In A Flash: The Hunted

Chest pumping, hands clenched into fists, arms jerking oddly in the air, she runs down the street, heedless of any destination. She cannot hear anything but her own frantic gasps for air as she careens around corner after corner, but she knows her pursuers are there.

They are just behind and they are coming. They will not stop. Continue reading

In A Flash: Love Conquers All

One of us has to write if anything’s to be said. It is a fool’s game even in our most lucid moments of passage. Better to admit that we are feeble, tired and pathetic things, no matter where we stand, no matter how time happens to sift. But maybe, maybe I can speak the words to make it stand still.


You tie me in knots, still and almost latent, hushed with anticipation and the heavy weight of knowing. You are the breath of morning sunshine upon my face. Your eyes are like quicksilver to my bloodstream. The Spanish will declare a monopoly on that careless glance, sending ships across the ocean, peering steadily beyond the waves. They will desire conquest and ruin, claiming you for all time.

I want to steal but a moment and make it eternal. As you brush the hair from your eyes, those stray glancing strands, they whisper and I remember what they are saying about the nature of eternity. Eternity is not forever, it just feels that way, if you’re lucky.


The violence of a single moment is startling. It overwhelms the senses, leaves you breathless with fear and wonder. The rain pours and then dries slowly away as the sun emerges. How surreal to be separated from the cataclysm, standing and watching in a passing thought, empty of everything. I never felt the lightning, only heard the echo of thunder long after the blinding flash had turned my eyes to dust.


I need a shot of salvation, a taste of the sacrosanct, to get me through the ends of the day. Those moments when you’re left with only yourself to feel pitiful about are the worst, the need of a soul laid bare for everyone to see. Survival’s the thing people find difficult, convinced of the betrayal of existence.

Western Swing on the transistor: cried for you, cried a while, wandering like a river and the rain don’t stop. The deluge of the moment that doesn’t quite cut clean, that doesn’t ever quite end. The mess of things you just can’t escape. Like the tangle of our bodies, it never had that sort of finality. Life is unexpected, unready as we are.


I wonder if we ever really learn anything as the years drift by, or if we stay rooted in these places we were before, grown so thick and full in sunlight. Now they are cast in shadows and tremors of moments you hesitate to come to. I remember, with the darkness of a long night, those sudden stunning instants of time, of universe, of whatever it is we might be, when I felt like I could understand.

But these things they get away from you, and the cosmos feels irreparably empty. Your shining eyes, your moistened lips, once, once I drank you in. And now to stand here. These words mean nothing, but I will say them all the same.


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In A Flash: The Servant

A flash of lightning on the horizon as dusk settles upon those vast peaks that spread in all directions. It forms a haunting visage of a land torn apart, uprooted and broken, seized by unspeakable forces in days long ago. Ves slides down a snow-streaked road that winds into the town below, his journey interrupted from time to time by the surge of lights from a vehicle making an ascent. The town is quiet, the streets nearly empty, but for a few revelers gathered at the foot of a stairway leading up to a tavern. There are shouts from within and the promise of warmth, drink and women, but he passes on. His day is not yet done.

The town is built upon a mountain with streets that slant here and there, coming together at odd angles, or sometimes ending abruptly. It is one of these that Ves finds himself on, the road coming to an end at a cliff, the gulf below stretching on into a darkness that seems to know no bounds. At the precipice of this awful vastness sits a mansion, spreading across the cliff so broadly that it gives the impression it might teeter over the brink at any moment to what lies below.

When he announces himself at the door servants scurry to rouse the Master. Ves is taken through the building and brought out onto a veranda overlooking the precipice. The air is cool and he can see his breath forming under the lights. He does not have to wait long until the Master emerges from one of the doors to join him. He is unremarkable to look upon, small and thin, with fine features that somehow leave him undefined. Ves can rarely call up a picture of his face in his mind.

“So you found her, did you?” the Master says.

Ves nods. “She has a message for you.” Continue reading

In A Flash: Gambler’s Fallacy

The ripple of the cards upon the table, the shifting of everyone upon their chairs, the thumbing of glasses and clothes, the shuffle of money and hands: Burgess can hear it all. His eyes are closed and there is thunder in his mind, but he can hear it all. The air is redolent with the stench of rotgut whiskey, sweat and the wood burning in the stove they are all huddled near to keep out the winter cold.

Burgess opens his eyes at the sound of the door opening and sees Pederson returning within from the outhouse. A gust of frigid air makes them all tremble. Pederson takes off his coat, his breath still staining the air in clouds around his head. Everyone watches as he returns to the table and picks up the deck.

“Sorry boys,” he says with a smile. “Where were we? Five card draw?”

There are grunts of assent and the cards go out. Burgess does not touch his until they are all dealt, his eyes intent upon Pederson’s hands. His face feels hot in spite of the chill in the room, and his gaze goes blurry and then steady with each blink of his eyes. There is the sound of the ocean in his ears as someone stands to refill the glasses and someone else asks a question about Maggie Garneau. He thinks about saying something witty, but decides not.

The cards are dealt and he looks at them. Trip fives. He looks around the table. Everyone is looking at their cards. The bet comes to him and he throws in five dollars.

“Spending all your winter funds,” Pederson says, not glancing up from his cards.

Burgess bristles. “We’ll see where I stand at the end of the night.”

“You’ll be standing because you’ll have nowhere to sit again.” Continue reading