Aphelion Issue 291, Volume 28
February 2024
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Hill Country Romance

by Thomas D Reynolds

The would-be suitor stood
On the front steps
Rubbing the bruise
Already blooming
At the base of his neck.

He said nothing,
Stared up into willow branches
That scratched on the window
Of the upstairs room.

The blind was down,
The faint glow
Of a nearly spent candle
Able to cast but a thin shadow
Of the form pacing back and forth
Before the open window,

Before in another
Choked spasmodic rage
She descended the stairs,
Her shoes muffled
As if underwater.

He imagined the tendrils
Of her hair swirling
In the air about her face,
Her eyes still and pleading
Beneath waves murky with life,
Crawling, jelly-like lifeforms
Schooling about whatever
He had grown to love
Within her eyes.

“Someday she will be mine,
but not tonight,” he said
as he listened for her footsteps
that had now ceased,
her rapid breathing
just beyond the door,
pale hands gripping
a second stone.

© 2009 Thomas D Reynolds

Thomas Reynolds teaches at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including Combat, American Western Magazine, Flint Hills Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, New Delta Review, The Green Tricycle, Ariga, 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, Sidereality,and Prairie Poetry. My poem "How to Survive on a Distant Planet," published in Strange Horizons, was nominated for a Rhysling award for best short poem.

Find more by Thomas D Reynolds in the Author Index.

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