Bloody Hell

Corporal Cobbs rode into the camp, his mare lathered by the hard going. Sergeant Collinsworth stood to unlatch the gate. He nodded as Cobbs led in the long column of prisoners, the other men of the platoon riding alongside the ragged group like drovers, calling out to keep them moving. Cobbs dismounted and limped over. […]

Remember

The night of Solstice, when the sky comes down to the ground and turns the world to snow, the old man gathers his grandchildren around the coal stove as the wind whistles and moans outside. “The branches around us are hung with ghosts,” he croaks, the shadow of his hands sliding over the stone walls […]

Lad

We had what they called a hook stop like you don’t see these days. That’s where a freight slows down just enough  so the brakeman can toss out a mail sack, then  lean way out to hook the outgoing sack off a  pole. Sometimes it’d be weeks before we had enough mail to justify an […]

Now Is My Why

Our last fight was incongruously serene. Of course, we were dining in an upscale restaurant, so neither of us so much as raised our voices.  The immensity of our marital catastrophe kept us polite despite our mutual aches of emptiness and pain, our laundry lists of wrongs and resentments.  Why bother? was the mantra. “You […]

His Excellency

Yulia came down the stairs, silent as a cat. Imani looked up from the sewing table and saw the tears streaking her young face. “Oh child,” she said softly. “Don’t blame yourself. He’s always like this during the Navidád.” “He screamed at me,” the girl said, voice choking. “Called me the aborted spawn of a […]

They’re All Just Boys

McRoy rapped the bedstead with his cosh. “Rouse up, Jens. New lot’s arrived.” Jens, never a sprightly waker, emerged from his sleep like a man wading ashore. He rubbed his eyes. “What o’clock?” McRoy tugged out his watch and flipped it open. “Half six. Royal Navy starts early.” They walked to the quay where a […]

Grandmother’s Country

The Bull was taking his time, speaking a few words and then staring across the fire in long silence. The smoke was terrible, but the old man did not seem to mind it. His granite countenance gave nothing away. Some of soldiers said it was Sitting Bull himself who killed Custer, but Maclester chalked that […]

The Other Cheek

Lannie told me a story that happened some weeks after the tragedy. That’s what Lannie called it. The tragedy, as though it was some kind of sad movie instead of a mob of white people killing Negroes in the streets, burning down our homes and businesses. Anyway, Lannie and his momma were shopping for groceries […]

Ghosts

He is at his hotel room door before he realizes he’s forgotten the coffee. Too late now, he thinks, and unlocks the door. She smiles up at him from the bed, then notices his pallor. “My god. What happened?” He feels his knees begin to buckle, collapses into a chair, the sweat running down the […]

Finalmente Azarado

Nicote sat with his back against the dank stone, arms and legs weighed down by the immense chains bolted to his ankles and wrists. Ribeiro sat across fom him, similarly bound, his head drooping. Nicote cleared his throat grinned, feeling the gap where the guard’s spear-butt had knocked out his front tooth. “Another tight spot, […]