Passing the Time

A Sunday short story

The summer seemed to last forever. The heat and humidity, the worst anyone could remember, even oppressed the passage of time.

“Gonna be another scorcher, huh Bub.”

OldFrontPorch“Yep, reckon so Jimmy.”

Time inched forward on Bub’s front porch, Bub in his rocker, Jimmy on the steel glider. Flies buzzed, birds chirped, cicadas sang. Creation’s symphony.

“Never known it like this for such a spell, have you Bub?”

“Nope, don’t recall the likes a this’n.”

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Welcome Back

A Sunday Short Story with a side of irony

A searing light invaded his consciousness, from everywhere at once, so bright he wanted to turn away. As he tried to move, every bone, tendon, ligament, fiber and nerve screamed in an excruciating chorus of pain. The pain was instantaneous, as if by a switch, so intense his consciousness recoiled back.

320px-Operating_theatreConsciousness returned, the light, less bright, the pain, dulled. He heard air, moving slowly, punctuated by high chirps and low murmurs, swirling, a cacophony. As he tried to separate them he suddenly smelled heavy, medicinal, antiseptic odors, layer upon layer, unidentifiable as the sounds were indecipherable. Consciousness, overwhelmed, retreated again.

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The Stone Stairs

A short fiction piece on place and memories

The stone stairs tumbled down the breach dug into the side of the hillock, steep and uneven. Grass burst from the spaces between the slabs, moss clung to their faces. The tumble poured into the earth, down a shaft that ended at a rough hewn door, a vertical plank of wood that seemed carved in place, as if from the taproot of some massive oak tree that had once stood on the mound.

OldFfarmsteadNature had long ago curled her tendrils around the head and jambs of the door’s timber frame, trying hard to pull it deeper into the hummock, the door appearing to meet directly with earth. A rough wooden dowel poked from a horizontal slot cut in the left side of the slab, and to the right four rusted carriage bolts signaled the iron straps that held a slide bolt to the inside of the door.

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Leaving Every Day

A short story for Sunday

The train was there again, on the sidetrack, by the water crane. Steam escaped with sighs of relief. Molly watched from her perch as the fireman loaded the tender’s water tanks. Coal-black clouds swirled when the fuel bunker filled.

LocomotiveWateringShe knew the fireman would soon disappear into the locomotive’s cab to stoke the firebox. Thick black smoke would curl idly through the fire tubes, into the smokebox, escaping through the stack. One long whistle by the engineer meant the boiler was back to pressure, followed by an enormous belch of steam and smoke and cinders, and the train would move.

It would build speed again, each steamy huff arriving sooner than the last, and Molly would wonder, as she always did, where the train was going. She would try to imagine what that place was like, how it felt to be on the train, going somewhere other than Clay County. She’d been to Iola, and to Louisville, the County seat. But she knew there was more than Clay County.

The train disappeared over the horizon, the only reminder a ragged stripe of dark grey puffs swirling in the summer breeze. Molly sat while her imagination finished its journey to all the places she knew she would never see. She roused, slowly returning to Clay County, and started the long walk from the hill overlooking the railroad tracks to the chores that waited for her on the family farm. She’d come to the hill tomorrow, to let her imagination travel again.

[Author’s note: this is a stab at short fiction, it came in at 250 words. Feedback?]