The Gift

This story is available in the anthology “From Their Cradle to Your Grave” from Cruentus Libri Press on Kindle or Paperback.

Underneath the old stone bridge, in the summer heat, I first met my friend. I’d come to this spot beneath the bridge for as long as I could remember, following the small creek in our backyard down through the farmers’ fields, and behind the roaring freeway. Beneath the bridge, the dirt was still cool, even in the hottest noonday sun. I’d come to the bridge to think, to play, to cry, and to press my pale chubby fingers into the blessed cool soil, digging deep depressions in the damp earth.

The creek trickled by, but my father had told me never to go in the water; it had a thin scum on the top that reflected the light in an odd, shimmering way, like the shell of a beetle. I’d disobeyed him once when I was younger and the rash that boiled up on my legs had scabbed and bled for a week. Now, I was content to sit among the pale and drying reeds, to hold tight to that primal cold in the place where the sun couldn’t reach.

On the day he was first there, the cottonwood trees were shedding their seeds, bright white silken clouds that drifted in the air like snow defying the sun. The air was thick with heat and exhaust from the freeway, buzzing over the rise like an angry hive. He lay stretched out on the other side of the creek, his body half covered by the shadow of the old stone bridge. At first I saw only a pile of ragged clothes, capped with a wide-brimmed and frayed hat, but then I saw the long, bony fingers steepled across his chest, and his calloused and blackened feet.

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Metapost: A Change of Format, Ephemera and Apocrypha

Greetings, everyone.

First, the news. I’ve decided, in the new year, to make a slight change to my writing habits. I’ll be spending my writing time editing my previous shorts and beginning to plot out a few long-form tales. As such, I’ll be posting a new short exercise/story just once a month, on or before the last Sunday of each month. I hope you’ll all keep checking back in, and I will probably post fragments or chapters of some of the longer works without warning.

Thank you again for reading these exercises, and for passing it on to your friends (or enemies). A special thanks to those who’ve been commenting and giving me feedback, especially the negative feedback. You continue to keep me honest.

To keep the tap on, I’m sharing with you two oddities that I wrote before I began the weekly story project.

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