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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Surge and Recede

Story by Remy Barnes (Read author interview) May 31, 2016

Art by Katelin Kinney

We were on 45th and Rosa and I watched a plane fall from the sky like a toy from the hands of some celestial child. At first, I thought, it must be landing, and then I said, it must be landing on some rural strip somewhere we don’t know about. Somewhere miles away.

But no. It tipped its nose toward the Earth and then tumbled out of sight.

I went home and the power was out. The power was out at the neighbor’s and their neighbors’ and all the way down the street and far and away. My wife said, I wonder what caused it. I said, I don’t know. Maybe a coming storm. Things just surge and recede sometimes.

And then we heard about the crash, the source of the power outage now darkening our slice of the city. The plane was a two-seater, like a john boat on the water and the wind an angry ocean. It got caught in a strong updraft, or headwind, and the pilot lost control. He was with his wife and of course neither survived.

My wife said, How terrible. I said, At least they were together. My wife said, What a shame.

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Notes from Guest Reader Kristine Ong Muslim

Out of 84 stories, this piece really stole the show. It alludes to an elaborate backstory. It also effectively shows the distancing that happens when viewing the tragedy and trauma of others.

About the Author

The work of Remy Barnes has appeared in Five Quarterly, WhiskeyPaper and elsewhere. He lives in Texas.

About the Artist

Katelin Kinney is from the hills and fields of Southern Indiana. She attained two BFAs from the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, IN. Her portfolio consists of fine art and commercial freelance work.

This story appeared in Issue Fifty-Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fifty-Two
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Next Date to Join: January 1!

On September 1, SmokeLong launched a workshop environment/community christened SmokeLong Fitness. This asynchronous community workshop is happening right now on our dedicated workshop site. If you choose to join us, you will work in a small group of around 10-12 participants to give and receive feedback. Each Monday, you will receive a new writing task (one writing task each week) designed by the senior editor team of SmokeLong. The core workshop is asynchronous, so you can take part from anywhere at anytime. We are excited about creating a supportive, consistent and structured environment for flash writers to work on their craft in a community.