Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Small Boat

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Heron In A Boat photo by Dave Meier

The Small Boat
by Larry Heyl
CC BY-SA

Caution returned quickly after the heat of the battle. Medjak looked about, listening for any unusual noise. He could still smell the explosives and an awful sweet smell almost as pervasive as the powder. The smell of death.

He made his way down the valley picking through the wreckage. If he could just get back to his unit before the artillery started firing again he could make his report and sleep. Recon was good duty except for the artillery, the land mines and the snipers. Damn, theres one now. Medjak ducked behind a rock just in time. Bullets hit the gravel around him. He returned fire into the trees. During a momentary silence he rolled into a gulley and continue moving. He didn’t know if he killed the sniper or not and he wasn’t sticking his head up to find out.

When the gulley he was in petered out he found another one and made it to the river without being shot at again. His unit was about two miles upstream if they hadn’t moved. If they had he could track them. He’d done it before.

Looking up the river he saw a small wooden boat floating toward him. So peaceful and serene it floated freely down the river as if carrying aristocratic children out for a punt. Afraid of enemy troops lying in the bottom of the boat he climbed a rock on the river bank. Looking down into the boat he could see it was empty.

He didn’t think. He didn’t worry. He acted immediately out of survival instinct. He slid down the rock and when he hit the ground he kicked off his boots and stripped out of his uniform to his underwear. He wrapped his uniform around his gun and crawled to the river. Sticking his gun in the ground bayonet first his jacket sleeves hung loose and rippled in the wind. He rolled into the water and went right under swimming hard to where he thought the boat would be. Breaking water gently he took a quick breath and spied the boat. Under again and he could see it floating over him. He came up with one hand on the back of the boat his nose and eyes barely above water. As he let the boat pull him downstream he heard shots and saw his uniform jacket jump.

After the boat pulled him around the bend he risked pulling himself up into it. He lay on the bottom of the boat breathing heavily. Sometimes the tree limbs closed off the sky and he floated under a green canopy. Other times he saw nothing but blue sky. After a half hour he felt safer but he still laid quiet in the bottom of the boat. Just a month ago he got separated from his unit and went three days without food. He could do it again. In three days he would float 100 miles or more leaving the war behind. But that was still in the future. For now he didn’t move. Laying still in the bottom of the boat he prayed.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Driven

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Photo by Brandon Wilson

Driven
by Larry Heyl
CC BY-SA

I met him down by the back side of the tracks. They used to call it Hobo Joe’s. Just a 55 gallon drum with a fire in it and a bunch of old bums sharing what they got. Sometimes someone would call out a tune and he’d play it for them.

We traveled together for quite a while. He could kinda make a living with that old guitar. But he was always dreaming. Lost in his music.

He said he was searching for the perfect song. He said when he found it he’d sing it at the perfect moment and time would stand still.

I always wondered why he would want time to stand still. Seemed boring to me. But he’d get all dreamy eyed and his hands would get to loving that guitar. I couldn’t go along but I could listen in. Sometimes what I heard scared me.

But we’d always come back to reality eventually. To wander on to the next town. I remember splitting up. He was heading north in the winter. Didn’t make sense to me. But he was driven by his music into some cold places.

I still think about him every day. Wondering if he ever found the perfect song. Or the perfect moment to sing it in. But I guess not. I think we would notice if all of a sudden time stood

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ying Yo

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Photo by Christopher Campbell

Ying Yo
by Larry Heyl
CC BY-SA

Once there was a time before Adam and Eve, six million billion years ago. The breeding had begun, the heavy elements combined and recombined through intelligence, past sentience, towards enlightenment. Ying Yo, a young girl, attended monastery. She did not really have human form but this is not a story about form.

As she read she wondered much as young girls do today. Mostly she wondered about life. Her daydreams included adventure, romance, even fulfillment. When she prayed her mind would turn to bigger issues. Why was she here? What was her relationship to the Universe? And just who was God to put her through all of this?

So she read and adventured, carried away by imagination and then she prayed and feared what she did not know and she did not know much because she was just a young girl.

But she did not actually do much at monastery and her schedule went mostly like this.

Wake up hungry, bright and lithe.

Kill and eat then an hour of prayer.

A walk in the park where she would read under trees.

On a good day a big kill and a feast. But most days crackers and old bones.

An hour of prayer where she would debase herself for her lack of understanding and correctly so.

Then before rest a rubbing of the parts. She loved it when they writhed and tumbled star light bright and drizzling dank.

A rest. A long time with the fear. And a prayer like this.

O God I know nothing. I fear you I fear you. Within me I’m melting come dark or bright shining. The dank and the drizzle call out in the darkness. I fear you I fear you. My worship sustains me.

Finally that’s over and the killing begins again.

Super Shorts

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Latchwork by Elizabeth Brown - photo by Larry Heyl CC-BY-SA

Super Short Fantasy and Science Fiction Stories
by Larry Heyl
CC BY-SA

There once was an author who specialized in super short stories. He wanted to sit down and write the whole thing start to finish. He didn’t want any big projects. He didn’t want medium sized projects. He wanted to start the project and then finish it before he knew it.

He researched the market for super short science fiction and he realized that it didn’t pay. It paid enough to write it. It didn’t pay enough to sell it. So he was discouraged.

Then he retired and he didn’t care how much it paid. So he went ahead and wrote super short fantasy and science fiction stories anyway.

And that author was me. And he still is. Me that is.