“Where are you going?”
Susan’s face softened but she looked away.
All the women in the neighborhood were dressed in what we use to all “Easter Sunday” clothes; light dresses, bright, Spring colors of sky blues and yellows and whites, some with flower prints with big roses or tulips or daffodils or morning glories or black-eyed susans and all with long, lush green vines wrapping around them. All of them wearing wide-brimmed sun hats, many with scarves tying their hats around their chins. A few wore sunglasses. All had nice big purses, lots of different colors but most of them white, white cloth gloves covering their hands and all of them in either tasteful heels or flats. Nobody wore stilettos or CFMs of any kind.
They stood, coffee cups in hand, staring out the kitchen window. The radio switched from the news to two DJs joking about the lead story: an extraordinary meteor shower that wouldn’t be seen locally due to heavy cloudcover.
He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the sink. “Turn that down, would you, Love?”
She put her hand on his back and leaned forward beside him. “You think that squirrel knows we’re watching him?”
“How do you think he gets up there? That’s twice in two days I’ve seen him at the top of the bird feeders. He can’t be getting past the baffles on the poles and there aren’t any branches near by.”
There is a planet on the scanners. It is large and round and red. The sun is yellow and warming, and the planet is in the sun’s life zone. The gravity is slightly stronger than Earth’s. The air is a bit richer, and there is abundant water under the surface.
The red coloring comes from two things. The surface of the planet is covered with red vegetation and their spores are everywhere. The ground is also red, although not with spores but with clay and slate like so faraway Connecticut.
The dog beside me raises his massive head and growls. I scratch behind his ears and his hind legs start thumping the cabin floor. I make him thump in time to songs I sing, switching legs as I go from chorus to lead and back.
“We’ll go down, see if this is the one.”
What We Saw at Bishop’s House
What’s become of Bishop’s house? This chamber is like the one I lay in moments ago but I know neither you nor your man. Outside the door, that’s not Bishop’s workshop.
I am William Bennett. Where is my wife, Chrysanthé? We are “The Dancers Extraordinairre.” There’s an advertisement in my breast pocket. See? “Dancers to the Crowns of Europe.”
Bishop’s told you of us? Where is he, then?
Each of the above is from Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 (the famous “No Dragons” issue). You can read the rest of each along with several other amazing stories between its captivating covers (and I hope you do!)
Have you been Harveyed?
The kind, wise, and wonderful folks at Sixth Element Publishing included four of my flash pieces in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 and I’m repaying that kindness by showcasing the opening from each author’s work for the next few weeks.
- Day 1’s Adrian Bagley’s “The Beast at Bay”.
- Day 2’s Alex Minns’s “Sides of the Mirror”
- Day 3’s Alexandrina Brant’s “Cartography, Creatures, & Craquelin (A Melina Short)”
- Day 4’s Bruce Connelly’s “Hare Today, Gone…?”
- Day 5’s Christine King’s “The Child, The Witch, and The Werewolf”
- Day 6’s Crysta Coburn’s “Smoke”
- Day 7’s Davia Sack’s “The Curse of Beauty”
- Day 8’s Muriel “iPad” Blytheman’s “Ye Olde Ship Inn”
- Day 9’s Jack Pentire’s “Time will say Nothing”
Next up, a taste of Kate Baucherel’s Firebird.