I AM RENE Michaud. I am seventeen and Salé is fourteen. When the earthquake comes, we are in our home in Port au Prince, 12 Rue Galat. I am reading a book on chemistry from the local library for my school project and Salé plays her fan over the head of her beloved brother to cool him.
I say, “Faster Salé; it is too hot.” She laughs in that high giggle I love to hear and moves the fan more at my head and she ruffles the pages of my book with the wind of her motion.
This day is…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on June 24, 2017 at 1:30am — No Comments
BACK IN JULY, my wife and I drove to Pittsburgh to see some relatives. We weren’t really close, but we decided to visit on hearing that old Uncle Gregory had cancer and wasn’t doing well. I’d known Uncle Gregory pretty well as I grew up. They’d lived in Litchfield on the next farm a half mile away. Aunt Maggie baked just the best hot muffins, as I recall. We’d go on over maybe two, three times a month. As a youngster, Uncle Gregory’s stories fascinated me and I always had fun in his old…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on June 17, 2017 at 8:14am — No Comments
THIS STORY IS true, although qualified. That is to say I have the date right and the initial circumstances are true. Fantasy begins where truth leaves off. I want the reader to understand that the fine line between fantasy and reality is often blurred. The outcome of this story may not be fantasy at all.
Sometime during the night of June 4, 2010, perhaps during the early morning hours of the 5th, a borrowed Hav-A-Hart small animal trap disappeared from our back…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on June 10, 2017 at 5:02am — No Comments
DARK CLOUDS GATHERED above the hills and blotted the sun for a minute. Like a trigger, Bonnie’s mind turned inward and dark clouds swelled within. Don’t go there, she thought. She tried to create a neutral mindset while she sat, kicking her feet idly over open space, and waiting.
Looking past her feet, she squinted to better inspect sixty-foot pines five hundred feet below. Beyond the stand of pines, verdant fields spread out, plunged and disappeared into the dark of a…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on June 3, 2017 at 5:44am — No Comments
I HAD AN interesting day, today. I met someone at the corner of Main and Farnum Streets. I’d arrived a moment or two after her. She stood silent at the light post waiting for the buzzer so when I moved to the post to position myself for crossing, I didn’t notice and bumped into her.
It’s strange I didn’t smell her.
I’ve been blind for years, a childhood accident. During that time I’ve had to learn to get along. My sense of smell is excellent, as is touch and hearing. Developing…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on May 27, 2017 at 8:37am — No Comments
THE CLAUSTROPHOBIC ALLEY reached a long way back and brick walls on either side towered many stories, dimming the bright shaft of sunlight a few feet away. Squinting, I tried to discern "Fred," the guy my friend Brian said would meet me. Brian had many contacts. I’d told him what I wanted and he raised an eyebrow, but said he could make it happen. He asked how much money I wanted to spend and I…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on May 20, 2017 at 4:58am — No Comments
SHE DIED ON July 14th. Gram lived ninety-nine years, Adele Phylura Rampitz in life, most of her years were good ones; I mean robust and healthy ones, not good in the sense most people think about it.
Toward the end, the last five years, she suffered from old-timers disease and a couple of things changed. The razor sharp mind, having sawed away at life and all she came in contact with for nearly a century dulled. As her surviving heir, I found that reasonable, as I…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on May 13, 2017 at 10:05am — No Comments
I PUSHED THROUGH the thinnest part of the brush, unaware of what loomed ahead. I couldn’t see more than a few feet, but right after I parted the last of it I saw the house. It blended into the background. It surprised me. I’d found an intact structure, a two story affair with a peak roof. Covered with green painted clapboards the identical shade of the greenery surrounding it made the owners’ intention clear.
I eyeballed the place for several minutes before moving. It appeared no one…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on April 29, 2017 at 6:44am — No Comments
I REMOVE MY glasses and as my vision blurs, a bright flash outlines my little cellar window. I’m on the edge of my seat watching TV in my basement. My wife is upstairs, probably sleeping. Did I care?
The dazzling light comes through the sunken window-well from outside through bars I welded onto the metal frame to discourage burglars. They outline the other side of the room with surreal, distorted shadows. What the hell?
As I begin to panic my mind reviews why I put the…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on April 22, 2017 at 2:03pm — No Comments
I STOOD OFF to the side out of the jumble of people. Dangling from my hand on the Government Issue breakaway chains they gave us, my dog tags jingled flatly. Cheap metal, I thought. I stared at the train.
It stopped to let me off with a few other people and now began to move again, its job done. Now I had to do mine. I had to get a place and find a job. How would I do that? I knew how to kill, but that’s not very useful in civilian life, on the right side of the law,…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on April 15, 2017 at 8:37am — No Comments
I LEAVE NORFOLK, VA on U.S 13 in an Army truck and head for Cape Charles. In my mind I see the three bridges and two tunnels connecting this magnificent twenty-three-mile feat of highway engineering over and under the Chesapeake Bay ahead of me, scary miles, not for the distance, but because of my mission.
I’m carrying U. S. Government Issue ADY. It’s ten times more explosive than dynamite. I’m talking high grade, kid glove, super volatile stuff.
Every part of the route has…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on April 8, 2017 at 9:51am — No Comments
IMAGES COME AT me like shrapnel from an exploding shell. A tremendous force holds me stock-still, pushed against my seat, rooted there. I look into the leering face of the Grim Reaper.
God, oh God! This fire in my brain!
Flight 1185 from London, JKF minutes away. Passengers screaming. I might be screaming, too. I get a momentary out of body feeling as my cold, logical self watches my feet push stupidly against the floor.
Death happens to others, not to me. I look…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on April 1, 2017 at 9:56am — No Comments
THEY'D EVACUATED THE office building in Kabul and called Al and me in to disarm the IED. Business as usual, except for the sixty second timer Al accidentally started when he jostled the bomb. Taliban sense of humor. I had to go to work fast at that point.
I’d grabbed my bomb kit and headed out with Al. He's my second. He drove and could hold a flashlight, but I got the fun job.…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on March 25, 2017 at 9:20am — No Comments
SHOULD I HELP her or should I move on?
On the spur of the moment, I make the decision. As a human being she doesn’t impress me. Disheveled and dirty, her clothes torn and her face haunted, she lies in the middle of the street, kind of bunched up and folded, like a dirty rag negligently thrown on the ground. She’s moaning and seems in pain.
I look down the dusty city street, if you can call this crummy mud-hut-cement-block-sun-baked place a city. Nothing moves. I can’t rely on…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on March 18, 2017 at 5:49am — No Comments
SARGE SAYS GO like hell and keep your head down…think I’m nuts...crawl on my belly like a snake and like it…oh, yeah…me so cocky back at mess…they won’t hit me…I’m too lucky, I told Joe…wonder how he’s making out…I seen him last about fifteen yards to the right…not much cover…shell holes, blasted grape vines…Mom and Dad see me now they’d have a heart attack…bullets screaming over my head and I’m scared shitless…can’t see ‘em but I can hear ‘em…one could have my name on…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on March 11, 2017 at 7:52am — No Comments
THE MAN IN the dark coat stood in silence. In the darkness his black brimmed hat pulled low and collar arranged high around his neck, they shrouded angular features and ice-cold eyes. Those eyes glinted in a nearby hooded streetlight as they turned to check out a faint sound close by.
Tense but immobile he waited. The sound did not repeat. In the distance, he heard a truck approach. He waited. A searchlight flashed against the close-set buildings and into the narrow alley in which he…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on March 4, 2017 at 6:03am — No Comments
IN THE DAYS following the Germany’s annexation of Austria, many landed families found their distaste of the National Socialists turn to fear, as the laws of the land were warped to fit the new Fuhrer’s preconceived notion of his thousand year Reich. Many Germans were willing to march to Hitler’s goose step, seeing in it a way to improve their lot, many times at the expense of fellow Germans and Austrians. A dark pall descended over Europe as Der Fuhrer consolidated his political…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on February 26, 2017 at 4:46am — No Comments
“WHY DID YOU slam that door? Do you want to bring the Nazi’s?” Sister Anastasia called hoarsely. She sounded frightened and her look communicated itself to the small boy.
Hans’s Gerber’s terrified eyes looked into the Sister Anastasia’s and remorse radiated from his small frame. The beginnings of tears clouded his eyes.
Her forehead pinched in her frown, the Sister put a finger to her mouth as Hans moved toward her for the safety of her touch.
Sister Anastasia looked at…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on February 18, 2017 at 1:15pm — No Comments
THE SUN SET over leafy green hills, darkening the Saar Valley. What had been bright moments before lay covered in shadow and from Colonel Freshette’s view, its beauty had washed out of the peaceful, serene panorama. At another time the town below would have seemed ready for sleep.
Through his field glasses the Colonel could see no movement. Intelligence said the town was heavily fortified. He saw no evidence. The Germans were a clever bunch and they were well entrenched. A hush like a…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on February 11, 2017 at 8:03am — No Comments
Light fiction with subtle humor, or as my Australian friends would say, “humour.”
LONG BEFORE I actually laid eyes on the man, I sensed that my relationship with Gordon Tuttle wouldn’t be a source of joy and comfort to either one of us, especially me. What could I expect? His goons had me tied up with duct tape, one of my two favorite products. I love WD-40, too. That’s the other one. I felt I should mention it…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on February 4, 2017 at 7:59am — No Comments