Solemn and alone, he steps from the grey confines of his tiny flat in the city descends the stairwell with a burglar’s grace casts his glance each way then traces a path through the foggy night. The moon hangs overhead like a tarnished pendant the buildings, gaunt and tall rise up like tombstones in the night and a faint breeze passes through sleepy streets like a sigh. Pausing in the black throat of an alley he watches the shuffle of whores wrapped in wool as they lead drunk clients through the maze of shadows and filtered yellow light— they will be warm tonight. And then he is alone again with loneliness, his friend and the shadows that crawl upon the walkways and the yellow mist that wetly creeps along gathering in folds about his feet.
AFTER A LONG WALK
Under the umbra of a grand rock elm He sat in a nook along the river’s sweep The breeze whispered tales he’d heard a thousand times Soothed him, as he slipped into an amber sleep. In his dream a boy not too unlike himself When he was young and fishing in this stream Played a clever hook against the current’s pull And caught a rainbow glittering in the dream. He followed barefoot down the grassy slope Through pearly mist, around a hidden bend And came upon a steep and stony fall Far from home—a place where rainbows end. He wondered if his dream was something more So rubbed his eyes to softly set it free Blew it gently with his waning breath And watched it sweep as far as he could see As far as he could see.
Both “The Recluse” and “After a Long Walk” first appeared in the Horror Zine (Spring 2022).
Tom lives in the foothills near the Palomar Observatory (Hale Telescope) with his wonderful wife, Michelle, and three critters. His work has appeared in Wyldblood Press, The Horror Zine, Sirens Call, Hiraeth Publishing, and HellBound Books (pending).
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