22. The Oldest Scars

Inglorion sits there, watching his son’s face. He feels weak from hunger, but choked with nausea. He’s sticky with sweat and dirt, but too tired to walk back and take a shower. His eyes burn with tears, but he cannot cry. Lucius’s face is sweet in repose. If they were gray elves, no one would […]

21. The Gods Can Show You Whatever They Want

Lucius hears about a rash of attacks near the railroad crossings, and he cannot stop talking about them. It bothers him when Inglorion insists that Brutus is an adult, an army veteran, and probably more prepared to defend himself and his property than they are. Clearly he expects Inglorion to check on Brutus, and won’t […]

17. Isolation Suits Me

Inglorion watches as Tereus mixes the second batch of sangria with the deft touch and manifest enjoyment of a musician improvising. He whisks in the honey, tastes it, cocking his head thoughtfully, then gives a brisk nod. He pours in the final half-bottle of seltzer water. Just as he’s about to refill their glasses, he […]

16. A Bit Well to Live

They both take a sip. Inglorion doesn’t know what to expect, so he’s surprised at the subtle layering of flavor: Salted lemon, tart mango, the wild honey and its comb, piercingly sweet. Then there’s the wine itself, which is dark, smoky, redolent of licorice and cherries. “That’s very good,” he says cautiously. They sit there […]

14. Delighted with His Useless Gift

Lucius trots off, probably figuring its not the stupidest thing he’s been asked to do that evening. Inglorion perches on a nearby retaining wall. It’s a pleasant evening, and in a very few minutes he hears Lucius’s happy chatter, and Brutus’s soft replies. They come into view. Brutus is pulling a small, hand-drawn wagon. Inglorion […]

13. Who’s a Motherfucking Rock Star?

“Hey, buddy,” Inglorion mutters to the bird. It’s dusty up there, but not filthy — the pigeons must think it’s a real owl. After a moment, he examines statue’s base, and sees that it’s held in place by four bolts and nuts. They’re coated with rust, of course. He has a saw and chisel, but […]

12. Thirty Feet of Drop

Inglorion frowns, peers around the side of the building at his projected route. Now that he’s looking at the particulars, he realizes it won’t be a walk in the park. The fall from the first-floor ledge, which he’ll free-climb, is 10 feet. If he should happen to slip while rigging the drainpipe, he could fall […]

8. Policing the Neighborhood

Brutus has been breaking into the same tobacco warehouse for years, now that looters have stripped the pharmacies and convenience stores. It’s perched on a narrow strip of Native American land, along with a defunct casino: a two-story building painted to resemble a barn, but with a drive-through window. The choices have dwindled. Brutus eyes […]