Shanti wound her window down and inhaled the fumes. She loved these late-night gas station runs with Appa. It was their time together. No Amma worrying over money, or which Aunty had insulted her this week. No Anna, pretending to be older than his years, trying to impress Appa by discussing politics like a good son, or whether the stock market was a pig or a cow; some animal Shanti couldn’t remember. It was just her and Appa, an exclusive event.
Prompted by their tryst eternal, Sea sends wave on crashing wave,
Churning, frothing, roiling Ocean, spits her foaming peaks so bright.
Sand awaits impatiently, holding to his word and promise.
Karti scrubbed with grim determination. It was tougher than she’d thought to get blood out of carpet, and she was sure someone in the building had already called the cops. Even with Marron doped up on tranqs, she’d had a hell of a time muffling his screams. Someone must have heard.
Kevin read the sign above the door again.
Madame Veronica: Clairvoyant and Psychic Healer.
It had been a year since the accident. His memory of that night was still sketchy. They’d been at the Andersons’ for dinner. Lars had been overgenerous with the wine, as usual. He’d argued with Gillian over who should drive home. Gillian had driven. No, he had. There was a deer. A tree. The hospital.
Crimson splatters line the walls, crime scene tape girds the door. Shattered glass, a single lily, and pristine white shagpile carpet grace the floors.
He lifts the needle, abruptly silencing the Shostakovitch piano concerto.
Tipping back his trilby, he scratches his head. Who still uses a record player?
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“Charlatan! Mountebank! Rogue!” Angry arrows of spittle punctuated each word. Like some fearsome avenging Statue of Liberty, the woman waved her bag held aloft at the roadside fortune teller.
Saudamini squinted at the cloudless sky, trying to divine its hidden messages.
“Bring in the clothes, Amini!” she called to her daughter-in-law.
“Why, Amma? The sun’s shining!” Amini’s voice floated thinly from the small, bare kitchen at the far end of the house.
“Rain is coming.” Saudamini rubbed at her aching knees.
The fire hissed and fizzled as the moisture in the kindling bubbled into vapour and the twigs caught alight.
Ramesh hadn’t expected to be making camp in the jungle’s damp undergrowth overnight. But then, he hadn’t expected his shot to knick the flank of the deer instead of felling it where it stood.