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July 17, 2018 by The Citron Review

by Tommy Dean

No one knew how the back windshield got cracked, but she loved the way the dying sunlight filtered through the spiderwebbed cracks. If she tilted her head just right, she could see the full prism of Earth, feel the shaky tug of gravity, as they spun through time and space, the truck rocketing over dirt roads leaving behind the fields of fragile corn stalks.

This was their third new town this month as they raced ahead of the swirling dust that chased them through tornado alley. When they made it to the Mississippi, that great snake of water, she thought they’d found the edge of the world, and that surely their migration was over.

But with dirt-stained hands in her lap, she pulled at a new rip in her last skirt.  Her father drifted across the one lane road, her mother’s rhythmic gasps jarring him awake in time to jerk the wheel. They drove through the night toward a new destination without the promise of work or food.

When they parked in the Methodist Church parking lot somewhere south of Chicago, she thought maybe tonight they would find a bed with fresh sheets to sleep in. Instead, her mother shushed her, taking out the family Bible, reading about the multitude of God’s covenants with his people in the accumulating twilight.

“There are no more promises,” her mother said.

“Mother, what did we do this time?” she asked.

Her mother took her hands, skimming the rough lye soap over her fingernails.

“We dared, child. We dared.”

Tommy Dean is the author of a flash fiction chapbook entitled Special Like the People on TV from Redbird Chapbooks. A graduate of the Queens University of Charlotte MFA program, he has been previously published in the Watershed ReviewThe MacGuffin, SplitLip Magazine, Spartan, Hawaii Pacific Review, and New Flash Fiction Review. Find him @TommyDeanWriter on Twitter.


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