Wanderer of the Wastes

A young man, a drifter, eats alone in an alley. He huddles beside an exhaust vent to warm himself, his jeans mud splashed, caked in grime. The shoppers go out of their way to avoid him, shunning away from the struggle in their midst. Steps quicken when eyes glance, the million miles on his shoulders, the scars etched on his…

A Dragon’s Epilogue

Two human boys saved me once. Young and foolish at the time, I swam one too many days. I fainted and washed ashore in my weakened human form. The boys rescued me and cared for me until I regained my strength. I smiled at the remembrance of the two boys’ reactions when they first discovered I wasn’t human, but a…

Champion Fancy Dancer

The 1991 Chevrolet truck coughed as it pulled into the parking space. The truck had been through many miles, as many as Joseph could remember. At one time, it was his grandfather’s truck, one in which he and Joseph traveled to many powwows. As he got out of the truck, he heard voices in the distance calling his name. He…

Goodbye Missouri

My hands shook and tears affixed like icicles on my face as I stuffed a large canvas bag with jeans, shirts, underwear, books, and just necessities. There wasn’t time to grab everything. I was an unwelcome guest in this house. My psychologist mother, younger sister, and step-siblings lived there—a big cabin-style home my stepfather, the white erudite, bought around the…

John Broken Rib

“Duoclen! Duoclen!,”  he screams, then…BLAHNG!!! The Vietnamese soldier fires his gun into the bamboo cage. John Broken Rib sits up and opens his eyes, light copper pennies worn with age. A moist rhythm of sweat moves across his back, chest, and brow; furrowing raindrops seek the ground.  He almost wishes he didn’t fall asleep, because when he does, he’s nineteen…

Desert Life

I sat by the huge bay windows that were facing east in my pink pow-wow chair. It was just my size, and nobody could use it except me because nobody was as tiny as me. I could see the last of the sunrays light up the tops of the buttes, changing them from a dull brown to a deep rustic…

Today, Caribou

Brush rang against brush as a female caribou bounded past him. She dipped her haunches to the right as an arrow zipped past and burrowed into a tree. The caribou glanced behind her shoulder to size up her predator, a young boy. The chase amused the caribou so she toyed with the boy, never letting him get close. The boy…

Daughter

Samantha drew her hair up in a ponytail, her thick, dark tresses tangled from the day. She allowed her fingers to run through her locks, prying knots and tucking fly-aways. She leaned in closer to the mirror, ignoring the etched names and scratched-in curses. Blood-shot eyes blinked back, deep brown eyes staring framed by black mascara. Her fair skin gave…

Happy, Hopeful

One last swallow of dry gin, and I’m trying to ignore the layer of residue at the bottom of my glass. I don’t usually drink, but on a day like today, when I have to suffer the antics and superstitions of so many idiotic characters, I have to make an exception. I cringe, either from the grime in my glass…

Journey of a Dime Store Rose

A half-dead, hollow man walks home from tribal jail. With malt liquor cans in his pockets, he has spent the last three months of lease checks on alcohol. Like an Indian scarecrow, he sways. His traditional, Lakota hair braids are always oiled; the one part of himself well-kept and proud. Last of the few native Lakota speakers, he knows songs…