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Fugue by Andy Miller



The day after B-17s bombed the hell out of K---- and O----, and sorties from over the mountains had silenced the cries of the dying and put down the wounded like mad dogs, refugees from the surrounding area came to rest in a hollow of a rock. Their clothes had been torn into rags on the way, and their bodies were covered in bruises, scratches, and sores. What little water they had to drink was contaminated, and everyone had dysentery. No one was saved from the humiliation of pale brown stains. The old men wept, shamelessly. The women huddled with their children under the imagined security of the rock, and the only sound was that of bombing and anti-aircraft guns. The sun fell behind the clouds and a cold breeze whipped into the hollow and clouds massed and a foul rain poured down. Thirst made these people brave. One by one they left the hollow to stand in the rain, looking up at the clouds, their mouths wide open like funnels. The rain washed the tears from their eyes and the stains from their clothes and filled their bellies and their lungs, but the people breathed in this foul rain and stood there like statues.

When soldiers from one side or the other passed through, they carved their names and dates on the bodies of the refugees, but the tips of their knives raised not a drop of blood. The rags broke apart in the sun, wind, and rain, and the refugees stood naked throughout the duration of the war. At last, when the armchair generals thousands of miles away had satisfied their lust and called the soldiers home, the refugees began to move again, as out of a slumber. They walked the earth like ghosts, and found no welcome anywhere.



Short fiction by Andy Miller includes "La Dualidad," in the Fortean Bureau, "30,000 years ago..." in The Dream People, and "Armistice Day" in a future issue of Happy. Some of his musical compositions can be found in The Dream People. His short short, "On Blackberry Wine," appeared in Issue #6 of The Cafe Irreal.


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