Runner-up #2

Gritty revenge flash with an authentic narrator’s voice.


by Janet O’Kane

Four men with seven hands between us, but no one wanted to touch that sack on the barn floor. Finally, Art stuck out a boot. The sack fell toward Charlie, like it chose him. Charlie cussed then bent to pick it up.

The contents spilled out. This time we all cussed. And looked everywhere but at the thing already attracting flies.

‘That Ed?’ Art asked.

‘Hard to tell,’ Charlie said.

‘Maybe the Sheriff knows,’ Harve said.

‘Nope,’ I lied.

Then I made my move.

The building was as dry as an over-fried steak. Slowed down by Ed, I nearly didn’t get away before the blaze lit up the sky. They sure as hell shouldn’t have left my kid brother in the desert where critters could get to him.

Funny how nobody looks at a man’s empty sleeve. If they do, they wonder how they’d feel. Never what’s hidden there.

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