She was there, in the doorway, a shape of deeper black cut into the darkness. "It's done."

I turned my head, closed my eyes, as if to return to an interrupted sleep. "I don't know what you mean."

There was rustling, and a moving of the bed, and then she was behind me, fingertips resting on my arm. "They won't bother us. They've left."

They've left. It could have meant so many things, none of them good for the others.

Her leg, bare at least to the thigh, hooked itself around mine. "This is what you wanted."

She wasn't wrong.

The Old Country

"Your father hated me."

"He didn't know you. The war had just ended. It was a different time."

"He never gave me a chance."

"Oh, Lorenzo, really, what does it matter now?"

"I just don't know why you wanted to come back here, back to this country, back to this city. You wanted out so bad. You would have married anyone—"

"Oh, what a thing to say."

"Well, maybe not anyone—"

"Don't think I didn't have offers."

"I never said you didn't, dear."

"I waited for the right one to come along. And then you did."

"And then I did."

The One Precious Memory

It was that beach day.

Carl, ten, wanted to throw a ball with his brother; Paul, twelve, was far too sophisticated for such things, and wanted to read in the shade, but he played anyway because he was good and kind and generous of spirit. I thought to take a picture, but had forgotten the camera in the room.

From there they went home with their parents and then to school with their friends and then with their whole generation into the army, of course, when the time came: Carl to Verdun, and Paul to the Somme, neither to return.

Three Line Thursday: "Disguised"

It was always the summertime when I was a child,
Even during February, because it was summer in my head.
Spring was Earth lowering the mask of winter and laughing.

Five Sentence Fiction: "The Confounding Case Of The Cropped Colonel"

I have assembled you here in this, the dining car, because I am now ready to reveal the identity of Colonel Rumsworthy's killer.

It was not — as many, including Detective Sergeant Mewler here, have suggested — the beautiful Penelope Jule, star of stage and screen: she was otherwise occupied in the Bundermans' compartment seducing Mr. Bunderman… and his wife. Nor could it have been the Rector as he is left-handed and therefore completely incompetent. Even the locomotive's coalman has been ruled out, as he would have left a far greater, sootier mess.

It was I. I am the killer.

She Ain't Heavy

I've been doomed for so long now that I don't remember what grace felt like. For you it was quick; for you it must have seemed like an end. In moments of terrible despair I wish our lots reversed, but then I am ashamed by my weakness, and the shame drives me onwards.

The few square feet of ground where you belong, where you should be resting, it eludes me. Sometimes I dream of it lifting itself up, grass and all, and moving across the landscape because I've brought you too close, because you're almost there, and re-planting itself in some far away spot. Sometimes I dream that — like us — it never stops moving, always avoiding the tip of my spade like a soldier dodges the spear-point.

It's only a dream, a nightmare: your intended earth remains undisturbed, waiting for me to find it. It's just a question of time.

Fantasy Drabble #374 "Imperator"

They ambled with no urgency up the hillside, at the rear of the procession, already in the shadow of the great stone statue. "Is he a God or a King?"

His mother answered, "A God and a King."

"Was he always both? Which one was he first?"

"You're full of questions! He was a King first, I think, and then later a God; that's what I think, anyway. I'm sure the priests would answer the other way around."

"When did he become a statue?"

She laughed, squeezed his hand. "A very long time ago, darling. And he's not changing back."

Fantasy Drabble #373 "And The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth"

It used to be — in my mother's time — that the forest surrounded the towns and villages of men, and that the world was mostly ours even by day; now, we huddle in ever-shrinking woods, choked from all sides by concrete and asphalt and glass, and often must hide even at night. They blunder in to piss and hunt and hide their bags of pornographic magazines and their murdered bodies.

I wish there was something to be done about it all.

My mother laughs at me. This will pass; they can't last much longer at this rate. Soon now, dear, soon.

Their Finest Hour

A lot of my friends, you know, they grew up without their Dads around, or they got sat down one day in the living room for that 'your father isn't going to be living here anymore but it's not your fault' conversation.

I always envied those kids.

I mean, I know they say having a father figure is important to childhood development or whatever, but fuck if I wouldn't have been better off if Bruce had been somewhere else that whole time.

I remember the day Bruce got drunk and threw the bottle at Mom, and I remember running at him shoulder-first like he was one of those rigs football linemen practice with. I remember the look on his doughy, sweaty, red face.

Bruce must have figured he had a choice: just go, or beat down his wife's kid. I chased the car two miles, making sure he stayed gone.

SF Drabble #465 "Atmosphere"

Hraff stepped out into the air and spread his wingtips wide, leaned into a slow bank down and away, painted ever-widening imaginary circles across the mesa below during a leisurely descent from the aerie.

"He's healing well," observed Jorge.

"He's still not sure of himself," Perry answered, worry in her voice. "He used to dive  almost the whole way straight down before pulling out of it, and now... now it's like he's afraid he might shear his wings off."

"You're wrong," Jorge said. "You're projecting."

"I'm not—"

"Look at him. Watch him. He's just enjoying being in the sky again."

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