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
Added by Richard O. Benton on January 28, 2017 at 9:14am — No Comments
SOMETHING GOING ON in the cockpit. I need to get there.
The john is a reasonable request. She nudges her mother in the left seat to get up so I can complete the process. After I’m out, I mention that the back toilets seem to be in use and I’m going up front. I’ve been dismissed. The ladies return to their seats, books and conversation. I wonder why I have to use subterfuge so often.
I make my way forward and get up next to the locked entrance to the cockpit. A flight attendant…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on January 21, 2017 at 6:52am — No Comments
THE JET TAKES off with a mighty push. I feel the raw, irresistible power of its four massive Pratt and Whitney engines. I marvel at the size of the Boeing 747 jetliner I’m riding in. I marvel at the cosmopolitan sense of the passenger-filled plane. No empty seats, I hear. I look around. Some are reading, some are negligently glancing out of their porthole windows and they look utterly bored.
Do they not feel something? Have they all traveled this route so many times before that the…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on January 14, 2017 at 9:41am — No Comments
APOLOGIES TO ANYONE offended by the use of the term, “Indian,” which of course refers to a people we know in this age as Native Americans. Similar frictional situations are public knowledge. The story depicts known friction between races, it's outlet in one case, and a reflection of what I will term western "justice." I hope the reader will see something else within the story, too, that I will not describe, but look for it.
THE MERCILESS SUN beat down. Jennifer and I lay on…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on January 7, 2017 at 9:51am — No Comments
Lannie Mae Richards for many years had embodied the rock upon which her family stood. Raised in a God-fearing household, she carried those lessons through her life and taught them to her children. She broached no compromise with the laxity she saw in “moderns,” as she called them. Now, for the first time in her life it appeared she would have to let others help her do what in her mind anyone could do with ease.
She’d fallen again, not to the floor, but against a filing cabinet. No one…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on December 31, 2016 at 5:14am — No Comments
A Christmas fantasy for the 2016 season.
KRIS STOOD COMFORTABLY, his tweed coat warming him in the chill air. It didn’t hurt him to be standing there denied. He had just finished searching the faces of two men to whom he had revealed himself.
Not like I’ve never been denied before. Two men, one on either side of me, one full of doubt, and the other…absolute denial! Do I try to convince them or just move on? The children believe in me. Isn’t that enough?
Added by Richard O. Benton on December 24, 2016 at 1:56am — No Comments
Hello, you both,
I find it rather interesting that I, who profess to be a writer, am so tardy when it comes to keeping family I love up to date. Excuses I could come up with. After all, I do write fiction. This time I think I'll play it straight. I received your Xmas letter a couple of days ago and printed it out for H. She appears enthralled with the printed page. I can understand, as I am too.
I believe I'll address your letter piecemeal and we'll see where it…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on December 17, 2016 at 10:05am — No Comments
“On its fourth anniversary, the tragedy remains fresh for so many. It's detractors, off on agendas of their own, should read this heartfelt expression...and Amy's connection to it. Like the national memories we carry of an event seven days earlier in a December seventy-five years further back in history, may we never forget these pressure points in life and give them their due.”
I wrote the paragraph above for Amy, a friend and fellow writer on the occasion of this anniversary of the…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on December 14, 2016 at 2:36pm — No Comments
While rummaging around in my kitchen quite recently, I came across a curious utensil. It had the shape of carrying tray, yet was so small as to certainly not be a tray. The handles were out-sized next to the size of the business end of the utensil, and reminded me of unusually large ears on an unusually small-headed person.
One could not carry a thing on it. It had no bottom. Instead, it had a center circle of metal perhaps five-eights of an inch in diameter from which radiated twelve…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on December 10, 2016 at 8:04am — No Comments
THE INVASION BEGAN - as it always did - in the last days of December. Our little town of five hundred would soon swell to two thousand. The boats would come as surely as one day follows the last. It’s not as if we didn’t have the room or need the money. It’s that our idyllic and nearly perfect lives were about to be disrupted. Our island paradise needed a shot in the arm and every year at this time that’s what it got.
As a practical matter, we had to pay a price. For the next month…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on December 3, 2016 at 10:14am — No Comments
GINGHA AND HER two companions walked slowly, single file and alert as they picked their way along a narrow ridge high above a low place. The smaller of the two walked between them, a younger in training, Gingha’s charge, and the other a seasoned warrior of her tribe. Behind them the sky darkened and when shadow fell on them, Gingha turned abruptly and looked to the sky. She stifled a gasp as an orange hue manifested in the coming storm.
“Quickly!” Gingha called. “Get under!…Continue
Added by Richard O. Benton on November 26, 2016 at 5:36am — No Comments