Serpiente Oculta

The only reason he agreed to meet me, he said, was that his life was over. Estoy muerto pero no me acuesto, was how he put it. I am dead but I won’t lie down. I sat on a  bench in the Bosque de Chapultepec, just outside the castle, the location  texted to my phone an hour…

Espen Berg

Espen Berg had no friends to speak of, no family. Her life was lived in a series of small circles. The market, the pharmacy, the church. Even the friendliest townspeople ignored her, having been repelled by her disfigured face and violent silence. She died unmourned, her body discovered by chance when Pastor Ølveg stopped in to see why she…

Promises

Nona Amelia liked to tell me how she was born in that very room the night McKinley was shot. “My father said they came after anyone they considered to be an anarchist. His own brother was arrested. My father said it is because our name sounded foreign.” I remember her piano cluttered with framed pictures…

Irrelevant and Idle Questions

I passed the stunning Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square without seeing it.  A quote from Anna Karenina rolled through my mind, where Levin avoids “any long look at her as one avoids long looks at the sun, but seeing her as one sees the sun, without looking.” I was like that with Red Square. With all of…

Sunlight of the Spirt

I tried to make sense of his note, but it was just gibberish. He had taken them books with him, so I knew he wasn’t going off to kill himself. When I checked with the bank, they said he’d cleaned out his college fund on Friday. That bothered me, but not for the reasons you’d think. There…

At Shahi Qila, 1849

The Punjab sun lay across Lieutenant Maclean’s back like a heavy wool blanket. He ignored it as he climbed the steep stairs of the citadel. Beside him, Sergeant Ross puffed like a dray horse. They passed through the high arches and strode through the shade of the now-deserted fort. “Bloody hell, sir,” said Ross. “It’s a good thing we beat Maharaja Singh on the plains.…

Beannachd Dia Dhuit

Thomas. Aye, Thomas, never Tommy or Tom. Thomas would take insult from anything. A raised eyebrow, a sloshed pint that wet his sleeve, an ill-timed cough. Once he started to fight, there was naught anyone could do. Thomas would not stop, no matter how many times he was knocked down, and that was many. Though wiry, he was…

That Creepy Guy

Countless disappointments had battered me down until I’d pretty much given up. Surrendered.  I stood in my empty apartment and cried out to a God I didn’t believe in I give up! And like magic, the despair and loneliness were lifted from me. I felt as though I’d set down a heavy suitcase. No longer was…