Four-year-old Billy saw purple butterflies flitting in his backyard. He tried to catch one but when he got close it flew away. Billy followed the butterfly out of the garden, down the alley, across the street and through neighbors’ yards. He chased it until he lost sight, then he chased another. For hours, he chased butterflies until he finally chased one into his own garden.
He saw police cars in front of his house. Inside, his mother talked to policemen.
“Don’t interrupt when I’m busy,” Mom often said to Billy.
He remembered. Tired, he went to bed.
© Copyright 2016 Ken Rosburg. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Ken Rosburg is a retired US Air Force fighter pilot and a retired American Airlines pilot. He began writing in 2012 and has had works published in the national-award winning “SandScript” journal and in the e-zine, “A Long Story Short.” Ken resides in Tucson, Arizona with his wife of forty-seven years.
I found it in the desert. I saw Fran driving her truck loaded down with dead branches, and then I saw her pitch the stuff off the side of a shallow arroyo. I was out for a walk before the heat had a chance to start baking the trail.
The toe was severed clean, like a surgeon had sliced it with a very sharp saw. It was the big toe, with a yellowed nail and a hairy toe knuckle. The bone was surrounded by meat that had dried to raw flesh, rough to the touch and darkened on the edges like jerky. It rested on the sand next to a tree limb with leaves already curling from the approaching heat.
I liked Fran. I did handyman work for her and her husband Oliver. She always told me I was too skinny. I’d be digging in the garden and she’d take my dirty hand in her frail, spider-webbed one, and tell me to stop and eat. Sometimes she would forget my name, but I never minded. She was in her eighties, after all.
An ant found the toe, and began chewing on the fresh end near the nail.
I took it to Tom, the local sheriff. I figured a severed toe was worth reporting. Continue reading The Toe by Windi Padia