Excerpt from short story: Horror, dark fiction

Desert’s Heart  

 He left the dash stub showing he’d paid the parking fee. He put on his boots and his jacket and pulled out clothes to stash the water in his pack. Put a notebook and pen in an outer pocket. Shouldered his gear and headed out into the desert. His camera thudded against his solar plexus.

The shots he came back to were inside him, a flight of bats across the East Ridge trail at twilight in Armstrong Woods. His first cave exploration with stalactites and stalagmites jutting up and hanging down like dinosaur teeth.  In third grade, watching clouds drift below him in the Grand Canyon.  His first glimpse of the Great Divide. Exploring cliff dwellings of the Anasazi. The raw cloudy opal his grandmother gave him on a rare trip that was just the two of them, hiking in Big Basin north of Santa Cruz. Body surfing there by himself in his teens, towed under, the ocean slammed him so hard onto packed sand he saw stars.

Now a pathless trek into the desert. It’s what a man does, when there’s nothing else to do, right? What a man does when he wakes up with his mother sucking his blood out of his neck like one of those South American vampire bats that prey on cattle.


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