Hat Trick Cover








Hat Trick


…Zoloski stumbled, staggered, and righted himself. "Watch it--"

My toe hit something. It gave slightly as I tripped and nearly did the splits. Zoloski caught my arm.

I flashed the penlight across the dirt to a lump the size of a big log. A log wrapped in black satin? It looked like a sheet. I smelled something unpleasant, like a body unwashed for a thousand years, and my stomach roiled. One of the homeless?

Zoloski moved closer as I nudged the semi-soft thing with my toe. No response. With my pen light, I pulled the wrapping back and peeked inside. Pale, flaccid skin flecked with blood, mouth open in a giant yawn, something stirring in the toothless cavern--flies. I fell back, jerking on the sheet, exposing an arm.

Look ma, no hands.

My thoughts ricocheted like a pinball machine on electro-shock therapy while my gaze remained riveted on the arm. Definitely not looking for a hand out.

I gulped air, and choked. Another image flashed: a magician sawing someone in half, lots of blood. I dropped the light.

Zoloski grabbed my shoulder and steered me down the trail as I heaved toast and orange juice. "Stay here." He left for a couple of seconds, returned with my penlight, wrapped an arm around my shoulders. "You okay?"

No! my stomach shrieked. I wiped my mouth on my T-shirt, the bitter taste of bile stinging my tongue. "Sure."


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