The Flying Kite

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"The Flying Kite" a Short Story by Victor A. Davis

“The Flying Kite” a Short Story by Victor A. Davis

Although I have been loose with the facts and changed names and dates to avoid copyright violation, this story was inspired by actual events. Adjacent to where I work is a basement littered floor to ceiling with “antiques” (aka junk). Among the wreckage is a shelf of National Geographic magazines dating back to 1924. They’re fun to peek through. In one 1970s issue, I read the story of a man who set out to walk from the northernmost foothills of the Andes in South America to the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego. His wife joined him on part of the trip, but died in an accident. The interviewer asked if he intended to continue, and he said yes. Internet searches, trips to the library, and perusals of future issues turned up nothing for me in the way of a followup or resolution to this story. Naturally, as a fiction writer, I took it upon myself to invent the rest of his story.

In my story, he turns up again a dozen years later, crazed but still wandering. Three decades later, another Nat Geo photojournalist finds him in Patagonia and walks with him, trying to establish whether he is a hoaxer or the real thing. Guillermo Faulkner, as I’ve named him, slowly turned from a serious world traveler to a lost troubadour, to an urban legend. As a short story writer, I value brevity. This is the first time I’ve been so taken with an idea that I’ve been tempted to write a novel. Unfortunately, I feel I’ve mastered neither the state of mind nor the state of affairs necessary to dive wholeheartedly into that effort. So I sought out a way to tell the story briefly. Thus the twist: A man walks into a bar claiming that this urban legend is real. The entire story is told as a story within a story, and the dramatic tension comes from the question: Can this man, this americano, be trusted?

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Shiva

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“Shiva” a Short Story by Victor A. Davis

There is an old woman who lives among the many ridges and hollows of the Southern Appalachians. She lives in a hidden place that everyone knows but few have ever seen. La Loba does her collecting at night, particularly on a night like this, when the moon glows full and blue over the entire valley. A single seeing eye peers out from beneath her hood, the other pale and opaque. She clings her flowing robes tightly around her fat body as she moves, hopscotching quickly along the dry riverbed in tattered sandals. She is excited, scanning the ground feverishly, looking for that familiar pale ivory object jutting out among the round gray stones. After a while, she finds what she is looking for. She dives for the object, plucking it from the ground and examining it carefully with her fingers, sniffing it and rubbing the sharp edges. Satisfied and giddy, she opens the makeshift pouch at her waist and drops it in with the rest of the bones. La Loba turns around and trots up the hill, gripping the fabric around her prizes.

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What Dreams are Made Of

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“What Dreams are Made Of” a Short Story by Victor A. Davis

“Mommy, why is the sky blue?” She leaned down to answer. “God made the sky blue for the same reason He made your eyes blue: it’s the prettiest color in the whole wide world.” Little Hale thought about this. “Daddy said it was because all colors are different types of light. Blue is the shortest so it carries the sun’s light farthest.”
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Freefalling

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“Freefalling” a Short Story by Victor A. Davis

“Who you gonna see when you get to Heaven?” I hadn’t thought about it. I wrinkled my forehead, mind blank. I hadn’t thought about it, only because the answer was in front of my nose. “Sarah.” He nodded respectfully. “Good choice.” I gave him one last smile and shook his hand. “Adios, friend.”
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Bastian Boy

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“Bastian Boy” a Short Story by Victor A. Davis

They used to say I was smart, so I kept my mouth shut. They called me athletic, so I stayed indoors. And it was the day they said “ambitious” that I just stopped giving a damn. My name is Bastian, and this is my story.
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Dusty Dead Magic Street

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“Dusty Dead Magic Street” a Short Story by Victor A. Davis

My land is the extent of the hard black roads which weave through the bottoms of the glistening towers. These elegant structures of which I speak reach toward the heavens in a bold eternal effort. It is breathtaking to slope my head upwards and stretch my gaze to the godly beings. I dwell in the narrow ways between their bases. Seldom do souls venture into these dark hollows of tattered remains blowing about in a breeze of foul odor. Most inhabitants are frantic ghouls, rushing about the highways mindlessly, some in metallic creatures with rolling legs. They are lost souls. They think they’re alive, that they are being driven by a purpose. They frighten me, and I seem to stimulate some strange emotion in them.
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Kell Hall: A Bedtime Story

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“Kell Hall” a Short Story by Victor A. Davis

It was the afternoon of Halloween. Ghosts and wizards and werewolves and vampires and clowns swept by incessantly. Indy sat in the passenger seat while his mom drove. They were driving through the parking lot of his big brother’s dormitory to pick him up. They had family in town for a few days, and Brick had no school for the holiday weekend. He didn’t like it very much, but he didn’t get to make his own decisions. Even at twenty, he was still little, Indy supposed. Henry in the backseat was only three, just beginning to learn how vastly many people and colors and places there were in the world. It all seemed very overwhelming to Indy himself, now twelve years old, but Henry’s wide bright eyes took it all in and begged for more. He loved car rides. He loved wandering. And above all, he loved irritating older brothers. Now that Brick was out of the house, Indy became the family babysitter and the brunt of baby pranks.
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Left Behind

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“Left Behind” a Short Story by Victor A. Davis

I have many faint memories of myself, floating underwater, seeing a red orange yellow glowing world through my shut eyes. It was dreamlike in a way. I could feel hear my heartbeat strum all around me, breathing in and out like ocean waves on a beach. Beyond the glow I could sense images, black-and-white shapes fluttering by in a slideshow. These eerie memories seemed to stretch back eternally, like a massive ball of visceral thought. And for whatever reason, I was swimming out of it, budding off its wall, and when I separated, it became very faint. It was no longer all-encompassing for me, but it did hold an umbilical, more like a voice in my head. That was when “memory” took form.
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Odd Job World

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“Odd Job World” a Short Story by Victor A. Davis

The iceman walked laboriously down the suburban street, carrying the hefty load upon his broken back. He had delivered blocks of ice to middle-class housewives for five years, and his back screamed in agony and torture. It was not as if the iceman’s body was broken or hurt – it was a scar of a different source. It was the ever-deepening impression left by the bag of weights, the valley being carved into his soul.
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The Fall of Imaginings

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“The Fall of Imaginings” a Short Story by Victor A. Davis

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” his parents asked him. Sid crossed his eyes in consternation. It was not as if he did not have a perfect and well-planned and passionate answer ready. Rather, he was caught off guard by the timing of the question. It was customary to ask this of a child the day before they were to be sent off to school. But Sid was not to begin for another two days.
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