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Ruby in the Dust by Brian George

Ruby in the Dust by Brian George

Fiction, Vol. 2.4, Dec. 2008

Telegraph lines hang above the farm house. Empty, roof caved in, insects holding court, establishing kingdoms of wings and larvae where once we dreamed of a republic.

I walk away, watch a buzzard circling, bored, above the valley. There’s a little stash of bones, scoured white, behind the place where we once planted vegetables. Where flowers grew, before the freeze. Red, yellow, blue, sprouting from the corners of the fields, even in those places we never planted. Once you swore there were black flowers, tall black flowers, snaking towards the purple sky. I laughed at you, then. Now the weeds pull at me, throw up a barbed wire fence to trap me, to prick holes in my pale legs, wasted.

Ruby, I called you. Some of the time. We liked changing names, casting off each day’s identity with the new seeping of morning light. But Ruby was the one we liked best, the one we kept circling back to.

Nero came, striding king-like through our little republic. You loved him. I stood in shadow worlds and watched you thrive, glowing precious and alive in the blue morning. He took you in his hands, polishing you till you sparkled and glinted. I read pictures, stories in your eyes, caught the fine dust from your words, your breath.

The faultline, he’d said. We must learn to find the faultline, and then mine it without fear. No need to be afraid of the explosion. Explosions are good. We’ll destroy in order to create.

And oh boy, did we find that faultline. And how we mined it, once located.

Nero marched on to other realms once our republic was turned to rubble.

Now I scratch around in a poor little waste land. Searching the dust for my red ruby.

A Self-Delusive Fiction of Existence by Bartholomew D. Gibbons

Boots in the Street by Brian George

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