e c l e c t i c a f i c t i o n
(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole story!)
One Week in Barstow, California
After the third day at the bar, the hitchhiker is tired. Long days in the barroom with no natural sunlight and nights on the cold storage room floor are taking their toll. As he lies awake, staring into the darkness, he hears the man's footsteps enter the room. "I'm locking and leaving now. You sure you don't want to come back to my place? Got a bed for you, and a shower there, too. Don't have to keep washing yourself in the bathroom."
Out Taming Horses
You are not equipped for this life, Julia tells her reflection. Mirrors don't lie, but they don't answer, either. Her red hair like a flame in Rene's otherwise spa-white bathroom. Her too-pale skin lends her reflection a transparency as if, if she stood there long enough, she might fade away. She finds a bottle of mouthwash under the sink and takes a swig, bringing herself back to her body by focusing on the sting of menthol on gums.
Reading the Kingdom
Jackson used to run in the morning. I did yoga for a spell, but quit when I couldn't afford the right clothes. The right clothes matter. Don't let them tell you otherwise! Now we had cockroaches, but we woke to them dying gentle deaths next to the bed, feet up and barely struggling. Corpse pose.
Already She Was Root
They had to head south to the old Interstate 80 and then east past Lake Erie and straight for the border that was—that day at least—located west of Pittsburgh. If they could get across, there'd be gas, food, all the way to Boston where most of their clothes remained, along with old, dried soap in the shower and a kitchen he hadn't cleaned all winter. When they got there. If they got there.
I have to cross one major street on the way home, and my belly clenches in anticipation. Something about the cars, the endless stream of movement in either direction. There's a momentary image of gigantic, roaring metal beasts, fenders and tires that dwarf my entire body. Oh, my God, what is this now?
Stacey E. Bryan
Clearance 1949: a Stoic Dialogue
All around us, the Academy's effluent of students, disgorged by the hundreds from classrooms, lecture halls, libraries, and labs, flowed in patchy, disconsolate streams towards subway and bus stop, or into fast-food shops around the Village. Even in sunlight, their faces showed no purpose, little joy, and less meaning. Faces that had neither youth nor age in them.