Cristal Brawley and Amy Souza

Cristal Brawley

Tourist Town
By Amy Souza
Inspiration piece

They haven’t solved the murder, Judy tells me. No one knows what happened but they assume the boy rode out and saw something he shouldn’t have, so the culprit shot him dead, straight through the chest with a thirty-aught-six rifle. Spared the horse.

Judy helped search. As a child, she’d learned tracking from her Native friends. Her husband of twenty-eight years recently left for a woman less than half his age and now they are expecting a baby. “What’s he going to do with a baby?” she says. Judy can’t sleep.

In the bed of a truck across the street, a dog sprawls atop a long metal tool chest and stares our way. Judy resembles the town—ragged and unwelcoming. There’d been beauty there once.

At night I dream of the boy with a hole through his heart, lying prone in a wide field, grasses swaying. Two turkey vultures circle above, land a few feet from the body, poised. I want to shoo them away, but I’m just a figment so the boy lies alone while the scavengers wait.



(Story first published in Unchaste Anthology, Volume 3.)

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