Muscadines (an excerpt)

Neighbors said it was unnatural, the way those young trees went up in flames. No deadwood. They said it must’ve been an act of God. Mother said it was an act of gasoline.

Keep walking and you’ll reach the barn. Padlocked. Surrounded by a fence of wood and barbed wire. With a homemade sign nailed to the door, warning trespassers the building’s not safe. True words. Because if you could unlock that fence and that door, as only I can, with this key that hangs on a hook by my bed, you might see the arch inside where light doesn’t seep through. I know how dark it is because I patch every little spot I find.

If you could get inside, you might crane your neck and wonder at the dust motes caught in the sunlight pouring through the open door. You might hear a stillness so deep it makes you drowsy. You might feel dizzy and long to lie down in the cool dust. Until your eyes follow the pale shadows around you. Then your first thought might be, “How did all these cars and trucks get here, and why are they locked inside a barn?” Which might also be your last thought.

Cover art by Dave Felton

Purchase Muscadines.

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