The Reason I Haven’t Heard

Author: Janet Shell Anderson

The reason I haven’t heard from my brother Jonathan is he’s dead.

I made a mistake.

It’s foggy, one of those autumn fogs that grow out of the Potomac and everything seems strange; our empty streets feel like someone’s there, but you can’t see them. I went downtown, wondering if maybe, over by Lafayette Square, I could get food from a crazy woman who says things she shouldn’t. She has apples, and I began to crave them, so I walked in the fog, smelling the river again after so long, feeling half safe, down from Rock Creek Park, thinking about how Jonathan and David, my brothers, have been gone too long. A lot of people are gone, except for military and some assassins on K Street. People disappear. But I felt half safe down near the river again and the Mall, like the old days. Kidding myself.

Now I’m back in the forest, north of the Zoo, and the fog’s deeper, no shadows anywhere, freezing. It’s like a wall. I’m in a place among fallen trees, invisible among big tulip tree trunks, holly bushes twenty feet high, kind of a nest, maybe a deer nest, if they make nests. A sanctuary. I have a nine millimeter, I’d starve if I didn’t, but even in this dense forest, the thousand beech trees, the sweetbriar, the holly, the blur of fog, I’m afraid.

I can’t stop shaking.

I went to Sixteen Hundred, and the crazy lady was there all right. Her head was on a spike on the black wrought iron fence around the WH. One of the old crazies who’s always out there shouting stuff about the Constitution was just screaming, looking at her. Her head looked shrunken, dark. And three spikes down, there was Jonathan. Even with his face black and his tongue out, I knew it was him.

I hear a fox yip down by the creek, but I can’t see it in this fog. Hunting maybe, something hidden.

5 Comments

  1. Bill Tiwald

    “Now I’m back in the forest, north of the Zoo, and the fog’s deeper, no shadows anywhere, freezing. It’s like a wall. I’m in a place among fallen trees, invisible among big tulip tree trunks, holly bushes twenty feet high, kind of a nest, maybe a deer nest, if they make nests. A sanctuary. I have a nine millimeter, I’d starve if I didn’t, but even in this dense forest, the thousand beech trees, the sweetbriar, the holly, the blur of fog, I’m afraid.”

    This evoked the feeling that I was actually there.

  2. xdhz8

    A story told with mood, atmosphere, and description. Very well done.

  3. SimonJM

    That’s a wealth of unstated background to get to that state. Very nicely done. I do wonder what the mistake they made was. 🙂 Had to think what WH was, but got there in the end!

Submit a Comment

Random Story :

  • A.I.

    Author : Duncan Shields , Featured Writer Artificial Intelligence. We …

The Past

365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.

The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.

Flash Fiction

"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."

Kathy Kachelries
Founding Member

Submissions

We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.

Voices of Tomorrow

Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.

If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact ssmith@365tomorrows.com