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Flash Fiction Reprint: Audra Kerr Brown’s “Where Angels Trod”

Where Angels Trod

Audra Kerr Brown


You were tired of rust and ash, of flake and gray. “Look at me,” you said. “Spot­ted as a bull snake, wrin­kled as a sow’s ass. I want to see some­thing young and shiny.” So I drove you to the new bridge, helped you stand at its base. You arched your arthritic neck, swayed like a drunk in your ortho­pe­dic shoes and whistled—high and long—the way you used to whistle at Mom when she dressed for church. Then you clapped your hat against your chest to keep it from blow­ing away or maybe out of rev­er­ence or incredulity, for it was both holy and blas­phe­mous, this oth­er­worldly struc­ture ris­ing from the hum­ble Mid­west­ern land­scape like twin Nephilim draw­ing up nets taut with fish. “Let’s dare to tread where angels trod,” you said, point­ing your cane, and I pushed your wheel­chair for­ward.

Halfway up I set your brakes to catch my breath. You stood, began shuf­fling toward the set­ting sun, the tap-tap-tap of your cane echo­ing the slow beat of your weak­ened heart. I came after you, but you waved me away, eyes fixed on the hori­zon. At that instant you were Moses on Mt.Sinai, and I made a visor with my hands, watched your dod­der­ing form dis­ap­pear into the sun: the clouds above, the water below rush­ing toward the future. And when you returned—just min­utes later—your white hair danced on end like a halo of live wires, your cheeks, your smil­ing cheeks, flushed and shin­ing as if you had seen the very face of God.


Note: Orig­i­nally pub­lished in May 2016, Cheap Pop.


Author’s Note
I was for­tu­nate enough to take a fic­tion class with one of the great flash writ­ers of our day, Kathy Fish. One of her prompts was to try write a story in one breath­less sen­tence. Imme­di­ately I had an image of a man and his father walk­ing together on a bridge that spanned over rush­ing waters. I knew there would be con­trast­ing themes of young/old, fast/slow, life/death, but while I was writ­ing, I noticed the emer­gence of other para­dox­i­cal ele­ments, and I allowed these images to carry me like a swift cur­rent to the end. 


Audra Kerr BrownAudra Kerr Brown lives betwixt the corn and soy­bean fields of south­east Iowa. Her fic­tion can be found at Fic­tion South­east, Cheap Pop, Fjords Review (Monthly Flash), Peo­ple Hold­ing, Maudlin House, Pop­shot Mag­a­zine, and Pit­head Chapel, among oth­ers.

One comment

Good story. I liked the breath­less, stream of con­scious­ness feel to it. With a lit­tle for­mat tin­ker­ing, this could be an excel­lent poem. You tell us every­thing we need to know about the char­ac­ters with great con­ci­sion and econ­omy, and still I leave feel­ing sat­is­fied I have read some­thing worth­while.

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