Marcel Unchained By Ray Nessly

July 11, 2016 Comments Off on Marcel Unchained By Ray Nessly

Street mime in white face and white gloves, trapped in invisible box. Tip jar empty. Marcel’s solo-dancing the tango now, teeth clenching ephemeral rose. Passersby pass him by.

He shackles his arms and legs. Imaginary handcuffs, intangible chains. The padlock’s but a ghost. The blindfold? Real.

Master of silence, in bundle on sidewalk, struggling like Houdini.

Tap-tap down the sidewalk goes a cane, tap-tap against the tip jar, tap-tap against Marcel’s noggin.


“Sorry ’bout that!” the blind man says, reaching into his pocket. He fingers his coins, finds just the right one, and plunks it into Marcel’s jar.

© 2014, Ray Nessly; First Appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Winter, 2014

Ray Nessly hails from Seattle and lives near San Diego with his wife and their two cats. He is forever at work on a novel: If A Machine Lands In The Forest. He hopes its publication precedes that of his obituary. He has been published in Literary Orphans, Thrice Fiction, Boston Literary Magazine, Apocrypha & Abstractions, MadHat Lit, Yellow Mama, Do Some Damage, and places nobody’s ever heard of.

Broken Waters By Ray Nessly

October 12, 2015 Comments Off on Broken Waters By Ray Nessly

Backseat. Too late. She’s really hollering now.

The cabbie pulls over to the side of the highway. One by one, babies slide into the world. Triplets. Eyes closed. Mewling. Three brand new, pale, wrinkly things. Just like Bella, his dog, her puppies, that time: backseat of the taxi. Alongside Highway 105. The roar of eighteen-wheelers passing.

Bella’s triplets lived almost a day.

© 2015 Ray Nessly

Ray Nessly hails from Seattle and lives near San Diego with his wife and their two cats. He is wrapping up a novel, If A Machine Lands In The Forest. He hopes it precedes, in publication, that of his obituary. His stories have been published in Literary Orphans, Boston Literary Magazine, MadHat Lit, Apocrypha & Abstractions, Yellow Mama, Do Some Damage, and other places of note.

Malady By Ray Nessly

March 2, 2015 Comments Off on Malady By Ray Nessly

When the malady struck and the world fell dark at noon, she and I groped the walls and found our front door. Outside, bewildered, we heard the whine of jets in free-fall, explosions in the imagined distance. And we heard a car — or was it a truck that veered into the ditch across the street? On its side, wheels spinning, we guessed because we could hear them rattle and squeak.

Heard the driver too, begging for help. Poor soul, screaming, right there in front of our eyes: trapped in fire and twisted metal, we feared, but could not see. Because the malady had blinded us by sealing our eyes closed.

This strange new darkness. Like the hand of God had sutured our eyelids and left us nothing but to wonder . . . why?

I took her arm and she mine to wander the streets, blind. Nothing stirred. Everybody gone. Why?

We remembered hearing, the day before, the sound of a blade on wood. A neighbor chopping firewood, next door. We searched his yard, our arms groping the blackness, until I tripped on the axe. We broke into houses with it. Storefronts. Hoarded every last weapon, bottle, match, tin.

Windows open, all that winter long, we took turns sleeping, the other listening for trouble.

And now it’s spring. And last week — or was it longer ago? –you found us. She and I, hiding. From survivors. Fellow blinded survivors. All because we had imagined you to be more savage than ourselves.

And now she’s dying because I botched it.

Gave her too much to drink to dull the pain. Too much ice on her eyes. She couldn’t guide my hands, couldn’t cry out when I slashed her eyelids open, couldn’t warn me I’d gone too deep with the blade.

There’s only one way.

You, with your hand on my shoulder. Spare me your empathy. Spare me the alcohol; spare me the last of the mountain ice. Grope this place, would you? Find me the box cutter and hand it to me.

Now I take the same hands and blade that infected her, that truly blinded her. This time, I’ll know exactly where, and how hard, to press. Because it’s my sense of touch that’s doing the guiding. And it’s my eye.

Later, when my wounds heal and the pain subsides, take my arm, one of you. I’ll show you the packets of seeds amid the store shelves in their scavenged hundreds. We’ll go to the field, together. And I’ll show you — show all of you — where to dig. Where to empty your buckets of water. Where the field is free of shadow from morning onto dusk.

© 2014 Ray Nessly

Ray Nessly hails from Seattle and lives near San Diego with his wife and their two cats. He writes short stories, non-fiction, and is currently wrapping up a novel. His stories appear or are forthcoming in The Tavern Lantern, Literary Orphans, Do Some Damage, Thrillers Killers ‘n’ Chillers, Yellow Mama, and in the collection, Literary Bondage: An Exploration of Potential Literature.

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