For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Love and Hydrogen”

Jim Shepard

Excerpt

They’re diverted north to avoid a front of thunderstorms. All morning, they drift over New England, gradually working their way back to Long Island Sound.

At lunch Captain Pruss appears in the doorway for a moment, and then is gone. They bus tables. The passengers all abandon their seats to look out on New York City. From the exclamations they make, it’s apparently some sight. Steam whistles sound from boats on the Hudson and East Rivers. Someone at the window points out the Bremen just before it bellows a greeting. The Hindenburg’s passengers wave back with a kind of patriotic madness.

The tables cleared, the waiters drift back to the windows. Gnüss puts an arm around Meinert’s shoulders, despair making him courageous. Through patchy cloud they can see shoal water, or tide-rips, beneath them.

Pelicans flock in their wake. What looks like a whale race to keep pace with their shadow.

In New Jersey they circle over miles of stunted pines and bogs, their shadow running along the ground like a big fish on the surface.