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THE CRAYFISH — Microfiction!

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Here’s a little bit of microfiction for you to enjoy. As happens often in fiction, it’s based on a real place and a real experience. I’ll leave you to decide which parts are fiction and which are not.

The Crayfish

Copyright 2015 S.A. Barton

     The eighteen-wheelers roar by above; the bridge over the creek is shorter than they are long.

     Below, in the creek, cool water parting for thin boy shins, sun beating his back darker, darker, the boy crouches, peering down.

     His hands part the toy cataract above a stone wearing a sleek skirt of algae filaments.

     Backwards, the greeny-brown crayfish flees into the shadow gathered under the stone.

     Another eighteen-wheeler approaches; low diesel thunder.

     Little fingers chase after the crayfish, darting through the dark under the stone. Above, thunder, thunder, thunder, closer.

     The boy grunts, smiles, flips the stone, algae skirt flaring wild.

     The crayfish squirts backwards all in a burst.

     THUNDER the truck mounts the bridge.

     Long, long, bony arms streak out of the dark under the little bridge, faster than crayfish and boys, stretching out of a lank green shadowed crouchy shape.

     Overhead the truck thunder recedes and dissipates into the distance.

     The shallow creek waters fill, then pass over smooth a lost shoe mired fast in the mud.

     The crayfish climbs inside, taking refuge.

END

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New Short Story Ebook: TORNADO GIFT

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Available on Smashwords — FREE! No sign-in needed, you can even select “online reader” under “Download:” and read it as a webpage — just as you’re reading this page, with nothing to actually download!

You can also find it on Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Google Play Books, Kobo, and others.

This is a short tale of weirdness after a storm — I’ll let the opening paragraphs speak for themselves:

Eventually, the walls-strumming throb of the tornado passed and the family emerged from their storm nest in the hallway. They had ridden through the storm—the hail and rain hammering on the walls, the gusts rocking the trailer home side to side on its blocks, the thunder shaking the roof, and finally the open-throated steam engine chug of the funnel cloud itself—encapsulated in the mattresses rushed from their beds and stood up against the hallway walls to cushion them in case the trailer rolled over. But it hadn’t.

The storm had been black, choking off the little bit of light that illuminated the hall from the living room on a sunny day. After the hail the electric lights had failed. The lights were still out, but now a weak sun filtered in again, gray.

Paul rushed ahead of his parents and little brother on the energy of thirteen, threw open the door and the screen, and burst out onto the open porch. Twigs, leaves, and small branches torn out of the big maple between them and the next trailer thirty feet over crunched under his sneakers. From the maple, from the woods engulfing their end of the trailer park, branches and leaves covered the grass and the gravel road, a green and brown carpet with only a few worn patches showing what lay underneath. Paul looked up. The clouds trailing the storm were high and thin, ragged, sending down random momentary sprinkles. The air was fresh, washed, green with the sap of bruised leaves and broken trees. Paul sucked in a deep breath, alive in the wake of the storm’s fear.

“We made it!” he shouted as his family crowded onto the porch. He ran down the steps into the yard, and from there he saw it between the back of the trailer and the woods. A refrigerator, tall and white but not square like all the ones he’d seen before. This one was rounded and smooth like an enormous bar of soap. The handle on the front was short, chrome worn dull on one end and attached to the fridge only on the other. The fat and round black power cord disappeared into the undergrowth of the woods’ edge as if it were plugged into the ferns and sticky sundews that grew there…