Hounds by Cami DuMay
This trail doesn’t even go anywhere, He grumbled
as we climbed the path around Angel Island,
weaving through the radiating heat, waves of it pooling at our ankles.
The bay below, though disguising its depth in glitter, was ready
to catch me nonetheless.
I couldn’t bring myself
to continue holding his hand, and dropped it
gently. He smoldered as if I’d broken his bones
as humanely as I could.
The summer oak breathed softly to me.
The rattlesnake grass nodded again and again,
yes, yes, yes.
I’d never believed in evil– I believed in the hurt
and the hungry, that a dog bites when it’s afraid–
until his affronted hand clamped around my arm.
A boyish rage was filling his six-foot frame and fitting it perfectly,
a bow-breaking chill of baywater.
I felt, between the bruising bands of his fingers,
a need to salt every inch of my earth
by hand. He said softly, We need to talk privately
and made to remove me from that walking path,
pressing me so quietly to the trailside, content
that deer do not scream when they die.
My mind wailed in terror of the brush and oak thicket
as it opened its mouth to admit us,
an impulse to shout a warning to the birds there
that a dog was coming to crown himself in the snow
of their feathers, and that he was not mine.
My only triumph was in my body, locked up. I was hard and glorious
as a marble statue but toppling all the same. Resigned
to the weight of pressing hands that touched me
like the cold broad sides of hammers,
eager to dismantle winged monuments of victory.
The rattlesnake grass no longer nodded,
but shook in catastrophic fractures.
I wasn’t always this small:
in those rending jaws, making promises to the next man
that I’d love him
if he hurt me the least.
I only dream of fish by Jade Driscoll
I’m adding dirty water to their tanks.
I’m scooping them into suffocating plastic bags.
I’m dropping them in my mouth while they’re still alive.
I’m impaling them with the corners of the net
that is supposed to gently move them
from one cage to the next.
I’m feeding them for the first time in weeks,
their bodies so withered and brittle
that they may as well be dead.
I’m idly watching their fins get stuck in automatic filters,
their hunger become so immense they eat each other,
their scales flaking off one by one.
I’m cornering them into smaller and smaller tanks,
until I can see in their unwavering eyes
that they know they’re trapped,
that they would rather die than never swim free again.
I’m crying when I know they’re hurting,
and I never stop.
TRAVELOGUE by William Welch
Half-convinced the world is a conspiracy
against love, I hid under the bedsheets
this morning until hunger drove me out.
From the kitchen window, I saw rabbit
tracks printed in last night’s snow, lines
of text running through my yard,
testaments, and ambiguous accounts
about travel through the dark, life lived
outdoors when it’s cold. I carried
my pound of seed for the sparrows,
and stood reading those hieroglyphs,
each a cartouche that meant
I am! I am! I am!
The two in back side by side, the front prints
single-file, as round as
music notes repeating a melody
that seemed to go unfinished, like Schubert’s
symphonies, each just ending
as though he might resume his work
tomorrow. Where does this travelogue lead?
Under a hedge. Partly erased
by a cat whose foot falls are linked
with drag-marks made by long fur.
No indication exists
in this record, but I can see her upright tail,
her whiskers, eyes, intent on that
journalist who escaped... Reluctant
to add my signature, I step
backward the way I came, each
footprint a reading in reverse.
nightingale (he/him) by Logan Anthony
in the clearing where the nightingales
used to circle, the rhythm of my blood
surges—new song boils beneath
the balm of the unruly forest.
even surrounded by the sounds of home,
i can’t remember how to be alone.
the second i fell open at your touch,
i knew it’d come to this. viscera. gore.
maybe part of me craved this damage.
nonetheless, my feet are planted.
i’ve come here for a reason.
breeze after breeze, hot and heavy
with musk. the first shaky breath blows
open my chest. my skirts billow about
in orbit. in worship. most assume
the female nightingale does the singing.
i did once, too. as i stand under this weeping
sky intertwined with these dying trees,
eyes misted in kind, i let my body once
more creak open. as my hands turn the air
above my head, i empty myself in
the manner i was taught. song dribbles
down the chin like a brine and swells
with the gore of my own mortality: sharp
and bitter on all corners of the tongue.
the sky hangs like a shutter, threatening
to slam shut over the wide, wide night
that reaches in to caress my throat
as it bobs with the weight of each
slicked word i one by painstaking
one release into the inescapable
pulsing of the starlight.
Phlegm by Rohan Buettel
I am as much a part of you
as blood or bile, sweat or saliva,
a full-bodied secretion.
I slip down your gullet easily,
smooth and slippery as an oyster,
dismantled and dissolved by stomach acid.
A shiny yellow coherence coated in slime,
I slide along narrow tracts, explore bronchial tubes,
my thick texture tickles your passages.
Irritated, throat muscles constrict,
you cough me up, seek to expectorate,
expel me from my home.
Spat out as sputum into basin or bowl,
I slip down the drain and join my siblings,
clinging to the inside of sewer pipes.
Moms Request by Craig Etchison
I stared down at my shriveled mother, whom I dearly loved—as she lay in bed. A good person. Worked hard all her life. To keep me clothed. To keep me fed. Managing finances so that I could attend college without taking out massive loans. I never realized at the time what sacrifices that entailed. Never realized what she and Dad gave up in order to give me a better life.
The last few years had been miserable for her. Miserable. Her word. This from a person rarely said anything negative. But the word captured her agonizingly slow decline. Hearing almost gone now. Memory mostly gone. Even of her beloved husband of sixty-five years who had died a few years earlier. The help of others required for every component of her truncated existence. Zero quality of life. Less than zero. Heart-breaking for me to watch. Far worse for her to experience.
In recent months, she often slept deeply for eighteen to twenty hours a day. Impossible to rouse her at times when I stopped by. So I would sit by her bed and talk to her, hoping she heard my voice, my words of love. Did she? I don’t know. I couldn’t be angry at this sleep since it insulated her from consciously participating in the long, lingering death she was suffering.
Today, as I stared down, she unexpectedly woke, her eyes bright and alert. “It’s you,” she said.
“It’s me, Mom.”
“Where have you been?”
“I come by regularly, but you’re usually asleep.”
A bit of a nod, and with pencil-thin arms she reached up for a hug and a kiss. “How you feeling?” I asked.
“Help me,” she said, voice and eyes beseeching.
Mom was in a retirement home where, at this point, hospice was taking care of her with all the skill and love they had mustered for my father.
“Help you do what?” I didn’t understand. Should I call an aide?
Her eyes burned with an intelligence I had not seen in months. “My pillow. Over my mouth. Only take a minute. Can’t stand this misery. I’m begging.”
Her words stunned me. Suffocate her? How could I do that? Even though were I in her position, I would crave immediate release, too. “Oh, Mom.”
“Please.” The pleading in her voice was a knife in my heart. And her eyes burrowed to the center of my soul.
Kill her? I had put down a number of beloved pets when they were suffering at the end of their lives. Always brought tears. But I couldn’t—wouldn’t—let them suffer unnecessarily. I cared for them too much. Yet here was my beloved mother, more dear than any pet, facing who
knew how many days—or months—of prolonged misery, asking for the same love I tendered my pets.
Didn’t Mom deserve the same compassion I rendered my pets? But all my life I had been socialized that to take the life of another person was wrong. Was the worst possible evil. That who lived and who died was not my decision to make. I also knew that we humans aren’t naturally wired to take the life of another person. I never forgot the drill instructors in my basic training company constantly having us shout, “Kill,
Kill, Kill,” in an effort to break our natural inclination to help other humans rather than kill them.
“I can’t, Mom.” My voice broke. I was an emotional mess. Hating to see her suffer, yet terrified. Terrified to do an act of compassion. Afraid of repercussions. Terrified I might get caught. Afraid. A coward to do what was kind and loving to the person who had been so kind and loving to me.
She smiled sadly. “Okay. I love you.” She reached up for a hug.
“I love you, too,” I replied while I hugged her.
As I left the room, I wondered both about myself and society. What kind of society had inoculated me in such a way that I was unable to show Mom the same love I showed my pets? Why couldn’t I give her what she craved, perhaps a pill to ease her out of an existence that had turned unimaginably ugly—an existence with zero hope for improvement?
We often congratulate ourselves on being an advanced and “civilized” society. But as I walked down the hall away from her room, I doubted that we were nearly as civilized as we think.
The Butcher by Logan Anthony
Like the dream, the butcher and I stand shoulder to shoulder facing the wooden work table, its walnut finish marooned in a coating of sludge. Viscera. I smell before I recognize the contents of the table before us.
The organs of my body pucker and wilt on the dingy, stained canvas strips I dimly register laid over the wood plank tabletop. Dusty air moves through me, a feeling I take for granted as breathing. It’s only when I focus that I realize it’s only the breeze coming in from the ajar awning window above the workspace. I do not have the time to consider this space as liminal, to press against the billowing boundaries, malleable as curtains, hanging around me. I only have the capacity to panic, a dull ache I remove myself from with distraction. If I possessed my stomach, I’d empty it now. The spread on the table alarms me. I see no difference when I glance down at my bare chest, concave slightly, but unchanged. Skin slicked in sweat, pulled closed over caverns.
To my left, the butcher speaks monotone, light and dry. A feather in the wind. I have to lean close to hear his judgments. The linen of his shirt strikes me as gleaming in the dingy room, unstained beneath the crime scene of his apron. I wonder how he manages that. The butcher steps
forward, pulling me along by the shoulder, his hand hot against my skin. The ice of the table edge bores into my exposed midsection. I have to grit my teeth to hold back a shiver.
Together, the butcher and I scrutinize the finite pieces of me that add up to mechanize the body under my command in the waking world. My vision blurs as we survey the table. The cuts of me hot and raw, sending up steam to warm my face. The heat of the flesh as vapor, awaiting
The butcher takes a hunk of red meat in his hands. The heart. His voice crackles low. A sick smile possesses his gaunt face as his eyes disjoint from the muscle he holds and affix to something unseen in the distance. He relives the strongest of the memories still pulsing in the flesh.
The butcher’s eyes are closed, but I am near enough to see them rolling beneath his paper-thin eyelids. The coarse dark hairs gathered along the contours of the jaw. A softness I can see from here on his lips, drawing up into a smile now. A tremor passes through me. I force myself to look away. I try to inspire some fear in myself: he could turn me away, he could send me to a stranger realm. There is no end to what he could dream up for me to experience next.
This does not inspire fear in the slightest.
I do not look away for long, nor do I hide my examination of the butcher: he is, after all, seeing the deepest truths of my heart: the things that I buried and carried with me along each way. What brief ecstasies, damnable weaknesses, and great leaps of logic he must witness, I do
not permit myself to imagine. In the silence I cultivate my shame.
When he is done, the scale materializes from a dusty, dilapidated wooden crate the butcher kicks back into the shadows under the table with the steel cupping his toes. The metal of the scale is bloodstained, well-used, and the numbers have worn off in some spots. The butcher places the organ on the plate, careening the scale to one side. I sink deeper into my shame—I was taught a heavy heart is a burden not to be shared—but the butcher continues without hesitation, wiping his hands on his ruddied apron. From his neckline he draws a braided black cord with a small glass vial swinging at the end like a pendant. He uncorks the bottle with his teeth, holding the cork in his mouth. Spit gathers in the corners of his lips. He places the cork carefully on the edge of the table, imprinted with half of a red fingerprint.
The butcher gathers the oozing heart from the plate—my heart, I remember sickly—in one hand. He flips the soft meat over, leans closer, and sucks his teeth. He’s found the valley where the breastbone casts its widest shadow: the darkest hemisphere of the heart, where the weight pools like darkness in the cover of shadow. The butcher’s grip tightens; he presses the pad of his thumb down into the basin of the valley, tracing its contours, squeezing out the drops
of dew hunkered under the eaves of the plants that thrive there in the dark. Drops that run out and down the meat like blood, gather at the base of the heart, and drip into the glass vial, sending up a tiny cloud and mixing instantly with what remained of some dark gray powder. It could be
anything—ash, ground molar, even dust of bone.
The butcher’s motions bear the weight and tedium of ritual, but his eyes remain light, almost young. They do not reflect the heaviness I would have expected to accompany the burden of judgment for those souls who wish to repeat the cycle after completing it.
The leeching of the heart brings pain that manifests quickly. I glance down to find a searing pitchfork tearing through the thin skin of my chest. Pushing the iron tips back into my skin, I ignore the flames as they catch. I know this to be a test, for I recognize the butcher’s hands. I turn my face to his.
The butcher falters. He does not expect uninterrupted eye contact, not from mortals. He glances down so that together we watch the wounds pucker up like blood-rouged lips on my chest as the blades of the pitchfork retract. When the skin is no longer pulled taut by the tines of the fork, the holes gape like red-running mouths panting for want of fresh air. The scars I will bear, I think in despair. The butcher’s eyes return to mine. He squints at me, cocking his head. I am reminded of a dog. This is all a game, I think. The waiting. His amusement.
With a strange shake of his shoulders, in an instant, the butcher’s apron falls in a heap over his boots, and the buttons cinching closed the neck of his shirt come open one by one. He shrugs out of the gaping linen shirt. My eyes move over his shoulders with a hunger I don’t anticipate. Something unquenched in me still alive despite the time and place. I stifle the urge to compare the butcher’s body to my own, to imagine us neck to neck, hip to hip. I work my eyes down. His chest rises and falls evenly, unlike mine, and when I squint in the dim lighting, I notice the neat surgical scars tucked into the contours, seated in shadows cast by the butcher’s muscled chest. Beneath that, a soft, slightly-muscled stomach with fair, brown hair trailing downward. I look up quickly.
We all have our scars. It is your choice to wear them with pride or shame.
The butcher gives me no chance to respond. He turns to face the wall and the work table once more, clapping his hands together with a violent crash. A wave of energy, like a corona, emanates out from the butcher, sending me to my knees. The aching in my chest quiets at once.
The wounds close, though the scars remain. Silence folds to a dull thud that starts slowly, at intervals, and gains in both speed and strength. Establishing a rhythm. Almost like a heartbeat.
The meat stirs on the table.
The butcher stands over me, wiping the dust from his hands. I rise to brush the cobwebs and gore from my knees, meeting his eyes. I do not waver. This I was taught young.
You have arrived early, but tenacity lives in your heart. You will be reborn.
His speech is matter-of-fact, the act of it being spoken akin to what it describes being done. The butcher strides over the linen shirt in a pool at his feet and moves to the next cut.
The lungs. Two handfuls of steaming human organ meat. Enough to make his mouth water, but the butcher remains grounded. He completes the rest of the ritual before sending me on my way to wake in a new crib and start another day.
This time, I will carry the image of the butcher with me, buried in my heart, for whatever years are to come. By now, this ritual has become tedious. The human game no longer intrigues me. One day, he will see this, and the next morning, I will wake at his side
Our Sweet Evelyn by Soidenet Gue
Autumn 1993, Florida
That second weekend of the season started with our seventeen-year-old daughter, our sweet Evelyn, itching to dump the boy she had known since the fifth grade. I gathered as much hearing her on the phone while I replaced our air-conditioning filter across the hallway upholstered in geometric red wallpaper from floor to ceiling. She’d been all sullen and cranky for two days. Nothing tasted right in her mouth, not the leafy green vegetables nor her favorite corn flakes with sliced bananas and apples. I knew I had to have a conversation with her at some point.
We all traveled to the beach later and found it less crowded than usual. Our favorite spot, a huge patch of pure white sands, was even less vacant. A cool, tender breeze carried Evelyn’s hair from one shoulder to the other as my wife, the outstanding dentist, breathed into the clean, fresh air and then stripped down to her silvery pink swimsuit, following our daughter who wore emerald green.
Before I could settle down to find the latest article in the Palm Beach Post about the soccer team or track and field team that I’d been coaching for the past five years, a young adult man sauntered up the beach with his posse. He stopped for a chat with Evelyn without acknowledging either my wife or me. This alone gave me the wrong impression: he had preyed upon young girls before. Damn me, if the confidence and authority exercised in his voice and how he handled his cigarette did not confirm this.
“What’s up, sexy?” he said.
Evelyn did not answer.
Donna stood beside me with her hands on her slender hips, wondering what the young man wanted. “I got this. It’s okay,” I told her, noticing the perturbed look on her face.
“I’ve never seen you around here before,” the young man said to Evelyn. “What you listening to?”
“Listening to her ‘cause you’re a fan or ‘cause you look just like her?”
Observing all this like a man with x-ray vision where I stood, I waited to hear a rebuke from Evelyn first before making any intervention. She took off her headphones with a thin smile but found no interest in his biceps and hardness. “Better get the hell out of here,” she said, clearing the cigarette smoke blanketing her face. “I’m allergic to those things; we all are.”
He strode away with a frown, followed by a sarcastic giggle—I supposed to disguise his humiliation.
I struggled to recall whose idea it was that we did something enjoyable at least once a month. Evelyn was still in elementary school when we first tried the beach. The restaurants followed soon. Then it was the getaways to the best national parks. Because Evelyn kept up this tradition, and it did not seem to bother her at seventeen years old, I often told Donna that we might have been the luckiest parents in the world. In the big northern town where we grew up, none of us did anything fun with our parents as soon as we could ride the school bus.
Nonetheless, I sensed that Evelyn and my wife were no longer the best pals they used to be. Although I was the first to object to my daughter attending that pop concert for her sweet sixteen, deep in my heart, I knew she blamed Donna and was still flustered at Donna for not letting her
go. It remained unclear to me whether she would ever forgive her mother for this.
Before I could finish setting up one of the two canopies, a volleyball bounced off my upper back and landed on Donna’s sunscreen. Donna’s brows creased, glowering at Evelyn.
“Watch it, girl! What’s the matter with you?” she asked, leaving her mouth agape. Then, she returned to rummaging her purse for her favorite bandana, which was supposed to hold the strands of black hair out of her forehead.
My laughter, not contagious but sexy enough, filled the space between us after a loud
crash of the waves. Not only had I witnessed the moment Evelyn snatched the baby-blue sports headband, but I could have sworn that she was about to slip it on that instant. Five seconds after I turned my head—and I proved to be correct about the bandana—Evelyn retrieved the ball and hit me once more; this time on my lower back, and it hurt.
“One game—one on one,” Evelyn said, her brows knitted.
“Come on, pussy.”
My wife sputtered at me for taking delight in my daughter’s remark; my chuckle annoyed her. To hide her further contempt, Donna turned her gaze to the three tiny butterflies circling the fresh blossoms of yellow beach sunflowers up the sandy hill. It remained a mystery to me—as it
was to Evelyn, I supposed—just what on earth Donna would say or do if Evelyn ever talked to her that way.
Hey, to hell with it—it was just one game. Evelyn winced against the sun, taking up a position with her feet dented in the sand like an athlete who had something to prove because her first playoff game had turned out to be a major disaster. On the contrary, this meant she needed
to talk. If I were on the field at school, she would creep behind me, steal my whistle, and shout out all kinds of motivational speeches at my athletes until I told her that I was all ears. Then, Evelyn would wrap her arm around my neck until I granted her the favor she needed; often, this
included me putting on a good show of resistance against her mother to bring Mom on board.
In moments like these, I found myself in enormous difficulties controlling my racing heart. I never knew what kind of damage my heart could sustain at the receiving end of my daughter’s breaking news. So far, they all had been tender and sweet. However, as most fathers did, I always feared that a day would come when she would break my heart. At times, I wondered if Donna—who had known me for two decades and who liked to break things down in too many details rather than being herself when talking to Evelyn—had any idea what this was like for me. Thus far, I managed to remain both a father and a friend to Evelyn whenever she needed me. What father in his right mind would ever want this to change, right? Yet, I must admit that it was getting harder and harder the older she got.
Just one minute into the game, Evelyn stopped with the ball pressed against her stomach.
Her lips contorted into a perfect arc. I’d not seen her face like this before, well, not since missing
that pop concert. I knew then it was time to ask what was bothering her.
“Craig hurt me. He hurt me, Daddy.”
For a moment, my heart seemed to stop as I reached across her shoulder. The worst-case scenarios ran through my mind, thinking that the teenage boy had taken advantage of her or she might have even gotten pregnant. My heart liberated a little when she spoke of infidelity: Craig
had slept with her best friend. “Color me curious,” I said, “but does he even know that you know?”
Evelyn shook her head and grabbed hold of the pendant around her neck into an iron fist.
Her eyes flickered around the sand with apparent grievances. Yet, she was still unable to decide the fate of the golden rose necklace—toss it on the sand or throw it into the ocean. I gasped. I could only guess as much, but a part of me believed she’d have thrown the necklace in Craig’s
face if he were present and told him to go to hell with it with gritted teeth.
“Idiots,” I said. My hand left her shoulder to cup her adorable narrow chin. “No. Don’t be sad. You wipe that sorry look off your face right now. They’re the sorry ones. If I were them, I’d kill to have a friend like you. You’re smart and beautiful. But they don’t know any better. Do they now?”
Tearful, Evelyn dropped the ball, leaped into my arms, and laughed. With my back against the sun, I glanced at Donna over Evelyn’s shoulder and could tell she could still hear us.
Either the paperback now in her hand had taken much of her attention where she sat in repose or she just did not care to join in.
“Glad you told me before you decided to do something . . . I don’t know, awful,” I said, as though I knew all along that Evelyn was formulating some strategy for retaliation. The response I anticipated from her in this instance never came. “You’re not planning on doing anything stupid now, are you?”
“Revenge. What else?”
Evelyn stepped back. Her hands turned into fists, folding her arms.
“You know,” I said, “something like sneaking into her home to cut her hair while she sleeps in her bed, or play, let’s say, a vicious, stupid prank on her at school or something.” My chuckle failed to ease the tension, her vexation.
A few seconds passed before she spoke without a trace of skepticism in her voice: “Well, I guess that’s all out of the question now. But I hate her.”
“You know, sweetheart, I’m just saying this because things like that sometimes don’t work out the way you think they would. Things escalate, people get hurt really, really badly, and then you regret it.”
Her eyes swam with tears, glistening on her lovely cheeks. One corner of her mouth all quirked up, she said, “But, Dad, I gotta do something! How’s that fair? They betrayed me!”
“I know. I know. It’s horrible, right?” Shit! Just what in the world do I tell her now? Why do I keep making her feel like she’s the bad guy? My hand parted from the clutching of my chin to stroke hers. That precise moment we wish we had all the right answers. “Tell you what,” I said to her. “I mean, if I were you, I’d ghost him. Totally ignore him . . . no, both of them for the whole week coming up while you figure things out. No hello, no waving. Nothing. Like they don’t exist.”
“No, Dad. Two weeks!”
“Um, yeah. Why not? Yeah. Go for it. But sooner or later, you’re gonna have to make a big decision, you know? Chances are . . . it’s probably not gonna be as easy as you think. Pretty sure Craig is gonna do a lot of crying and begging for forgiveness. Don’t you think so?”
Evelyn nodded thoughtfully.
“All right, then. Just let me know what happens. Okay, sweetheart?”
“Okay. Thanks, Dad.” She smiled while I sucked in my breath. We hugged each other once again and resumed the game as she fought back the tears.
Boundless and Bare by Jeff Fleischer
For a century now, he’d stood behind the glass. Omari’s body was smaller than it had been in life, his bones folded inward just like the earthen tomb that long held them. His skin painted dark by the broad brush of time; his face taut where once it had been so round his mother likened it to the shape of the full moon.
“Look at that thing,” a short man on the other side of the case said to a young girl. “He looks about your age.”
Omari had actually lived twenty-seven years, nearly thrice the young spectator’s span, before he fell in the battle against Perdiccas. He had fought for the first of the Ptolemies, in the quest to secure Alexander’s own remains and keep them in Egypt.
Though the small onions that replaced his eyes were shriveled and fallen away, Omari’s husk had watched generations come to stare. The young girl would one day return with her own children; the man may have visited before. People grew taller, their clothing less formal, their attention more frequently diverted to devices they carried. Omari remained unchanged, the case keeping the temperature and moisture from further damaging him.
“This mummy has been part of our collection since 1921,” the girl read from the text on the case.
“Based on our understanding of the symbols on the tomb...”
The precise text changed every few years, the language of an adventure tale replaced like Theseus’s ship with that of scientific inquiry. Omari gleaned that those who displayed him learned ever more about how his body had been prepared and about the era in which that was done, though his living years remained a mystery to them. The finding that his fatal wounds came in combat arrived unattributed to said combat’s purpose.
“Evidence suggests this mummy dates from the...what’s that word?” the girl asked. “P-t-o-l-e-m-a-i-c?”
Omari had never seen Alexander in life, but remembered the excitement when word spread of the Macedonian pharaoh’s remains being intercepted from their journey through the Levant. His father had celebrated the young conqueror who drove Persia from the land, but it was Omari who chanced to see what remained of the great man only weeks before his own demise. Alexander had been coated in honey, preserved as carefully as an Apis bull. Housed in a case far more beautiful than Omari’s present one, colored with cinnabar and ochre. A treasure worthy of being stolen and fought over. One not only Perdiccas and his invaders, but the unheralded likes of Omari, would trade their lives to keep from harm.
While adventurers had found Omari and brought him across the sea, they nor anyone else had found where Alexander now rested. His body had passed like a totem between rulers and lands, lost somewhere in the vast expanse of what had once been his empire.
Omari had found far less glory in his lifetime, but his visitors would talk about and remember him. Today’s moved on from the display like many thousands of before them, leaving Omari alone in his modest glass housing. More would arrive soon enough