Mel Bosworth reads “The Mountain Road,” by Cynthia Reeser.
The Mountain Road
By Cynthia Reeser
The sign said 12 miles out from the middle of the mountain road, and the car ducked under dust and swerved. The baby cried in the backseat and the crumbling leather stuck to my sweaty legs and my skirt was bunched up and the air conditioner buzzed on its last leg like a fly in dry heat. The sign said Road Closed Ahead, and the tires rimmed the edge and clumped through potholes and there was no guardrail. The air in the car was stale and the baby whined for milk for miles. We stopped at the yawning maw of the cave, a hungry mouth that hoarded us after we abandoned the car where the road kicked the bucket and dropped off into the undertow and plummet of dust devils.
The last drop of water was drizzled over the baby’s tongue and the pack of hyenas picked up on our scent. We heard the crunching of a surfeit of brush on the craggy face and the sounds of closing in. The grip of screech and snort and yowl that followed could only mean the creatures had met with some warthogs. The pack fought the sounder and neither group won. They fought to the death by the pitch of their cries and one by one, the snorting fell off, along with the yips, and eventually, as we waited, frozen within, only one creature was left. You ripped your chest barren of its white flag of surrender and waved it, perspicacious, to the wind.
Cynthia Reeser is a writer, artist, and the editor-in-chief of Prick of the Spindle. Her poetry chapbook, Light and Trials of Light, is available from Finishing Line Press. Her nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and reviews appear in numerous publications in print and online. Visit Cynthia HERE and HERE.
John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.