Red Mohair Chair

By Jan Verhoeff Insomnia, isolation and destiny ravaged by the cross hairs of life. I stood there looking out the window wondering if I was still in the crosshairs or if I’d somehow managed to elude those who’d spent much of the days prior chasing me. The breath I took felt ragged and raw. Where was I? The city outside looked just like any other city I’d seen. I didn’t have any idea where I was. I struggled to lift myself out of the bog I’d slid into with the medicine. “Mark?” the nurse entered the room. “Oh, good! You’re … continue reading…

Hinder Mills Mystery

By Jan Verhoeff When the smell of smoke assails your senses on the prairie, high winds and weather conditions become a concern, but the worst is finding who set the fire. The culprit is usually close enough to be caught in the cross hairs if you just know where to look. On that night in July, first to respond to the acrid aroma of smoke, I realized I’d have to make sure there were no victims inside Hinder Mills, before I could take time to call for back up or support. If Mr. Beaver was inside, I’d only have a … continue reading…

Chief Angry Bull in the Bathroom

By Stan Grant Today I’m going to share a (mostly) true story that I’ve entitled “Stan & The Angry Bull In The Bathroom”. Read on, I’m sure you will find this entertaining. There was a time in my life when I was between real jobs. So rather than draw unemployment and think like a liberal, I decided to herd buffalo and work at a meatpacking plant. It was available as employment, I was bored, and it seemed like the thing to do. The work environment was entirely Hispanic, and I was the only Gringo. But hey, it was a paycheck. … continue reading…

Over the Fence

By Jude Law Had I knelt down on the other side of the fence that day, things might have turned out different than they did. I look back now and think about what might have been. Johnny was ten. It was his birthday and mamma sent me to the store. Just a mile into town, the skies were blue. I remember listening to the birds sing in the trees along the way. There weren’t many. Just the big one on Miller Road, and then a small forest in the pasture by the canal, but there were birds. Plenty of birds … continue reading…

Of the Prairie

Written a while back, this piece is in dire need of some redline edits, but I thought it worthy of sharing here – as is. By Jan Verhoeff Thunder rolled over the face of the prairie, lightning flashed, fragments dissecting a rich dark sky. The color of royalty, purple, rich, thick and overpowering smothered the light from the night. Rain drops pelted the dry earth. Buffalo grass sucking at the moisture, slurping in gratefully the benefits of water splashed from the heavens. Winds slashed across the prairie, through the valley, driving the rains sideways at the ground. A moment of … continue reading…

Watching the Grass Grow

Grass grows slowly in Breken Park, I can attest to that fact, because on January 12th, I was watching it grow – right through the snow. I wasn’t bored. There was plenty for me to do. But, there I sat on the side of Breken Park near the frozen pond with the fountain spewing in the middle watching the grass grow. Of course there was the two year old sitting nearby under a picnic table sobbing into her coat sleeve that caught my eye. But, I assure you, I wasn’t watching her. You may have figured out that I’m Neill … continue reading…

Sometime Past Midnight

By Jan Verhoeff I’d already traded my latte for hot cocoa, and my jeans for comfy sweats. The day was done, and I’d worn out my welcome there, I just wanted the new day to arrive. Sitting there by the fire, I thought I’d found a respite. But that wasn’t to be… Silence covered the flickering of the flames, the cracking of burning wood, and the chirping of crickets. I felt alone and secure in my surroundings. Never more alone than deep in a Colorado thicket, save the occasional howl of a coyote, or a snake rattling past. Hunger had … continue reading…

What if… I choose God.

By Sherry Settles Lately, although I hate it, I’ve been suffering from the “what if?s”. What if I hadn’t got cancer? What if I didn’t have these horrible continuing side effects from radiation and chemo? What if life had gone on as normal almost three years ago, and left out that chapter of our lives? What if I had not felt abandoned by some people during my illness? At about 4 this morning, I was lying in bed – tears falling because of the pain in my body and in my heart. As always, when I am awake in the … continue reading…

Dahliance

By Jan Verhoeff Lightning flashed, sizzled, and fractured the skies. Thunder rumbled, roared, and shivered the land beneath her bare feet. Rain splattered the earth, drenching her in chilling droplets that ran in rivulets down her body. She squished her toes together, holding the mud between them and cursing the land. As life drained from her body, she felt the demise of each soul that had surrounded her. Each one more promising than the last, and yet each one pulling power and life from her. They ripped at the silver chord of life, stretching it taunt, pulling at her, jeering … continue reading…

Tormented in the Night

By Jan Verhoeff Kassidy Thomas might have been a willing participant in the untimely demise of her partner, but she wasn’t willing to go down with the ship he captained. Determination was her middle name and she was out to prove herself, no matter what she had to do to accomplish the task. “Kass, I’m just not feeling a party,” his words would reverberate in her memory for as long as she lived. But she knew this moment had to end at some point. He’d chosen his demise and she couldn’t allow it to steal her away as well. She … continue reading…