Month: May, 2011

“Wills,” Brian McMillan

     Luke Wills pressed the oak through the band saw, dividing the plank in two. In the shed where he worked, he liked to stand barefoot in the inch-thick sawdust, his worn corduroy pants tucked under his heels. Above the saw hung a battery-powered lantern, which he unhooked and held in front of a drawer of awls and chisels. With his other hand, he pressed his left temple, which was awkwardly bandaged with half a roll of gauze, stretched all the way around his head from his jaw up to his crown, through the tangles of his wild hair and long, curly beard. He had slipped at the creek that afternoon and landed right on his temple on a craggy boulder. His head was throbbing, and he still could not get the gash to stop bleeding. He redressed the wound with the other half of the roll of gauze. Click here to finish Brian’s story.

“Mauro and Lily,” Rosie Servis

     Mauro is holding my hand in the dark and I feel lit by it. I do not want to sleep and I know I won’t sleep soon. I have the stray dogs of Chile on my mind.
      “Allie remembered there being a lot of stray dogs when she went to Chile, which reminded me that, yeah there were a lot of strays. They were just really sick. Hair coming out, skin peeling.”
      “I really don’t want to hear about it.”
      “I know. I could go on and on about how awful it was.”
     When they were hungry and when they had no limbs, when they were screaming, had skin rife with scabies, silent, shitting quietly in the street. Click here to finish Rosie’s story.

“The Land,” Barbara Neu

     Petal meets my taxi. “Are you my spiritual advisor?” I ask. She bends back her body, a stick twined with old rubber bands, wheezes out a laugh.
      “As if. On The Land you serve The Vessel. Don’t get uppity.” The Land is a scrappy gathering of tents and metal shacks surrounded by stagnant jungle. “Here’s another one, Cory,” Petal yells to a man with dreadlocks. He hands me a shovel. “Dig,” says Petal. Six feet down, in a pit of red dust is Cindy, the other novice. We dig together. When mosquitoes prick our skin, Cory brings us an ancient bottle of insect repellant. Click here to finish Barbara’s story.

“Late November,” Matt Potter

     “I didn’t realise she was that far gone.” Natalie put the dish, wrapped in alfoil, on the tray table and pulled a chair closer to the bed.
      “She’s in and out of consciousness,” said Zumi, smoothing the sheet under Caro’s spidery hands. “Maybe today, maybe tonight. Probably not tomorrow.”
     They’d all met twenty years ago when their children attended the same kindergarten. Caro had just moved from the States and was finding adjusting hard.
      “Where’s Grant?” Natalie asked. Click here to finish Matt’s story.