GONE SOUTH: A Dime Novel



Glass shattered and a man flew backwards into the street. He hit the ground, bounced and tumbled into a horse-trough, causing the horses tied there to whicker and shy away. A few seconds later, two more men followed him, though they both stayed on their feet.
Crockett whirled as soon as his boots touched dirt and fired a pistol back they way they had come. A man screamed.
“Them new Colts is something.” Fink said. “Can I-”
“Damn it!” Fink snarled, fists raised. “You got two!” Continue reading

Chapter 0+1: “In The Shadow of the Towers”

Opening Gambit – A Warm Day in September, 2001

what matters most is
how well you
walk through the
— Charles Bukowski

He comes out of the water, dripping. He’s the sort of a male that you see working as an academic, or perhaps on Wall Street. An academic, or a pencil pusher. Certainly not the kind of guy who has the self-confidence to approach the gorgeous young lady lying on the golden sand of Coney Island, but that’s just what he does.“May I lay down next to you?” he asks.
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A Heartsick Archer

There was no sand to move between her toes. Her hips swayed just as the alcohol told her. She fought the urge to jump as the cold water washed over her bare feet. A red dress shined with the inexplicable movements of a seductress that had become the apple of every man’s eye. Her movements only followed in harmony with the bounding moonlight from the dying wake.

A small motor died in the distance and another made its claim. The smugglers made no efforts to hind anymore; a whistle off the river’s edge blew. Drunk as she was, she gave the admirers no attention and she walked idly on. The concrete scraped against the bottom of her soft feet, a pair of red heels dangled in her left hand. Again, the water washed over her feet.

Miniscule are the waves from the passing boats. Rolling over her ankles as she walked, the man came into view. His trench coat moved with the light wind that also pushed her hair toward the water. She could see a strange thing jutting out just past his leg. “It’s done then?”

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by Gregory Hernandez

Chapter One: Ticket – Admit One – ADULT

I had come so far to have traveled so little. When I first arrived, this island, these nations, this world had been hieroglyphs waiting to be translated. Having spent time in the United States, I could say that America was not only engaged in misadventures abroad – America was a nation at war with itself. Its ideals were being ruined by seedy politics. Politics had become a stage upon which con men and clowns cavorted fitfully; obscenely.

I had never expected to become even peripherally involved in that world, but there I was in a book store in lower Manhattan talking with one of the stage hands who operated behind the scenes of the great political play. He had no name, only a reputation. That was acceptable. I had no identity, only a rough mission: to understand the world where I had unexpectedly found myself.

The Unknown Soldier and The Mark – quite a pair we made.
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by Gregory Hernandez

The Hooded Man half-crouched over the grave, while the Lady of Flowers stood away to his left, looking away from the grave at the storm-cloud filled sky. What fascinated me about me most about the painting, was an illusion the artist had managed to pull off: giving the impression of their being a third figure in between the two of them. It was either a tombstone or a third mourner, obscured by a flurry of grey leaves.
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GONE SOUTH: A Dime Novel



“Aw now, don’t be like that Davy.” Fink said. He grinned into the barrel of Crockett’s pistol, unfazed. Davy held the pistol on him for a moment longer, then sighed and uncocked it, placing it on the table in front of him.
“What do you want, Mike?”
“Best ask what I don’t want.” Fink said. Crockett frowned and Fink raised a hand. “Fine, fine. First, ain’t you going to ask me how I survived?”
“I don’t rightly care, Mike.” Crockett said.
“Well that do hurt a bit, I must say.”
“Mike, we ain’t exactly friends.”
“Best enemies is almost as close.” Continue reading

GONE SOUTH: A Dime Novel



The big, loud man walked into Tenebre on his own two feet, fists swinging. He was broad and tall and shaped like a keg of beer that had decided to go on a pilgrimage. His face was a thunderstorm hidden behind a flush of wiry beard and his eyes gleamed, alert and nasty.
His name, at birth, was Michael Phink. Now it was simply Mike Fink. Not much difference in the sound, but in texture it was all the difference in the world. Continue reading

Of Saints and Shoguns

The old devil would not let him be.

Despite everything, he had tried to rid himself of the spirit; and yet Tokugawa Ietsuna could not be quit of the hoary old bastard. Countless times now had Tokugawa listened to the old man’s fervent murmurs, his cries of declamation and accusation and stories of his redemption of even the filthiest of hinin and he wanted no part of it.

The fourth of the great and noble Tokugawa shoguns had, like his forebears, little time for Christians, European or otherwise. To endure a dead one haunting his private chambers was more than he could stand.

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The Seaking

San Diego, CA.

The boy sat at the edge of the pool, his frail, finger-like toes grabbed and whipped up the serene, pearl-skinned surf into a series of choppy peaks. The sun glinted across the chlorine valleys under the boy’s jubilant stirring, reflected a marbled sunrise like a series of veins under the water that ran up the boys leg, fed his heart. It beat faster, harder. The boy smiled wide across his rosy cheeks; his teeth sparkled like a school of sturgeon. A late bloomer, he was finally going to learn to swim after managing to stay healthy the whole summer. Dad promised.

The parents watched their happy boy from their terra-cotta veranda, always near the water whenever he could be. This summer was a good one for them and Arthur. Diagnosed, or not, rather, with an unknown degenerative disease their boy had always been too sick for anything; home-schooled, weeks at a time hooked up to strange machines, and of course, unable to swim no matter how much it pained him.

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