Gone before Dawn

A garbage truck wakes him. He lounges on the sofa. His thoughts are fuzzy. He recalls his dream, a complex voyage story.  Doesn’t analyze it, just changes subtle details.  But how did it end?

They trounce downstairs, all flushed, breathless, their cocoon intact. They smell like the other, like a field of freshly cut wheat.  They say  “Good morning, sleepyhead.”

She turns on the TV. Flips on the Today Show. There are guests, a panel of women talking about their spouses who have died in their sleep. These women lay adjacent to a corpse. “Gross,” she says, burying under the gray blanket.

“Gone before dawn,”  he says. Without realizing, he ends his dream this way.


About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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3 Responses to Gone before Dawn

  1. Ian Pratt says:

    I think I smell like corn.

  2. Ubuntu says:

    strong verb: “trounce”
    “complex voyage story”: quite intriguing, much more so than the Today Show episode
    unclear: “women lay [sic: lie] adjacent to a corpse. Is it true that the widows are lying next to a corpse during the Today Show interview?
    What does the protagonist mean by “Gone before dawn?” Is the reader meant to infer that his dream voyage is gone? Or, that his wife is gone under the blanket? Or, that the garbage truck is gone down the street? If this quick-write is meant to come full circle, then the power of the protagonist’s experience could be intensified in the denouement.
    good simile: “like a field of freshly cut wheat” Consider substituting a more vivid adverb, such as “scythed.”
    Characterization and pronoun references in paragraphs 2 & 3 are too vague for me. To whom does the narrator refer as “they” and to whom are “they” greeting as “sleepyhead”: the man or the woman?
    Comma needs to precede dialogue tag in sentence 9: They say[,] “Good….”
    Could the narrator be given more omniscience?
    Nice start!

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