Issue 35, Final Fringe


by Russell Hehn Issue 28 10.24.2011


Réspito had lost himself, and he knew not whether he was asleep both night and day, or if living, somehow, had become a dull dream.  The man he sought appeared everywhere, mocking Réspito with his elusiveness and when the visions of the native woman finally vanished, the image of this man was all he was left with.  His thoughts thus consumed, his consciousness now at the mercy of the spectral and intangible figure of the American, Réspito found himself worshipping the man who’d slain her, and despised himself for that reverence.  Nightly, at the feet of the shadows, he prayed by weaving tapestries of grass, elaborate mats of reed and straw he left strewn in the desert as if they were breadcrumbs, begging the man to become manifest, not that he might kill him, but that he might come to understand.  And if the man did not become manifest then, Réspito requested, he should know a similar pain.

As he made his way south, to the sea, Réspito subsisted on olives alone, and redirected his course to avoid the towns and outcroppings, skulking in the periphery of lantern light and campfire glow, as a lion encircling a village.  The pestilence of human kindness that he longed to rid himself of drew him in constantly, though he remained an outcast self-imposed, struggling in vain to become the man he’d been in prison, the man she’d loved.  Though now she was gone, and that man could not exist without her.

When he reached the sea, he boarded the ship that would bring him closer, he knew, to the man he sought.  And when he reached America’s shores, alive and well, the man he sought was there.


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Russell Hehn

Russell Hehn

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Russell Hehn is a teacher and landscaper in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Some of his other work can be seen in Barcelona Review, Interrobang?! and Pindeldyboz.