A lone tear oozed out and slowly roll down her wrinkled cheek, momentarily hanging from a cliff on parched lips.
Jeremy’s head lay on her soiled apron. The desert heat burned his skin and turned the dried blood black around the hole in his chest. “He shouldn’t have taken the horse or drawn his gun.”
In a spasm, he sucked in a breath then slowly wheezed it out.
The tear dropped and sizzled when it landed on his sunburned chest.
A slight breeze stirred the desert sand, and silence had the last word.
© Copyright 2016 Gordon M. Labuhn. All rights reserved.
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Gordon M. Labuhn served as Executive Director of non-profit associations for twenty-one years, and Chief Executive Officer of for-profit organizations for five years, and three years in state government services. He has written twelve theatre vignettes, produced a nationally promoted movie, authored two novels, one memoir, and one business book on planning effective meetings. He has been a first and second place winner of national writing competition.
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