Tag Archives: fiction

A Quiet Conversation

This piece is (admittedly) about a year old. It was published in the anthology “Biohazard 2012” by BeanPods Press of Roswell GA. Offered as incentive Is my contribution
***

A Quiet Conversation ©2012 Kirby Sanders

Originally published in the anthology Biohazard 2012 via BeanPods Press, Roswell GA

Just after sundown of a November eve –- south of Blackburg. The road through the woods hereabouts gets real close when the sun goes down. Seems like the trees come walking closer to the road and huddle together against the chill.
And a decided chill there was–but an odd chill. Couldn’t tell if it was coming from outside or inside, but I wrote it off as being November in Blackburg. Either way, it was time to find some shelter and build a fire. Take some rest for the night.
There’s a small overhang in the bluff over there–trees bunched real tight at the mouth, blocking the north wind. It’s been a long time since I slept with any roof over my head. That little cave in the escarpment looks pretty inviting.
Fine as the Breathitt House in Atlanta! But this ground has been tramped hard–and I declare that looks like a campfire ring. I’ll be switched. That looks like another fellow in the shadow by the far wall.
Hello the camp! Do you mind if I share your fine accommodation to get myself out of the biter wind? I’d be obliged. Looks like your campfire has gone cold. Let me refresh it and get us a cheery fire to warm our bones.
I take it that your silence is assent.
Gathering firewood, I notice there is abundance at the mouth of the cave. Odd to be so much so near to an occupied place. Perhaps this unfriendly wind is obliging us one small kindness–shaking down dead branches for our fire pit. No matter. In short order we have a presentable flame comforting the enclosure, although it casts no light into my companion’s shadow.
Thank you again, friend. My name’s Pierce. I run –- well ran–Pierce’s hardware in Greenbrier. Down by Fort Smith. I notice my companion has made no move to accept the business card in my outstretched hand and look at the paper dumbly. Stupid thing for a man to be carrying anymore. Since the sickness, there ain’t no Pierce’s Hardware. No Greenbrier either and damned little of Fort Smith, for that matter. I cast the card into the fire.
I’ve been traveling for the last several weeks since the sickness took hold. They say a college girl brought it into Greenbrier. Ellen Jacoby. She come home ill from Georgia State. They say the sickness started from Atlana. Something brought in by a traveler, maybe. Any which way, Ellen took sick and then her momma took sick. Soon enough the sickness was marching through town with a vengeance.
Bodies everywhere. And they were burning the houses to try to stop the spread of the disease. Soon enough, our town looked like hell to me.
My wife took sick first in our house. Mary was a good woman. Kindly. Doc said she probably got the sickness taking food to the Jacoby’s for their grieving — nothing he could do. Nothing anyone could do. First son Ambrose took sick second. He volunteered for the burning crew. Probably got the sickness from one of the infected houses. Or from his momma. Then Anna, then Alton.
I‘ve got their pictures here. But I suspect you don’t care to see them.

Eventually, I was the last one standing. No undertaker would touch my family. Cemetery wouldn’t take them. Buried them in the back yard with my own hands.
I never got too sick. Kept the Hardware open. Folks needed shovels (lots of shovels). They wanted hammers and nails to tighten up the houses–but it didn’t do any good. After a while, I was damned giving stuff away. Nobody had any money. Nothing left to trade. I couldn’t get fresh stock in from anywhere. Time came the shelves were empty and there weren’t any more customers. I shut it down. Not enough town left to warrant my staying. So I left.
But I guess my story ain’t much different than yours, friend. Tell me if you want me to quit telling. I’ve got a can of beans here. I’ll warm them up and set you some over there by your side of the fire.
My companion remained silent.
I passed through Fort Smith. A few folks had occupied the old fort. But they made it very clear that they didn’t want any new friends. Drove my car as far as I could until it ran out of gas. Took another car from a farmhouse after that. I don’t reckon I stole the car. Obvious the folks in the farmhouse were never going to need it again.
I took to scavenging canned goods from the houses I passed by. Didn’t want to hunt game or fish. Figured the animals might have the disease too–but the canned stuff was probably o.k. Didn’t get sick, anyway.
It’s been many a mile and many a day since then. All of the towns I’ve passed through where there was folks alive is very much like Fort Smith. They aren’t taking in strangers, so I just keep moving on. Never thought I’d go from being a comfortable merchant to wanderer in the wasteland.
The fire had warmed the cave to a comfortable state and a bellyful of hot beans was bringing on sleep.
Good night, friend. Thanks for indulging an old man’s story. I look forward to hearing your tale come morning.
Slept the sleep of the righteous until the golden dawn played its light into the little cave. The sunlight brightened my companion’s corner–and even weary eyes could tell he was dead. Very dead. Probably several weeks ago.
Gathering my things and moving on again, I bid my companion adieu.
See you again, my new-found friend–somewhere down the road, I am certain.

***

I invite you please to consider the anthology for your reading list and enjoy the other works by several co-contributors. Available in paperback, Kindle and B&N Nook formats. Contact publisher at http://www.beanpodspress.com/

Flight of the Felis Familiaris

The Flight of the Felis Familiarius

©2013, Kirby Sanders.

Have you ever noticed that there are never any cats on the bridge aboard ship in outer space movies? There’s a reason!



The Evil Alliance is pursuing and attacking our underdog heroes! The valiant Capitan Weit Leche Carton shouts “Get us out of here, helmsman — Burp Six!!!”

Helmsman Mr. Yohoo replies “Working on it, sir. Dammit cat, get off the control panel!”

Capitan continues “Ready weapons! I want plastic torpedos in tubes one and two. Fire on my mark in five, four, three …

Weapons officer – “Direct hit, sir! They are breaking off! We have disabled their nacelle cavity!”

Capitan Weit Leche Carton — “But … I didn’t say ‘fire.”’

Weapons officer: “Damned cat!”.

Capitan Carton – “Security! Mr. Dork! I want that cat off my bridge! Now!”

Mr. Dork, a hulking alien warrior looking dude who is oddly alluring in a Mandingo sort of way, approaches the Weapons Control panel. Cat leaps from control panel and runs across the room – hides under a console at the far wall. Mr. Dork pursues. Cat hisses from behind the panel as Mr. Dork attempts to get his arm into the small space.

Capitan Carton – “Mr. Dork! Status report?” I want that cat off my bridge!”

Mr. Dork – “I can’t reach him, sir. He is back behind the recalcitrance rectifier and the inanimate object.”

Capitan Carton – “Communications! Ms. OhHerWho! Get Commander Dada up here to retrieve his damned cat. Ensign YooHoo – assist Mr. Dork.”

Helmsman Mr. Yoohoo – “Not a good time sir. We seem to be taking a Delta Fawcett evasive maneuver pattern. I can’t control it, sir. I believe the cat has interfered with the inanimate object controls!!!”

Capitan Carton – “Stand your ground Mr. YooHoo. I didn’t order evasive maneuvers! Delta Fawcett? Which one is that?”

Mr.YooHoo – “It’s the pinwheel like nutcakes, I think we’re going to crash into the nearest moon ruse. The Kubiashi Moron maneuver developed by Capitan Quirk in the Grapes of Wrath of Cahn.”

Capitan Carton – “Ah yes, Cahn. The depraved guy from the studio exec’s office attempts to control the universe …”

Comm officer (Ms. OhHerWho; on shipwide intercom) – “Commander Dada! Commander Dada! Report to the bridge immediately. Capitan’s orders. Bring a can of catfood.”

As the ship spins out of control, an Evil Empire Firebird (circa 1967) decloaks off the starboard bow of the intrepid USS Entertainer (That’s the left front of the ship if you are facing forward from the rear of the ship – I think. I don’t remember.)

Gnarly looking Evil Empire captain – “Ooot de smook the dune niew?”

Gnarly looking Evil Empire helmsman – “Zoom wired sheet. Fosho! Delta Fawcett?”

Back on the bridge of the USS Entertainer. Commander Dada arrives on the bridge. He is  humanish looking android – pale and pasty, and his face looks like a collaboration between HP Lovecraft and Pablo Picasso. “Dada reporting as ordered, sir.”

Capitan Carton – “Get that damned cat of my bridge – and airlock the catbox in your quarters. The entire corridor stinks!”

Commander Dada joins Mr. Dork on the floor by the far wall and says comfortingly “Spot! Spot! Out, out, damned Spot!” as he sets a can of replicated Hot Tuna on the floor. The Hot Tuna immediately begins playing the song “Uncle Sam Blues” and wafting a fishy aroma through the bridge.

Capitan Carton “I do love those classical tropes.”

Spot complies and comes to Commander Dada.

Mr. YooHoo – “Capitan, we are out of freefall. But I’m not sure where we are. It looks like the dog star – Sirius.”

Mr. Dada carries Spot toward his quarters, but pauses at Mr. YooHoo’s station.

Commander Dada (to YooHoo) – “The tail formation is too long and the ears of the twin nebulae are too pointed. Surely it can’t be Sirius.”

Mr. Yoohoo – “It looks like Sirius. And don’t call me …”

Capitan Carton – “Mr. YooHoo! Clsssical tropes only or stand down on report! Ms. OhHerWho – report from the away team we left on the surface?”

Ms. OhHerWho – “Three redshirts down. One gold shirt asking to beam aboard. Communications are erratic and the enemy’s Ronald RayGuns are disrupting transporters.”

Commander Dada departs to quarters and sets Spot in the sitting area. Per orders, he gathers up the catbox. He re-opens the door (ssshhhh-whoosh) and dumps the catbox into the nearest disposal airlock.

Cut to viewscreen of the Evil Empire ‘67 Firebird. Suddenly, the viewscreen is obscured – blinded – by a collection of grit and adhesive brown semi-solids.

Gnarly Evil Empire Captain – “Woot the smook bedat!??

Gnarly Evil Empire helmansman – “Censors innicate keetsheet, Sir!”

Gnarly Evil Empire Captain – “Keetsheet? In spece? Prepusto ye indigesto!”

Gnarly Evil Empire helmansman – “Postdigesto, zeer. Unable to klir screen or censors. Offensive to both nacelle cavities! Loosing pwer – both nacelle cavities.”

Gnarly Evil Empire Captain  –  “Evad! Evad! Retour to Emiire.”

The Firebird veers off pursuit and recloaks.

Back on the USS Entertainer bridge.

Mr. YooHoo – “Second Emire ship breaking pursuit. Course 50167392586.pi. I have no idea where they re going. Very erratic flight pattern, but it appears they are headed for the neutered zone.”

Capitan Carton – “Looks like a miracle got us out of the box. Make it go, Mr. YooHoo.”

Ms. YeahHerWho – “Gold shirt away reports all redshirts vaporized. Requesting immediate transport back to ship.”

Back at Commander Dada’s quarters. Commander opens door to return empty catbox. As door ssssh-whooshes open, Spot races out the door and down the corridor to transporter room. Commander Dada chases. Door closes and secures as Spot runs in. Open comlink hears desperate Goldshirt begging for immediate extraction. Communication broken and spotty.

Goldshirt – “Unidentified interference. Sudden atmospheric rain of grit and viscous brown matter. Beam up immediate, please!”

Spot smacks a paw on a button on the transporter panel. “Meow! Meow! Rrewr Rrewr! Purr Purr.”

Goldshirt – “Unable to comprehend transmission. Garbled. Please resend via universal translator. Please – hurry. Environment toxic.”

Spot smacks a paw on another button on the transporter panel. Repeat transmission – “Meow! Meow! Rrewr Rrewr! Purr Purr.”

Goldshirt – “Received and acknowledged via translator. Thank you, thank you, thank you. One to beam up, Mr. Spot.”

Capitan Carton, Mr. Dork, Commander Dada and Dr. Waverley Wafer burst through the door as an exhausted Goldshirt materializes on the transporter pad. Dr. Wafer rushes to the inert man. Spot jumps off the  transporter console and into Commander Dada’s awaiting arms.

Capitan Carton – “Mr. Dada. I want that cat confined to your quarters hereafter.”

Commander Dada – “Yes sir. Immediately sir.”

Capitan Carton – “Contact the bridge. Tell them to make it go!”

Spot – “Meow! Meow! Rrewr Rrewr! Purr Purr.”

A Mystery Near Yellville!

©2013 Kirby Sanders

July 14, 2013
12:15 p.m.

NEAR YELLVILLE AR —  Residents of rural Searcy County southeast of the town of Yellville, Arkansas, are reporting a strange phenomenon this morning. According to residents of the idyllic but rugged area along the scenic Buffalo River, a strange “whooshing sound” rattled windows and shook homes early this morning.

Said one rural resident, “It weren’t no wind up and they was no sound like jets or aeroplane motors. Just this big whoooosh sound that come out of the southeast and went on to the northwest. Skeered my blue tick so bad he hid under the bed.”

A Yellville pastor noted, “I was in early to get the church ready for services when the winders started knockin’ and this crazy sound come up like the wings of an army of angels or demons swooping over town! It swooped off kind of westward toward Harrison and Bentonville.”

Air Force officials at the nearest bases in Little Rock AR and Springfield MO denied any military training activities were taking place, as did Air National Guard units in Batesville AR and Fort Smith AR.

The Searcy County sheriff reported, “took me by surprise. I was hauling on my britches, tripped on my Sam Browne and smacked my punkin head on the washtable in the bedroom. I got no clue what the (heck) it was.”

An unconfirmed report from an intern at the area Federal Aviation Administration offices said, “We don’t know what it was either. There was no incident reported from commercial aircraft in the area. We suspect it may have been logic and reason flying over the heads of area state and federal legislators.”

Books by Kirby Sanders

Book Catalogue

The following books by Kirby Sanders are available via CreateSpace at the following links:

Fiction

• Nusquam Res, Nusquam Esse; The Final Journey of Ambrose Bierce • Historical fiction  –  A fictionalized accounting of  the final months in the life of the famous American  journalist and author of “horror” tale leaidng to his mysterious disappearance in Mexico during the  Revolution in 1913. https://www.createspace.com/4177092

• A Death In Texas • Crime / murder mystery – Based on actual events, officials and a reporter for a small town newspaper unravel the strange events surrounding th death of an “Average Joe” factory worker in an apparent murder-for-money scheme gone badly awry.  https://www.createspace.com/4196001

History

• The Butterfield Overland Mail Ox Bow Route Through Missouri; 1858-1861 • Reports as filed under the auspices of the National Park Service establishing the preliminary parameters for further study in future preservation of this iconic Old West stagecoach route. https://www.createspace.com/4216629

• The Butterfield Overland Mail Ox Bow Route Through Arkansas and Oklahoma; 1858-1861 • Reports as filed under the auspices of the National Park Service establishing the preliminary parameters for further study in future preservation of this iconic Old West stagecoach route. https://www.createspace.com/4224063

• The Butterfield Overland Mail Ox Bow Route Through Texas; 1858-1861 • Reports as filed under the auspices of the National Park Service establishing the preliminary parameters for further study in future preservation of this iconic Old West stagecoach route. https://www.createspace.com/4225431

• The Butterfield Overland Mail Ox Bow Route Through New Mexico and Arizona; 1858-1861 • Reports as filed under the auspices of the National Park Service establishing the preliminary parameters for further study in future preservation of this iconic Old West stagecoach route. This volume is illustrated with modern or recent photographs of station sites and vicinities.                                                            https://www.createspace.com/4228907

• The Butterfield Overland Mail Ox Bow Route Through Southern California; 1858-1861 • Reports as filed under the auspices of the National Park Service establishing the preliminary parameters for further study in future preservation of this iconic Old West stagecoach route. This volume is illustrated with modern or recent photographs of station sites and vicinities.                                                            https://www.createspace.com/4236238

• The Butterfield Overland Mail Ox Bow Route Through Northern California; 1858-1861 • Reports as filed under the auspices of the National Park Service establishing the preliminary parameters for further study in future preservation of this iconic Old West stagecoach route. This volume is illustrated with modern or recent photographs of station sites and vicinities.                                                            https://www.createspace.com/4240002 

All of these books are available to the public via amazon.com at the listed links with order handling and fulfillment via amazon.com. Bookstores, online resellers, historical societies and non-profit groups, libraries and educational institutions may purchase copies at industry-standard discounts by establishing a wholesale account with CreateSpace Direct – order handling an fulfillment also via amazon.com. CreateSpace Direct information is online at https://www.createspace.com/pub/l/createspacedirect_terms.do?rewrite=true

CreateSpace resellers application  is online at https://www.createspace.com/pub/l/createspacedirect.do?rewrite=true

Two New Novels by Kirby Sanders

I am happy to announce that I have two new novels available via CreateSpace or amazon. They can be purchased through Amazon CreateSpace or normal AmazonUSA sales channel in the United States. Also available on most international Amazon. Retail resellers, bookstores, libraries and educational institutions may purchase at industry-standard discounts via Amazon CreateSpace Direct or Ingram standard distribution channel.

Nusquam Res, Nusquam Esse; The Final Journey of Ambrose Bierce is historical fiction based upon the last months in the life of acclaimed war and horror writer Ambrose Bierce before his mysterious disappearance in Mexico during Revolution in 1913. Details / availability at:
https://www.createspace.com/4177092

A Death In Texas, set in 1995 in rural Henderson County, Texas, is a crime / murder drama based on actual events whilst working in the area as a newspaper reporter. Probably the weirdest murder case I ever reported. Think along the lines of a Redneck “Fargo”. Details / availability at:
https://www.createspace.com/4196001

Surrounded by Darkness

Surrounded By Darkness
©2012 Kirby Sanders

 “You are surrounded by darkness”, she said to me.

“Yes, I know”, said I to her. “But what can you tell me?”

“I cannot see through the darkness”, she said to me.

 

“Neither can I, sweetheart”, I said to her.

She removed her hands from a crystal ball. A flicker from the lone candle flared off of her large ruby ring, emitting a brief beam that shone like a laser the crimson color of burning blood.

I arose from the table and dropped her a ten. She was unresponsive – not awake, not asleep. I turned away from the gothic parlor. Pushed aside a heavy curtain and walked out into the street. No closer to an answer than before. No further away.

I turned and walked along the broken sidewalk – step before undetermined step on shades of grey and shadows black. Sullied my shoes in an orange puddle illuminated by a streetlamp.

Looking for something.

 

Stray cats yowling crossed my path. In an alleyway lay a crumpled form. A man either dead or homeless and sleeping. I did not stop to see which. Either way, it was not my concern.

I must have walked the night away – looking for a clue. But there were no clues.

Come the pink and purple dawn, I found I was back where I started. I pushed the heavy curtain aside and re-entered the gothic room. She still sat at the table – conscious but not responsive, the lone large candle sputtering and almost spent.

“Did you find what you sought?”, she asked eyes closed.

“No”, said I to her. “I found nothing”.

“Perhaps”, said she, “nothing is what you are destined to find”.

“I hope not”, said I to her. “Is nothing what I am seeking?”

“You remain surrounded by darkness”, she said to me.

“Yes, I know”, said I to her. “But what can you tell me now?”

“I still cannot see through the darkness”, she said to me.

“Neither can I, sweetheart”, I said to her. “Neither can I.”