Posts By: J Hardy Carroll

Bow Oar’s Lament

A thin winter’s moon cast its watery light across the pool beneath the Tower gate. A pair of boatmen rowed the prisoner with muffled oars.  Beneath the stinking  burlap hood, the chained man was also gagged, lest he attempt to bribe the rowers. He was known to be a silken-tongued devil, and Cromwell was taking no chances. The oarsmen backed water as they waited

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Lottery

Our moms had been best friends since kindergarten. They got married on the same day, a double wedding. Both got pregnant on their wedding night. Ralph’s  birthday was August fifth, mine August eleventh. Next door neighbors, closer than any brothers. As kids, we loved the war movies, especially the John Wayne ones. The Flying Tigers. They Were Expendable, Sands

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Waiting For Eight

Stuart ordered a cup of coffee. He poured cream into it and stirred it in. He swiveled his stool part way around to keep an eye on the building across the street. The man sitting next to him was eating a donut, breaking it in half and dunking one of the halves into the coffee,

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The Master of Angers

    Abbot Gírad d’Cist took an avid interest in the drawings the master mason etched in smooth plaster to help guide construction, especially those that depicted how Angers Cathedral would look to an observer.  He clapped his hands in delight. “You must understand, Excellency,” said the master mason, “we are years away from what you see here. Decades.”

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Two Worlds

“You entirely create your reality. It is only by complicit agreement that the world  as you understand it exists, your shared human beliefs giving it shape and substance. It is not that the tree falling in the forest makes no noise if nobody is there to hear it; it is that without a hearer, the tree itself cannot be.”

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Sick As Your Secrets

A small-town doctor who buys a daily half gallon of whiskey causes gossip.  During the course of a week, I’d hit six different liquor stores in three different towns, none of which I lived in. I’d dispose of the empties the same way, hauling the bottles to the landfill or a dumpster behind a bar. I never drank in

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Hael Waters

Algar worked his shoulder. The wound was painful, but the bleeding had slowed.  With some difficulty  he shucked off his woolen jerkin. He took a deep breath, uttered a prayer and waded into the haelwaters. The cold was stunning, but he braced himself and went to the center of the pool.  The boil of the falls fell fierce

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Århus

The sun felt good on her face. She closed her jet-lagged eyes and breathed in the spring smells. Flowers, baking bread. “Må jeg bringe dig noget at drikke?” She looked up to see the waiter,  his crisp white shirt and black vest. The sun gave his blue eyes an otherworldly glow. She reached for her Danish phrasebook.

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10-54

I was early shift on Sunday, so I caught the call. My partner  was AWOL, so I stopped by his apartment on the way to the scene, dragged his booze-reeking carcass out of bed. A lady patrolman was putting crime scene tape across the door when we got there. “Hold on there, Darling,” said Bill.

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Dispatch From Ypres, 1914

McCormick tilted the paper to catch the cold November light, pencil clenched in his teeth. He glanced around at the ruined cathedral, its single undamaged arch, the opening choked with rubble. He folded the dispatch into an envelope and tied it shut, then picked his way through the debris to where Corporal Collins was waiting astride his motor-bike. “Here you go,” said McCormick,

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