afterwards. But I opened my door to find them staring at me, necks craned upward in a silent dirge. Condolence for my loss, as I attend my own funeral.
I pushed her.
No one thought anything of it—they assumed she fell.
How many times had we counted those steps? She took the odd numbers; I, the even. I had fewer steps. She always came out ahead.
I often stayed at the base while she peered over the edge from the top. The stairs spiraled inward, upward, like a nautilus. My own face stared down at me, smiling. I never looked down on her, never had that vantage.
Just the one time. I couldn’t see her face. Only the tangle of hair and limbs and blood, like rough red algae washed ashore.
Copyright Beth Carter
It ran once before it died.
I built it out of anything I could find: an old toaster, grocery carts, poolside cushions, abandoned tires. I fastened my father’s watch behind the wheel to measure how far I went. I’m not sure why I bothered; it’s clear a digital watch is required.
I don’t know exactly where I am. Women wear petticoats, and sewage lines the roughly hewn streets. It’s America, but I’m not sure when.
The components I need to get home don’t exist. I forgot about that. Is that odd?
I’m going to die here. I feel like I just started living.
100-word response to Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt.
by Janet Webb
They were looking for a place to stay. I turned them away.
A brilliant star penetrated the coal-black sky, hushing the other stars to diminutive silence. They fluttered in its despotic presence.
A cold wind whipped across the sand. It invaded my home, conquering my bones with such a chill, I had to catch my breath.
I turned them away. She, so large with child, her eyes hungry for rest, leaned against her husband. He hung his head despondently.
An extra room sat behind the wall that held the fireplace. Empty, warm, dry. I refused them.
The garish star flashed bitterly in the abyss.
© David Stewart
My father disappeared three years ago.
A Christian missionary, he was visiting South Korea to spread the Word. I begged him not to go. Shamanism was popular again; it would be too difficult. It would make the people angry. He insisted.
A young girl died in the Nakdong River—a baptism gone horribly awry. My father described the water rising up to swallow her. He could feel her being pulled away. His mission was ruined. He disappeared shortly after.
They said Mool-Gwishin took him. A drowned spirit. The little girl. Took him as payment for her soul.
I wonder who will pay for his.
The hallways were long, dark, slanted. When you ran it echoed loudly and your body felt askew. It was a donut, impossible to get lost in. Impossible to go anywhere new.
We crawled out the office window and sat on the eaves of the building. From that vantage, you could watch the planes roar in overhead. Dad let us sit out there often.
We ate Planter’s Cheezballs, played with model airplanes, sneaked down a cylindrical staircase that opened into the ticketing area. We were airline kids—a rare breed. The airport was our playground.
Those kids don’t exist anymore. Airports have changed.