For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Need”

Frank Bill


Lungs burned and leaves crumbled beneath each step. Wayne's eyes adjusted to the night with the 30-30 strapped across his back, dodging standing trees. Jumping over the fallen trees. He heard sirens, dropped down behind a rotted tree trunk. Watched the red-orange wail of an ambulance and the blue-red screams of two cruisers following behind it, their lights strobing along the trees up Wyandotte Road.

Wayne's heart beat like a mule kicked, hard. He sat catching his breath, remembering the rapping of bone on his camper's door. Opening it to Brady, who stood out in Wayne's father's hay field, a can of Milwaukee's Best dripping cold in his hand. Wanted to go spotlighting, poach a few deer.

Wayne told him, “Sure.”

Brady asked, “Could yuh bring that 30-30? All I got packed is a .22.”