Odd and evocative creative fiction from the edge of life
If you like odd and insightful fiction that prompts you to think about the world and the empire of beautiful contradictions that make up the human spirit, then you’ve arrived at the right place.
Thanks for taking a look. Enjoy, leave a comment, and sign up to catch a notice in your inbox when another gets published. Yours in solidarity, Victor David
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P.S. I've also started a Substack for my fiction pieces. You'll find some here, some there, some in both places. If you sign up on Substack, you'll get stories directly to your inbox.
A 10 p.m. streetlight cracks through the store window, casts mirrored letters on the floor, shines the shoes of three old strangers in line with a bag of chips or a bottle of seltzer for a Thursday night of bingo or some other senior fun when the bell above the door sounds and Baz Osborne, tall with 19 short years of life enters. He carries a gun.
“Everyone down,” he says, waves the gun in the air. “Please.”
Erkin Polat, owner and night shift clerk with a cloudy beard, starts to drop.
“Not you,” says Baz.
Marcus Benson, second in line, retired parole officer, speaks up. “Just a minute, young man. I’ve got a bad back. I can’t get down on the floor.”
When I got off the plane in Astrakhan, the airport terminal was completely deserted. It was about 1:00 a.m. and I had expected few people but this degree of emptiness was a little unsettling. I followed the signs – they were in both Russian and English – down the corridor to the customs office. Nobody was at the counter. After I called out once or twice without success, a woman came in through the door I had entered, walked behind the counter, and approached me.
“Yes?” she asked.
“I just arrived,” I said. “I’m here to get my paperwork processed.” I laid my passport and travel documents on the counter, slid them over.
She rustled through the papers for a moment. “Where are you coming from, Mr. Bloom?” she asked.
They say you can’t turn back the clock, but Hector knew better. At night, as he moved from building to building, window to window, to observe unfolding secrets of ordinary people that hid behind their curtain cracks, he always encountered a peculiar sensation that started in his calves and moved into his upper chest. It reminded him freshly of life when he was a young boy which, outside of these excursions, he could never fully grasp.
These glimpses gave him goose bumps. They needled a dream closer to reality, a dream that people would one day stop hiding their true nature, expose themselves for who they really were, soft bellied up, like frogs on a science table. It wasn’t aberrant to dream, Hector would whisper to himself from the shadows, only deviant to pretend to be pure.
Caleb lived in the shed. “Boys live in sheds,” father always said, a scarred man with one good eye, “live in sheds until my god says when.” Father was unschooled, rigorous, and committed to the shape of his faith.
Caleb was twelve years old. Sometimes on a cool night he stuffed leaves in his pants. Mornings, he cleaned his teeth with fingers in the creek after father unlocked the chains.
Mr. Stone put his drink down. Someone had knocked on the door.
“Yes?” It was a girl, about nine years old.
“I like your house,” she said. “May I come in?”
Mr. Stone nodded. She came in. He closed the door, went back to his study. The girl followed.
“Would you like a drink?” asked Mr. Stone. He pointed to the whiskey bottle on the table next to his chair.
“Sorry, I didn't mean…I thought for a moment you were…”
Morning breaks the window open, sets sunlight to shatter on the floor, the scorpions to scatter. They run for walls, but Jordan climbs from bed, his dream head raw, brooms them to the door.
A young boy appears, still untouched by caution, a child who never had a fall he couldn’t master or a creature from which he couldn’t run. His name is Ethan. He climbs in through the window when the sun creates the trees each day. “Good morning, Mr. Jordan,” he says.
Man walks in, sees a body, steps over it, grabs a bottle of water from the cooler, steps behind the counter, dials the phone.
“Don’t ask how,” he says, “but I just witnessed a parting of ways. This earth, that life. 700 block, liquor store. I’m out of here.”
Spread the Word
This is a list of currently available stories. I'll be adding a new one every week. Tuesday morning. Sign up on the mailing list to get notified. Also, see my Substack.
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