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.

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About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, writer, editor, and workshop leader, his poems and fiction are widely published in print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Connotation Press, Metazen, Thrice, Literary Orphans and Housefire. He is Senior Flash editor at JMWW and Lost in Thought magazines and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing. He is a six times 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 collections are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps): Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (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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