The explosion shook Isa’s house, a rough, rattling shake, unlike the sensuous belly-dancer’s shimmy brought on by the earthquakes. Those had come more frequently that year, like the chiming of an erratic and energetic clock. But this shaking was different—violent, jarring. When the dishes stopped clattering on their shelves, Isa stepped out onto the back porch and looked out over the fields of sun-scorched wheat. She had lived her whole life in this white frame house, had run down the rows of her father’s fields, listened to the meadowlark sing from its perch on a weathered fence post. Back then, she could look out any window of the house and see a clean, sharp horizon line in every direction. Somewhere, off to the west, beyond the bend of the earth there were mountains, but here there was nothing but brown earth and bleached-blue sky. Now, however, on the edge of the eastern horizon, shrouding the mechanical heads of pumpjacks bowing up and down, a band of dust hung, a permanent haze from the big trucks running over the dirt road day and night. It made for beautiful sunrises—all tangerine and magenta—but now, at midday, it was just a dirty smudge on the hem of the sky.
So begins my short story "The Quilt," which appears in the journal Willows Wept Review this month. It's about fracking, climate change, and the enduring nature of love. There's also a smidge of magical realism and ancient mythological influence (bonus points if you can ascertain what mythological story it's inspired by). You can read it online or order a hard copy here. Let me know what you think!