Category: Master Class

Cold Harbor

Vast dunes of fine, powder snow dot the shore. A blinding sun shines, and a brisk wind blows in from the ocean. Held in a perpetual winter, temperatures in Espen Strande never rise high enough to melt off the continually amassing ice crystals. Divers are hired specifically to keep the harbor from icing over. Protected ...

Rest stop

The day was grey and lifeless. Few other cars or trucks shared the road with Bobby. His usual route took him through small towns and farming communities, down abandoned rural highways that paralleled the new Interstate. Once popular truck stops, decaying diners and gas stations were now repurposed thrift stores and church-bazaar home decor outlets. ...

violin in case

Vicious violin

“It is a violent, discordant assault on the ears!” James stomped around Wei’s apartment, his hands pressed firmly over his ears. His heavy footfalls made the vintage LP skip on Wei’s turntable. She put out both arms, grabbing him by the shoulders to stop his pacing. She wanted to put her hands around his neck, ...

So, it begins

The plain, wooden cross, skillfully constructed from weathered, white-washed fence slats, appeared overnight in St. Anthony Gardens at the neglected burial site of a nameless decedent. Great care had been given to crafting a traditional grave marker, one that was reverent and not pretentious as were so many of the monolithic tributes in the cemetery. ...

broken plastic Santa

Jelly Ol’ Elf

“I thought I broke him.” The lament was uttered in hushed tones over a steaming mug of hot chocolate, a dollop of marshmallow whip floating on the surface. A smudge of the sticky confection dotted the speaker’s nose. Her lavender eyes were brimming with tears. Her companion couldn’t help but giggle a little into her ...

Tis the season for tough questions

Nearly 20 years ago, when my daughter was still in elementary school, she came home one December afternoon in a state of wretched befuddlement. That day some of her little friends were discussing Santa Claus and his rumored nonexistence. Apparently, some of these juvenile dream-killers were telling any of their playmates who would listen, that ...

Reprieve

“Any last words? This is your final chance to make amends, to give your victim’s family some small measure of peace.” The cleric stood at the foot of the executioner’s table, looking down at Ray Vanderweele. The cleric’s dark grey cassock covered his entire body from the top of his sensible, black leather shoes to the ...

pumpkin pile

Dream car

Marti meandered through the pumpkin patch tapping each gourd with her Pretty Princess fairy wand made with purple, metallic star garland; silver tulle; and sparkly, multi-colored rhinestones. With each thud, she sang out, “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.” It was hidden in the pile somewhere, she just knew it. All she had to do was find the right pumpkin, ...

abandoned catbird nest

A thief’s cut

The first leaf fell at 7:51 p.m. of the Autumnal Equinox. The brittle, brown-paper scrap fell gracelessly from the dying branches of a gray maple tree, to finally be trapped in the tangle of twigs of an abandoned catbird nest. A cold wind tugged more leaves loose, a portend of the bitter winter to come. ...