The college boy from the local bookstore chases me through an abandoned warehouse. I’m twelve years old. His crooning echoes rebound off metal and concrete, filling the hollow spaces.
Written by Ashley McCurry
Assemblage Art by Ingrid M. Calderón Collins, Featured Artist for Mum’s Garage II
Warehouse Dream II
The college boy from the local bookstore chases me through an abandoned warehouse. I’m twelve years old. His crooning echoes rebound off metal and concrete, filling the hollow spaces. I only wanna talk. You can trust me.
The dream changes during graduate school, and my professor lurks in the campus woods with a contingent research opportunity. The tacit terms and conditions form a thick ball of wax in my esophagus. I find places to hide, to gather my strength—an empty greenhouse or sheltering oak tree. The wax begins to melt, dripping steadily into in the chasm of my stomach. It churns and ferments as I defend my thesis, as I walk across the stage to collect my diploma.
I’m approaching thirty. A white-coated physician trails four steps behind me, carrying a blood-coated speculum. My soiled feet slap sterile tiles as I run through hospital corridors in a utilitarian paper gown. He assures me the pain is all in my head. I feel his booze-soaked breath on the back of my neck. I can no longer outrun him.
I decide to face my pursuer. We lock eyes across a dusty drag within a huddle of jeering spectators, our sunbaked hands hovering above rusty pistols in worn leather holsters. I taste salt in the chapped corners of my mouth, flinch at the cracking slam of a saloon door. His hand draws closer to the cold metal resting at his hip. I question this runner, this man who once called me his daughter. “Was it you all along?” I ask. His lips contort into a rictus, teeth glistening like damp tombstones in ancient, sunken earth.
About The Author
Ashley is a chronically anxious Xennial who writes flash fiction and reads for lit mags. She currently lives on a mountain with her best-friend-turned-spouse and four rescue dogs, in a home full of 80s music, horror movies, and vintage arcades. You can find her work in FlashFlood Journal, Switch Microfiction, Surely Magazine, Sky Island Journal, and others. She’s probably drinking iced coffee and thinking about Halloween right now.
About the Artist
Ingrid M. Calderón Collins is a poet and tarot reader. She is the author of twenty-seven poetry books. She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, painter John Collins.