Trial of Futility

Elaine Luo being

He is too late. The smell of the spell's components linger a moment, cordite and cinnamon, then even that vanishes, leaving behind only the inevitable and the only option left, prayer. His mouth already moves ignoring intellectual objection. Stupidly, he seeks help from up high. A god, demon, something just slightly better would be fine. …

Tam’s Soul

In this life, Tam Duc is eighty-five years old, weighs thirty-eight kilograms and travels from the Northern island of Cát Bà, to Năm Căn on the one leg remaining after meeting a French landmine 72 years ago. It is a journey of 2000 kilometers. Năm Căn is nothing more than the Southernmost tip of Vietnam. …

Enraptured

The air smells like incense. Maybe patchouli. Maybe something more narcotic, sinister, it could be poison and Steve wouldn't care. He sits and watches the most beautiful woman he has ever seen in his life dance alone in the middle of a bare stage. She glides as if every muscle in her body were made …

Dive Bar

The place is on the water. It has little umbrellas that have frayed in the wind. The fresh salty air from the gulf can't penetrate the smells of stale beer and greasy food that surround the plywood structure like a fugue. Gulls circle looking for morsels of food. With protesting squawks they fly off when …

Hitched

The desert air smells like burnt tire rubber and dried mouse turds. From a hundred feet away Harold can hear the whoosh of cars on 15 heading either to Vegas or Los Angeles. The heat hasn’t dissipated by the lack of sun. It's just dark now and he still feels wrapped in a hot oven. …