Infinite Culture

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This Heat

“This Heat” in the New Purlieu Review. Photo by Deborah Fries.

My story “This Heat” was featured in the last issue of the New Purlieu Review. Here’s a clip:

The road led us away from the river, due north, down a two-lane highway with only an occasional car heading southbound. The scenic route, up toward the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, then east through small Wisconsin towns like Minong and Hayward, onward to the Chequamegon National Forest. Mitchell talked about a few of his corporate clients, some upcoming concerts in Minneapolis, his divorce proceedings, an upcoming summer vacation. He invited me down to a timeshare condo in Florida next month but I shrugged it off. He asked me about the novel, to which I replied, “It’s coming along.” The truth was that I hadn’t done more than read through the most recent draft and hang my head.

When we reached Chequamegon, I found a camping area and turned off the main road and came to a stop. I got out and knelt in the snow to lock the hubs, switching the truck into four-wheel drive, then took us deeper into the woods. I stopped at a clearing where I could make out a fire ring under the drifts of snow. Fifty yards from the campsite was a frozen creek, disguised by the unmarked snowdrifts over the ice. The only reason I knew it was there was because of the gentle contours of the land as it dipped toward the frozen creek, and the pattern of sloping earth down through the trees.

We got out of the truck and I opened the tailgate, handing Mitchell a shovel.

“Lace up your boots, brother. This is not the time for your feet to get wet and cold.”

“Hey, I’m not a total idiot.”

We cleared the fire pit and dug through the snow to level an area for the tent. There was a good eighteen inches on the ground. As we unloaded the supplies, we wore a clean, snow-packed path from the fire pit to the truck. I started a fire with the kindling and pine needles I’d packed, all of it so dry it needed a single match. Mitchell opened a bottle of Black Label as I added larger pieces of kindling to the fire. The sun started to set and I could feel the cold settling down through the trees.


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This entry was posted on January 5, 2013 by in Fiction, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , .

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All content on Infinite Culture, unless noted otherwise, is copyright © 2016 Rafael Otto. All rights reserved.
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