That Winter by Shannon Yarbrough

October 20, 2011 Comments Off on That Winter by Shannon Yarbrough

It was snowing that night, and the moonlight glistened on the white blanket that fell across the farm. Johnny and his grandmother were in the living room watching Dick Van Dyke on the small black and white Sony while keeping warm under a homemade patch quilt by the crackling fire. Grandpapa sat at the kitchen table reading the Farmer’s Almanac.

During a commercial break, Johnny got up and crept over to the large living room window. His footed pajamas whispered across the hardwood floor. Though the curtains were drawn, he slipped behind their folds to take a peek out at the snow. Thoughts of no school in the morning, snowmen, and snowball fights filled his young head and made a smile grow across his innocent face.

Johnny leaned forward across the windowsill, cupping his hands on each side of his eyes to block the glare from the fire so he could get a clearer look at the falling snow. The window was cold against his hands and wet with condensation, but it felt nice against his warm face. His breath fogged the window.

Through his small binocular-like view, Johnny could see the barren trees standing still across the field. Their skeletal limbs grew white with dust. The old barn’s roof sparkled with winter diamonds. The air was full of paper confetti, filling the yard with a cold and wet fantastical play land which Johnny couldn’t wait to conquer in the morning.

Johnny pulled his face away from the window just for a second to get a wider view and to wipe the glass clear. When he leaned against the window again, the view from inside his hands went black. He waited a beat for the outdoors to come back into sight, considering things might have gone dark from a heavy cloud covering the moon. That’s when he noticed something was blocking his view.

He slowly lowered his hands and pulled back from the window to find a dark cloaked shadow standing on the other side of the window pane directly in front of him. Its shadowy hands were against the window, mimicking Johnny’s actions on the inside. It slowly lowered its hands just like Johnny.

Johnny stood silent in fear, still unsure if what he was seeing was real. Maybe it was just a shadow. It had to be more because he could not see through it. That’s when two yellow eyes popped opened, looked through the window at him. Johnny blinked, still not believing what he saw. The yellow eyes blinked too.

That’s when Johnny screamed.

© 2011, Shannon Yarbrough

Shannon L. Yarbrough is a writer, painter, photographer, and poet living in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is the author of three novels, and he believes in ghosts.  He’s an amateur gardener, novice wine drinker, book reader, movie lover, music listener, and a pretty good cook.  Find him online at www.shannonyarbrough.com.

The Town Gossip by Shannon Yarbrough

September 22, 2011 Comments Off on The Town Gossip by Shannon Yarbrough

Penelope Winters died last night. The train got her.

At least that’s what Bubba Jenkins said. Bubba tends bar at Beedie’s Tavern on the weekends. Bubba is missing four of his fingers, and about three times as many teeth. He says Penelope stumbled out of the bar after four longnecks and a shot or two of whiskey.

“Must have passed out on the tracks while walking home.”

But that’s not what Laurel Tutwiler said.

Laurel knows Penelope don’t shoot whiskey. She prefers them fruity drinks with pieces of fruit and brightly colored liquor mixed in. And last night Penelope was shooting peach schnapps. He bought her a round or two before escorting her back to his room at the Motel 6 across the street by DoLittle’s Truck Stop. It only took ten minutes, and he don’t know where she went after that.

“Maybe she tripped and fell on the tracks and hit her head.”

But that’s not what Dulsey Clark saw.

Dulsey only has one boob, but that don’t keep her from flirting with the men who frequent Beedie’s. They buy her drinks and give her cigarettes in exchange for copping a feel in the toilet. Dulsey had left the bar late that night with Raynard Dickins. Raynard had won seventy-five bucks on a scratchers and cashed it in for a room at the Motel 6 and a bottle of Mogen David.

“I ain’t one to talk, but that whore left the bar with Bubba and Laurel last night after Bubba locked up. Did you know Laurel only has one nut? Don’t matter. That bitch had it coming to her.”

Penelope Winters died last night. The train got her.

At least that’s what they say.

© 2011 Shannon Yarbrough

Shannon L. Yarbrough is a writer, painter, photographer, and poet living in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is the author of three novels, and he believes in ghosts.  He’s an amateur gardener, novice wine drinker, book reader, movie lover, music listener, and a pretty good cook.  Find him online at www.shannonyarbrough.com.

Good Character By Shannon Yarbrough

July 28, 2011 Comments Off on Good Character By Shannon Yarbrough

We met in a bookstore near the bestseller table. He had chocolate brown eyes and hair as black as ink. His body was lean but he was broad in the shoulders. He had a flat stomach beneath his tight white tank top. Arms, legs, and muscles bulged in all the right places. His skin was as smooth and creamy as cocoa. I hadn’t picked up anyone in a bookstore, but all of this from him and just the first page! I never judge a book by its cover, but this book had sex written all over it.

© 2011 Shannon Yarbrough

Shannon L. Yarbrough is a writer, painter, photographer, and poet living in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is the author of three novels, and he believes in ghosts.  He’s an amateur gardener, novice wine drinker, book reader, movie lover, music listener, and a pretty good cook.  Find him online at www.shannonyarbrough.com.

Gin Rose by Shannon Yarbrough

July 25, 2011 Comments Off on Gin Rose by Shannon Yarbrough

With Polaroid in hand, I climbed into a chair so I could stand above them. My father held my arm to steady me. I knew Ginrose did not want this to be the last photograph taken of her with T.J. But she had requested that this photo be taken. He had on a snap-button Western shirt, tucked into his plain grey slacks. He smiled slightly, or at least I thought it was a smile at the time.

I don’t remember what Ginrose was wearing, but I’m pretty sure it was something off the shoulders. I have fond memories of going with them to the garden to pick tomatoes, and Ginrose always wore a tube top. The warm Southern sun had kissed her shoulders with pretty round freckles. The plump folds of her midsection were soft when she hugged me and she always smelled like roses. That confused me since that was part of her name. Her hair was a red raving beehive.

They both wore glasses. She adjusted hers while I waited and then she lovingly turned to check his. I wondered to myself if she had done that while he was living.

There’s an old saying that if you touch a dead body in the coffin then you won’t have dreams about that person, or be sad for them, or something like that. As I squeezed the button and waited for the flash, I wondered what a photograph would repress.

© 2011 Shannon Yarbrough

Shannon L. Yarbrough is a writer, painter, photographer, and poet living in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is the author of three novels, and he believes in ghosts.  He’s an amateur gardener, novice wine drinker, book reader, movie lover, music listener, and a pretty good cook.  Find him online at www.shannonyarbrough.com.

New Cowboys By Shannon Yarbrough

June 16, 2011 Comments Off on New Cowboys By Shannon Yarbrough

Daddy waltzed Mamma into divorce. Larry Gene Frye was on piano that night at the Boogie Barn, so Mamma went dancing.

“Howdy Ma’am, you wanna dance with me?”

The owner paid pale handsome boys in boots, tight jeans, shiny belt buckles, and big black cowboy hats to dance with the older ladies.

Mamma waved them away, but then Larry began to play Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You.”

She stood up and waved a new cowboy over.

“Evenin’ Ma’am.”

“Young man, for years I followed a man’s lead,” she said, “tonight you are gonna dance with me. Two step?”

© 2011 Shannon Yarbrough

Shannon L. Yarbrough is a writer, painter, photographer, and poet living in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is the author of three novels, and he believes in ghosts.  He’s an amateur gardener, novice wine drinker, book reader, movie lover, music listener, and a pretty good cook.  Find him online at www.shannonyarbrough.com.

Based on a True Story by Shannon Yarbrough

May 26, 2011 Comments Off on Based on a True Story by Shannon Yarbrough

Mammy said no. No to letting me go to the army base to see James.

I asked twice. She still said no. Bubba laughed when I didn’t get my way.

I was so angry. At Bubba. At Mammy. I shot her while she was in the backyard hanging sheets out to dry. Bubba heard the shotgun blast and came running. I turned and shot him too. I dragged their bodies to the barn and looked for an ax. Then, I buried the pieces in the backyard beneath the blood spattered sheets waving in the wind.

© 2011 Shannon Yarbrough

Shannon L. Yarbrough is a writer, painter, photographer, and poet living in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is the author of three novels, and he believes in ghosts.  He’s an amateur gardener, novice wine drinker, book reader, movie lover, music listener, and a pretty good cook.  Find him online at www.shannonyarbrough.com.

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