Please enjoy “Windswept,” an early short story of mine that I’ve made available here in its entirety. This piece was originally published in Nib Magazine (now defunct).
A sharp jolt of pain shot from his pinned arm and froze him at the top of a lingering breath, where a flash of his son’s smile, his wife’s face, and the color of the girl’s touch were waiting like a mirage; but they were loath to stay and quickly turned to black as the pain eased its grip on Ernie’s nerves, allowing a final bounty of oxygen to leave his lungs and dissipate into the night air like a quick puff from a cigarette.
If it’s late June and the sun has already made its way through the marine layer and onto your skin by the 11 o’clock hour, it’s the right day to be by the water because the sun will be hot enough to bronze your skin and dry it after swimming, even if the Pacific Ocean is still a bit too cold for long dives. At least those were our criteria this morning, a tacit checklist quickly completed within a warm cozy built from fuzzy bed sheets.
quiver in the voice
weight shifting from foot to foot
In a way, I’ve walked into a thorny, gnarled forest.
It’s not the old-growth oaks and not even the thorns and tricky underbrush that trips up my step.
It’s the eyes watching me, those fiery opals embedded in the shadows.
They scrutinize me and they scrutinize them and they scrutinize each other.