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May 31, 2005

Volume 1, Issue 19

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Photo by Ray Soemarsono and taken from this stunning collection. I suggest that if you do your story first before looking at the rest of the pictures. But do go look at them.

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Laurence - She's Got Rust

Podcast of this storyShe once had legs, but over time she let herself go. Varicose veins, a deep hacking cough, and stints in rehab for a heroin problem finished off her partying days.

The dream guy she hooked with the help of ZZ Top's gang of gals had long slipped the line and swam back for deeper waters.

Rags filled her closets.

Still, she kept the car in the driveway. The paint faded, the tires rotted, the engine siezed up, and rust spread like brown cancer and covered everything.

Sometimes, she'd go out front and snap her nicotine-stained fingers, wave the keys.



The Eschatologist: Hunters

They crept quietly into the village; a generous term given there was really only a motley collection of hovels and farmhouses. The wind piled over the hilltops, screaming in their ears defiantly.

"What happened here?"

"I don't know. I imagine plague got 'em."

"Dammit! Let's get the hell out then!"

"No danger now, son. Nobody's lived here in quite a long while."

"Well, I'm not staying any longer than it takes. C'mon."

They moved in between the weather beaten shacks, covering their faces with damp rags in fear, barely noticing the sound of the rifle cocking over the biting wind.


Michele: Drained

I don’t like it here.
I can’t do this without you.

She pulled the child into the skeleton of the old hostel. Their feet kicked up layers of dust, which swirled around them like tiny little spirits.

The dust is biting me, mommy.

The woman grimaced as shapes gathered around her daughter, groping for innocence.

I don’t like it here.
Stay still. They’ll be gone soon

She moved her hands along the floor until she found what they said she would.

A cacophony of mingled screams and cries rose up as a tornado of ghosts swirled down the drain.


Andy: Art Imitating Life

Her canvas ready, she fills in, with sedulous care, the minutest details: every splintered shard of wood, each shingle missing, and all the other obligatory detritus of a failed prosperity. She works in four dimensions.

She removes a small knife from her back pocket, opens it, and carves her initials, unnoticeably, in the front post of the general store. She presses her fingers to her lips, then to the post, a benediction and a farewell, and walks away.

She turns back toward the town, and frames the view between her fingers. Yes, she thinks, the tourist board will be pleased.


From the Comments: Darleen

Her eyes were not filled with wonder but a growing horror. She looked across a foresaken landscape, emptied of people. Decaying buildings, slouching in shame of their paint-stripped nakedness. It no longer spoke of a community where people once walked, laughed, lived and...


The car. A rusted hulk that mocked her. She could still feel the soft leather against her bare back, his hand sliding up her thigh, his lips against the soft of her neck.

She whirled on him, grabbing fistfuls of his shirt.

"Take me back," she hissed, "Back. NOW. I don't want to know the future."