Spoiled

Spoiled

February 09, 2021

 

 

As the sun soars, heat blots out birdsong, the scratchy call of insects, and soon there’s nothing but the tramp of our boots across the parched earth. Ahead, a stand of trees, dark fruit hanging from bare branches.

We’re almost in their shadow when we look up: not fruit but bats, wings gently flapping to fan away the heat. But this heat—there’s no escaping it. We lean against tree trunks and sip tepid water. Soon, a soft thud. Another. In the dirt around us bats lie splayed, broken things with pink mouths that gasp and gasp, then go still.



Gerri Brightwell
 is a British writer who lives in Alaska with her husband, fantasy writer Ian C. Esslemont, and their three sons. She is the author of the novels
 Dead of Winter (Salt, 2016), The Dark Lantern (Crown, 2008), and Cold Country (Duckworth, 2003). Her short work has appeared in many venues including The Best American Mystery Stories 2017, Alaska Quarterly Review, Southwest Review, Copper Nickel, Redivider, and BBC Radio 4's Opening Lines. She teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and has been spending the pandemic learning to bake better bread.




Photo by 
Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash


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