by T. Gene Davis
Fred looked down on her burnt form. His squinting eyes bookmarked a crumpled expression and one twitching nostril that threatened to make his voluminous mustache crawl away to find a more appetizing site. Smokey smells replaced the expected morning scent of sagebrush after rain. Her right arm flung wildly above her reposed form, clawed at the scorched bark of an ancient pinyon destroyed by the previous night’s fire.
He scratched his back and rubbed his fingers through the mustache to calm its twitching, then cleared his throat. He looked at the late morning sun, as if to burn the image of her reddened flesh out of his mind.
She opened one eye slightly. Her voice rasped, “I must have slipped out. It won’t let me back in.” Her left fist unclenched, but the right hand kept rubbing raw burnt fingers against the remains of the pinyon.