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Dark Fantasy

by John Argo


title by John ArgoThe skid marks were on roads all over America, maybe the world, but when Mick's brother decided they would jump bail, skip the rent, and cruise out of town at two in the morning, the marks were on the roads but not on Mick's mind. As they loaded the car under a moonless sky, he was more concerned that a police cruiser might suddenly rush to a stop. Strangely though, the neighborhood dogs weren't even barking. An otherworldly silence filled the air as the trio made stealthy trips back and forth to the car, packing up all their possessions.

Mick had first seen the house a year and a half ago.

It was on Cartwright at Bolton, a T-intersection defined by a pair of tarry wooden masts weighted down with armored cabling and scarred by generations of linemen's heel picks. When Mick first arrived at Cartwright & Bolton, his art and architecture training popped into gear. He recognized immediately that breed of American home, common as house cats and just as distantly lovable. With slight variations in trim, the houses were all old, slathered with eons of paint until the edges were softened. No. 14 Cartwright had a particularly industrial coating of battleship gray, layered on by a tipsy handyman in surplus Navy paint. Mick stood with his easel and suitcase on the archipelago of humped soil. Wind ruffled his hair and the unkempt grass and the surrounding lake of muddy puddle water. Mick wanted to turn away when he heard his older brother's harsh voice yelling at maybe a dog; or was it his wife Mary.

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Copyright © 2018 by Jean-Thomas Cullen, Clocktower Books. All Rights Reserved.