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The Earth Provides by Travis Oltmann

January 4, 2014 Action/Adventure 3 Comments
The Earth Provides by Travis Oltmann

The Earth Provides
by Travis Oltmann

1.
Nyiragongo looms in the distance. There are beggars that look like scrap metal, children with yawning machete scars across their faces, and women that walk around sterilized and lifeless.

All while Nyiragongo chortles and coughs and spits out vaporous clouds of smoke.

Kevin stands on his balcony and examines the leftover damage from the last time it got agitated. Veins of charcoal stained ruts are apparent in the countryside. Bonte traces a path in the air with his finger. “When it erupted in two thousand two, the lava flow through the city and buildings disappear. Smoke was everywhere. We were running and running, people were screaming and falling because they choke. It causes a lot of damage, my uncle had a shop and it burn to the ground. He lost everything in less than one day,” he tells Kevin.

“How come you didn’t leave?” Kevin asks.

“This is my home. I never leave. I did not leave when CNDP fought the army in the streets and I will not leave when it happen again.” Bonte leaves some air in his lungs so his chest puffs out slightly.

“Well, let’s hope it doesn’t.”

“It will, it always does. The only people who can stop it make too much money from it.”

“They’re saying Achibe is going to make a move soon.”

“Yes, I hear the same things.”

“Do you think he can do it?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. He will need a lot of guns. The Army has the UN and they help with helicopters and troops.”

Kevin nods and thinks for a moment. “Can we move the meeting with Osei to tomorrow? With him knocking at the gates I should probably speed this trip up.”

“I will check and see. I will call you in the morning.”

Bonte exits the room and the door shudders when it closes. Kevin locks it and pulls a satellite phone from his bag. Day fades as the sun eases itself into Lake Kivu. The remaining shreds of light creep through the windows and broken shutters, coating the back wall in streaks of apricot and umbra. Kevin squints as he dials. *** Read on! ***

Guarding the Henhouse by Mike Manolakes

Guarding the Henhouse by Mike Manolakes

Guarding the Henhouse
by Mike Manolakes

I was having a most wonderful dream when I was awakened by what must rank as the most chilling combination of words in the English language.

“Get up! I think my husband’s home!”

So great was my disbelief that she had to repeat the words again. On the second iteration, cold realization struck home, and immediately I bolted from the lady’s comfortable bed and began gathering my discarded clothes.

“No time!” she said. “Quick, in there!” She pointed toward the large wardrobe that stood in the corner of her bedchamber.

“I thought he was in Baltimore?”

“He was! Quickly! He’ll kill you if he finds you here!”

I could tell, from the urgency in Hattie’s voice, that she was not exaggerating the seriousness of the situation in the least. Trousers and boots in hand, I fairly dove into the depths of her wardrobe and shut the doors behind me. I decided that my life just may depend on how silent and motionless I could be in the next few minutes, for almost at once I heard the heavy tread of a man’s footsteps entering the room. *** Read on! ***

Bro by Matt Hoffman

Bro by Matt Hoffman

Bro
By Matt Hoffman

Will knew she was getting tired of him, as they usually did—tired of the repetitive, unimaginative movement of his jeans against hers, barely keeping in time with the rap beat bouncing off of the basement’s brick walls; tired of the way his hands hung limply on the front of her hips. She had accepted his invitation to dance with a shrug, and as far as he could tell, her interest hadn’t increased. He wasn’t surprised when, as the beat faded away to a second of interstitial crowd noise, she released herself from his grasp, turned, and said that she was going to go use the bathroom.

“Okay,” Will said.

The relative silence was broken by a new beat, distorted bass and snare over barely audible synths. She squeezed her way through the crowd of dancing couples, heading in the direction of the stairs, away from him. Will watched her go for a second, looked around at nothing in particular, and started making his way over to the bar, apologizing as he pushed dancers up against their partners in an attempt to clear a path.

Will waited behind a cluster of people until the bartender, a muscled guy in a frat T-shirt, handed him a half-empty red cup and turned away to the next customers. Some of Will’s beer sloshed onto his sleeves as he made his way to the wall, where he had a little space to stand.

Will sipped his beer and looked around. A few colored lights flashed intermittently over the makeshift dance floor, turning the dancers’ skin and clothes red, blue, yellow. A few strobe lights were blinking, indistinguishable from the occasional flash of a digital camera. At the far side of the room, it looked like some stragglers were still being let in, two or three at a time. Were Will’s floormates around? He scanned the crowd and spotted Ed from the quad, who was standing on the calmer side of the room talking with a short
girl in a red blouse. Will decided not to bother him.

Will sighed, leaned back against the rough brick, and decided he might as well wait around for—had she told him her name? Whoever. Bathroom girl. There was a chance she might actually return. Will glanced over at the dance floor to see if she had found a new partner yet.

That was when Will saw him: The guy was moderately tall, dressed in crisp off-white khakis and a neon orange polo, the collar popped to his jaw, aviator glasses gleaming beneath his brow. He was grinding authoritatively with a pretty girl who had a tight pink T-shirt, a denim skirt, and long, dark hair. Her eyes remained shut as she danced, her face set serenely into an expression of entranced satisfaction. The guy held a red cup in one hand and bore the hint of an apathetic half-smile.

But he was Will. ** Read On! **

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