Silvern Stare


Her hair is long and pretty. She is pretty herself though she’s a hundred pounds overweight for her frame. The curves are in the right places, there’s just too much of her.

I could tell by her stare she knew me, so I looked harder and then I saw her.


From Stanyan Street.

I go back and remember her against the white wall in the shade of that dark tree rose, her hair yellow gold and her young body bursting from the black dress. The perfume and sweat of her in that hot backyard.


“Gord”, she says now, here, on the bus, sun filled, idling in traffic.



Windy on the beach and ducked down behind a log, I cup the match and she puffs, holding my hands in her soft ones, eyes coming up to look into mine and hold me.

I look at the valley between her breasts and the freckles there and I want to bury my lips, taste her perfume again. She tucks the joint in a hollow of sand and log, slides her body down, her hand up the inside of my leg.

“Go ahead” she insists.

The odd smile disappears beneath my lips and I see her silver eyes through my eyelashes. They narrow but remain on me and her lips are cold.

My hand goes into her blouse, fills with cool trembling flesh, a frozen nipple.

I have to sit up.

She keeps hold of my cock through my jeans and pulls on it, demanding.

“Why are you…?”

“Cold?” she asks. “You know.”

“Oh. I guess I….”

“Go on, say it.”

“Did I…I thought I….”

She squeezes, grips my cock and leans into me, her cold breath tastes of dust and moldy rose petals, her filmed and silvern eyes force mine closed. The buckle clinks, my pants jerk open, the zipper slides slowly. Her hand is cold on me. She pulls.

Cold surge and yearning. Anxious, I roll to my back and give in.

She’s up and gone.


I follow, struggle in the loose sand. I fall behind.

She’s into the fog. I face the waves.



In the park by the old windmill and tulips and gopher riddled lawn I find weak sun and less of wind behind tangled dwarf cypress.

Homeless live here. Target bags, crushed soda bottles, beds of cardboard, cold fires.

A skinny urchin lolls, her bare legs straight out. A tiny doll, her back against the concrete of the enormous mill. One darkened cloud is snagged, tugging on a broken paddle.

She stares at me.

Short jagged hair, dark at the tips after blonde roots, she’s pretty, and even shapely in a thin girl way.

She pats my shirt pocket, tries to dig in my jeans pockets front and back, grins as if she knows me.

I don’t remember her.

“Oh, you,” she says, “You!”

“Burn one?” I say.

She laughs and prances and bends into the cypress thicket. Her silver eyes look out at me through black branches and dark green boughs. Her rainbow woven beanie is tipped back and to one side.

“Come on,” she insists.

I startle up from the damp lawn at the whoosh of a seagull close overhead.  He turns his head to look at each of us as he pushes slowly against the wind.

He laughs.

The waves boom and shake the lawn. The decrepit windmill looms.

She’s gone inside the cypress wall.



In the tangle, sand seeps and fills every emptiness. Wind tongues poke and move the tops of the boughs, but they can’t find me in here.

Dim light washes from all directions, the smell of newly mown lawn is like food, like soil, a mixed smell of dog shit and herbal medicine.

Motorcycles, trucks rumble, sea birds scream, a small airplane drones somewhere,  the ocean a steady sound that hasn’t ever stopped.


“Anyone here?”

No one answers.


I’m crying. I never cry except in dreams. Now I am.

Cold pain and surge of—what? Loneliness?


I struggle deeper and find her.

Her rainbow beanie is caught and torn on cypress spikes.

She’s naked and torn beneath them.

Things are wrong with what she is now. Things are missing. How long has she been here?

I remember her.

I stir the dust of her, she falls apart. The mold smell is cold and familiar.

I would empty my mind if I could. I close my eyes. The ocean groans.

Cypress bones scrape and rustle, rubbing each other in the wind. Something creaks, snaps.


I fumble for my knife but my fingers are cold. The wind has found them and the knife has gone into the sand. My fingers work their way down.

The sand is ancient. How deep?

There’s the knife. It’s ancient, rusted, pitted, frozen shut.

A gentle push to my back. I’ll stop now, and give in.


“Gord. Hello.”

Her silvern eyes.

~ fin ~

Terry Butler lives in Hollister CA. It’s not the place named on teenagers’ clothing. Stories have appeared online at Yellow Mama, Plots With Guns, A Shot of Ink, Darkest Before the Dawn, Powderburn Flash, Flash Fiction Offensive et. al. Stories in print at Hardboiled Magazine and in anthologies by Ed Gorman, Dave Zeltserman and Gary Lovisi. Upcoming in Cemetery Dance. Like everyone else, he’s hard at work on a novel.