Tag Archives: flash fiction

Well of Souls is in the Scarlet Leaf Review

Editors of the Scarlet Leaf Review, a Canadian publication, graciously included my short story Well of Souls in their July issue. This one is a favorite of mine, though I’m still trying to puzzle out what it means!  Here is the link:  http://www.scarletleafreview.com/short-stories1/category/robert-walton

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Flashmob June 22nd

smoo-cave-21359946In celebration of flash fiction day, here’s my latest story:

Well of Souls

Her naked shoulder turned sideways as she slid between two green boulders and disappeared like smoke in darkness.

Earlier, hot dust tingled in my nose like freshly cut spice.

Earlier yet, dawn grew among declining stars.  Abbas spoke beside me as we turned our horses onto a blank slate of deep desert sands.  “You will see today the great treasure of our people.”

I rubbed my sleep-burdened eyes.  “It’s worth arising so early?”

Maryam murmured from my other side, “It is.”

Abbas continued, “Water flows from this well even in driest years, years like this one.”

Maryam nodded.  “It is said that the women of the well sometimes wander far.”

“Women of the well?” I asked.

“Bah!” snorted Abbas, “An old wives’ tale!”

Maryam shook her head.  “No, Abbas, it is their tears, tears of both joy and sorrow, which make the rains return.  When their journeys end so will the drought.”

Abbas raised his eyes to disappearing stars.  “Bah!”

Dust billowed yellow as cardamom from beneath the horses’ hooves as we hobbled them in the shade of two sandstone slabs leaning together.  Maryam scampered ahead of us into a slit in the hillside.  I followed Abbas into the slit.

Coolness enfolded me like a mother’s hands. I saw pools stair-stepped away from me into a cavern’s depths. Waters trickled from one to another like words meandering from grandmothers’ lips.

Maryam’s voice chimed like distant bells, “This way!”

Abbas shouted, “Wait for us!”

She looked back, her eyes teasing like starlight on midnight pools.

“Wait, Maryam!”

She cast off her robe and ran.

Abbas called once more, “Wait!”

Her naked shoulder turned sideways as she slid between two green boulders and disappeared like smoke in darkness.

I never saw Maryam again.

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