Author: Jordan Taylor
Release Date: July 18, 2016
Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Category: Literary/Genre Fiction
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Word Count: 74500*
Orientation: Bi, Gay
Warning: Contains moments of graphic gore, war-related violence, and a gun-assisted suicide of an incidental character.
The Places We Say Goodbye
Jordan Taylor © 2016
All Rights Reserved
Monday, June 27
A dirt road stretched away, straight and flat, as far as I could see. I stood, then walked. Maybe I was walking all along, but didn’t feel like I had moved.
A dozen horses lay along the road. Fat, white maggots emerged from their nostrils and eye sockets, wriggling over dark fur. Abdomens bulged, grossly distended below summer sun.
A man stepped up to me. Rows of men behind. Packs on their backs and rifles in their hands. Sunlight flashing off steel helmets. This man had a mustache and never glanced at the animals along the road.
“There’s a farm ahead, sir. I’ll have the lads check for a pump.”
Then, in a gloomy building at night. Dust thick on the floor. Men talked around me. I was apart, away from them, beside only one other.
My companion tried to tell me something important. Like with the water pump man, I could not listen. He read from a notebook in his hand.
How could he ask my opinion on poetry? While maggots flopped and convulsed down sunken faces—so crowded, they forced each other out? While the young man in the corner scratched his own head until his fingers were bloody? While another sang about ghost horses as he smoked one cigarette after the next, lighting one with the butt of the last?
Still reading to me, insistent. He jabbed his finger at a page.
I wanted to shoot him. I scrambled to my feet. I said I had to write a postcard.
Then I stood in a river of mud, legs braced, shouting, “Get out of there, Attwater!”
I couldn’t see him, couldn’t feel him, and couldn’t get away myself. Scorching metal flew past my face.
“Attwater!” Panic and mud sucked me back into that dark river.
I woke with a jolt, shivering and disoriented.
The TV plays a cooking competition show. Both girls riveted.
10:00 p.m. and I sit at the kitchen table, laptop open—working. Asleep sitting up. Fresh anxiety that the girls are not in bed. Then remember: Torin asked me to bring them to the restaurant tonight.
I open my mouth to tell Isabelle and Carine they can get ready to go. Parting my lips, I see flopping maggots—bloated like slugs—almost tasting them. I must shut both mouth and eyes for several minutes.
Hands shake on my keyboard. Still nauseated when I inform them we can go.
Only a dream. Only a dream. I wonder if I am trying to reassure—or trying to convince myself.