The Falkenbourg Place

There were several hired men who passed through the Faulkenbourg Place in the following years. None of them stayed for long, though none admitted to feeling any odd sensations while living in the house. It was the nature of job that there would be so much overturn, at least that was what David’s father told him. At the same time the farm prospered and, along with the rest of their neighbors, their family had money to spend. They put electricity and plumbing in the house not long after, removing the last vestiges of its homesteader roots.

What truly marked the passage of time though was the worsening of his mother’s condition. There was the day when she ceased to rise to see he and Eric off in the morning, the day when his father started to make their suppers after he came in from work, the day when she could no longer walk without help, and, worst of all, the day when he had to keep score in their nightly game of gin rummy. Though it was never said by anyone, David understand that these were the way stations on the path to oblivion, that his mother was dying, as Albert Faulkenbourg had died, as the steers did when they were sent to market in the fall.

Death did not seem a strange occurrence to him, not when he was surrounded by it daily. He assisted in killing the hens and pigs when the time came each year and had spent many an afternoon watching hawks lazily circling the sky above a tractor as it moved through the field, stirring up the mice and voles below. This, he understood, was a different kind of death, a momentous one, the others merely profane. It wasn’t the fact of the death that told him this, dying seemed much the same regardless of who or what was doing it, it was everyone else’s reactions to it.

Visitors that came to the farm, even the various hired men, would speak in hushed tones or with a forced joviality when his mother was about, her condition obvious at a glance. They would not meet her eyes and then stare at her when they thought she wasn’t looking. David suspected she noticed it all, though she never said. His father, taciturn by nature, turned ever more inward as his mother’s condition worsened, some days speaking no more than a dozen words. Eric, too, retreated within himself, passing his hours at home in his room, not even spending time with David. He was hurt by this change in his brother, for in their younger days they had been inseparable.

Unlike the others, David was drawn to his mother, spending as much time as he could with her. He became the one who unfailingly helped her around the house as that became more difficult. He found reasons to be near her, to touch her, crawling into her lap to sit, though she found such contact painful in her condition. His father would yell at him to leave her be when he would see him sitting in her arms and he would slink away, only to return later as soon as his father had gone away. The smell of her fascinated him, musty and rank, as though an unseen decay had already begun within her. As the end neared and she spent more and more time in bed, neither sleeping nor truly awake, David would secrete himself in the hall outside her bedroom and stay for hours listening to her labored breathing.

He was fourteen when death granted her the peace life had not. Just as her illness had changed and reordered the cosmos of the farm, so her passing did again. His father withdrew ever more inward, working blindly in the fields, and in the evenings retreating to his office or to shop, where he would tinker mindlessly on some project or another. It fell to Eric to take care of them, once the neighboring wives stopped bringing over meals they had prepared, getting David up in the morning for school, helping him with his lunch and making supper for them when they got home. It was a role he resented for the burden it placed upon him, and yet fiercely protected whenever David would try to care for himself.

For his part, David felt lost in this new world, so he avoided both his father and brother as much as he could. He would wander among the three rows of trees, evergreens and caraganas, which divided the farm from the road, playing in imagined realms in the shade of the branches. Days when he knew the farm hand was out working or in town, he would take his bike and ride the mile to the Faulkenbourg Place, sitting in one of the rooms on the floor, staring off into nothing. In those long hours he felt it speak to him, its soundless reverberations echoing through the center of his being.

Even as he turned fifteen and started high school, a time when he knew he should have moved beyond these childish things, he continued to venture to the house, its very presence reassuring him. One Sunday, with his father and brother having retreated into their respective worlds and the farm hand gone home for the weekend, he went over to pass the dreary afternoon. He stayed for hours, losing track of time, watching the sun move through the sky by the changing light coming through the windows. Though he knew he should leave, that the farm hand would be returning soon, he could not bring himself to stir from his reverie, until he heard the truck wheels on the driveway.

In an instant he was on his feet, sweat on his forehead and panic in his mind. He stayed frozen for a moment, unsure of what to do, knowing only that he couldn’t go out the front door without being seen. The windows were no good either. He would need time to get their screens off and their being open would be evidence enough of his presence. Had he been a little older and a little more confident he might have met Grant at the door with an apology and some excuse – no butter in the house – which he would likely have accepted without question.

Unable to think of anything else, he fled to the bathroom, climbing into the tub and ducking down so that his head did not peek over the side. This proved to be a poor hiding place, for after the long drive from Bonneyville, the first thing the farm hand did was go to the bathroom. He had his fly unzipped before he noticed David.

“Goddamn Christ,” he said with a jump. For a terrifying moment David thought he was going to hit him. Instead he walked out without saying another word. David could hear him on the phone to his father. He stayed where he was, letting the disaster continue to unfold, knowing that Grant was on the other side of the door if he tried to leave.

In a few minutes he heard another truck pulling into the yard and the front door opening, the screen door clanging against the side of the house. No words passed between the two men and then his father was there, looming above where he lay crouched miserably in the tub. His father leaned down and cuffed him hard on the ear, the other side of his head hitting sharply against the tub. Without needing to be told David got up and followed him out, past Grant whose eyes he could not meet, and then home, neither of them speaking.

from Smeagol Blues

Available in the collection On the Far Horizon

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Down the Backroads

The empty cans of beer had joined the other detritus on the floor of the truck, gathered over the past weeks of endless travel, a rodeo nearly every day. There were empty bags of chips and chocolate bar wrappers, bottles of Orange Crush half filled with Copenhagen spit, unopened packets of mustard and ketchup, along with napkins and coffee stir sticks and the other accoutrements of a life on the road. Emma had always complained about the smell of the truck, but Dane and Colton no longer noticed. They spent so long in there, days and nights crossing the Canadian prairie and down into Montana and Wyoming and further south on the rodeo circuit, that the state of the vehicle had simply become normal to them both, as natural as the vast open expanses they drove through.

They drove in an uneasy silence, Colton glancing over from time to time at Dane, who did not take his eyes from the road. He stuck to the back roads and secondary highways, though it would add time to their journey, but there was little chance of their meeting a cop on patrol. They encountered no one as they went and after a time Dane put the truck in the middle of the road so that the headlights illuminated both ditches. The only other lights came from the farms and ranches they passed by, flickering beacons in the darkness.

They stopped once to take a leak on the side of highway, each of them instantly surrounded by a swarm of mosquitoes and bugs. Colton looked at Dane sideways as they stood there. At last, judging that enough time had passed to cool his friend’s temper Colton spoke.

“What the hell is going on man?”

Dane zipped up his pants and walked towards the truck, not looking at Colton. “It’s nothing. It’s Emma is all.”

“Bullshit nothing. Christ, why are we running around in the middle of the night then?”

Dane got in the truck without another word and Colton followed. “Get the stuff. I need a hit.”

“You sure man?” Colton said and Dane glared at him. Colton reached for the glove compartment, clicking it open and rummaging through the papers within. “This doesn’t seem like the best idea if we’re driving.”

“I’m tired man, I need to focus.”

“Well I could drive for a while.”

“Just get the shit,” Dane said.

“Alright, alright. Calm down now,” Colton said, retrieving a baggie and pipe. While he put some of the crystal in the pipe, Dane rolled down the windows, looking out morosely at the night.

They took a couple of hits each and then sat in silence as the high washed over them.

“Emma was with another guy,” Dane said at last.

“Holy shit,” Colton said, coughing. “You saw her?”

“Yeah,” Dane said slowly, taking another hit. “Yeah. Couldn’t find her. Went to look for her and she was in the trailer with this dude.”

“Man,” Colton said, returning the pipe and the baggie to their spots in the glove compartment. “Can’t believe she’d do that. What’d you say to them?”

“Nothing. I just walked in and heard them in the back and bailed. Didn’t trust myself, you know.”

Colton reflected on this for a moment. “So you didn’t see her?”

Dane looked at him. “Pretty obvious what was going on man.”

“I was just thinking, maybe it was Marcie, right? Could have been her too. They came together right?”

Dane worked at his lower lip with his teeth. “Nah, nah it was her. Where else was she, right?”

Colton nodded, “Yeah I guess.”

Neither of them said anymore and Dane put the truck back on the road. They were flying soon, the darkness beyond the headlights seeming almost to blur as they passed by. Colton glanced over at the speedometer and then at Dane but said nothing, though he shifted uneasily in his seat. Dane slowed down when he had to turn on Highway 21 for a few miles, though it was as empty as all the other roads they had been on. He kept the truck in the middle of the road, drifting every now and again to one side or the other so that his tires ran across the warning strip at the center line, which shook the whole truck with a droning vibration.

He kept the truck there even as a pair of lights from a semi-truck blinked beyond a pair of hills in the distance. The lights disappeared, reappearing a moment later as the semi went down one hill and started over the next. They disappeared again as their own truck started up a steep hill, the engine working hard, and then appeared in a blinding flash atop the hill as the semi came down upon them. Dane flinched at the lights but made no move to pull the truck into the right lane.

“Hey man,” Colton said, in a quiet voice that barely sounded over rumble of the straining engine. Dane gave no sign that he had heard, or that he noticed when the trucker sounded his horn and flashed his lights as the two vehicles moved perilously near, one upon the other. Only at the last moment, the semi nearly upon them, the horn sounding louder and louder did he pull the truck over and out of the way. The semi hurtled by, its passage shaking the truck so violently that Dane momentarily lost control of the vehicle.

“Fuck me man,” Colton said after a few moments.

“What?”

“I think maybe I should drive.”

“No,” Dane said, as he turned off of 21 and onto the 570. The tires squealed as he made the corner and started to speed up again.

“I don’t get it man,” Colton said with a shake of his head. “You’re losing your shit over a girl for fuck’s sake. So she cheated on you. You either dump her or you live with it. Either way you move on, you don’t go fucking batshit.”

“Like you know shit about women, man.”

“I know she’s way the fuck out your league.”

Dane slammed his fist on the dashboard. “Yeah, yeah. That’s right. Way the fuck out of my league. That’s the fucking problem right there. This is a goddamn game too her, this whole thing. You and me, we don’t get day money, we don’t fucking eat. She and Carl, they just call Daddy.”

Colton didn’t say anything, reaching into his back pocket and snapping his can of Copenhagen before taking a dip.

“One of these days she’ll get tired of this and then she’ll go back home. Everything will work out just fine for her no matter what. It always does. Me, I gotta go crawling back to the padre.”

Dane could feel his lower lip quivering with emotion and stopped talking, knowing if he wasn’t careful he would start crying from rage and hurt.

Colton laughed under his breath, though he glanced at his friend. “Fucking sucks, no doubt.”

“You don’t know the half of it,” Dane said. “If he knew what we were doing tonight he’d probably re-baptize me.”

“You sure they can get the holy water close enough to you without it boiling or something.”

“I just turn it to piss.”

They drove for a time in silence, both of them watching the road. Dane had not spoken to his father in months, not since the last time he had been home. His father had refused to give him any more money, saying that if Dane wanted to continue with the rodeo circuit and the life he was leading on it he could do it on his own with no help from him. It was all Keith’s fault really, he thought. They had grown up together and Keith’s family had gone to his father’s church. When they had first started going to amateur rodeos and the n later on the circuit their parents had insisted that they travel together. They had for a while, but Keith still prayed before each ride. He didn’t chew and he didn’t drink, didn’t chase girls, and Dane did all those things. Soon enough they had fallen out and Keith had informed Dane’s father just what his son was up to on the road.

Several arguments had followed, each time Dane returned home, his father insisting that he give up his ways and Dane refusing. For a time his mother had managed to convince his father to continue to give him some money to help him out when the day money didn’t cover everything, but eventually some final line had been crossed and his father had refused to extend a further hand. He had not even told either of them about Emma, not that it mattered now.

“Yeah, I don’t know how much longer I got man, quite honest,” Colton said.

“Yeah,” Dane said his voice dull.

“Got to grow up sometime, I guess. Dad wants me back home helping out and I don’t know. Can’t really fool myself anymore that I’m going to amount to something doing this.”

“Yeah.”

“Anyway.”

Dane glanced down at the gauges and said, “We gotta get gas.”

“There’s that truck stop on the number one. It’ll definitely be open still.”

“Right,” Dane said and at the next intersection he turned left heading west.

from Drifting

The Body in the Coulee

The body lay part way down the coulee, right before the slope turned shear and plunged to the creek below. The night had hidden it, but the arrival of dawn made its presence obvious. There were several sets of footprints from where the body lay to the road, clearly marked in the muddy spring ground. Even as the new day’s light revealed these details the first flakes of snow began to fall, wet and heavy. For a time the earth resisted their intrusion but eventually the storm proved too much and the ground turned white, covering over the tracks.

Wayne Johnstone was the one to find it later that morning. He caught sight of the red jacket out of the corner of his eye from the tractor where he was tubgrinding feed for the cattle. Thinking it was something that had come off of a passing car on the highway, he drove up to the fence of the pasture by the lip of the slope to see what it might be. Something in him recognized just what and who it was without really looking and he sat in the tractor, his hands clutching the steering wheel, feeling very cold. After a time he clambered down the hillside, now slick with the accumulating snow, to confirm his suspicions.

Half an hour later a police car drove slowly up the driveway in the main yard, pulling to a stop in front of the ranch house where a woman sat on the porch, a dog at her feet and a hood thrown over her head to keep off the snow.

“‘Hello Diane,” Martin said as he stepped out of the car.

She just nodded, “It’s down there by the coulee,” she said pointing. “You can take your car if you think it can make it through the mud.”

I’ll be alright.”

She paused, and then she said, “We called him. Wayne said I probably shouldn’t, but I had to.”

He nodded, “He’s down there now?”

Yeah.”

He drove on through the yard down the laneways, pens filled with cattle still with their winter coats on either side, until he came to the far pen that connected out to the pasture. He sat there a moment to gather himself and then stepped out of the car, putting on his hat to keep the snow off. The pasture was almost entirely covered over in white, ruining the scene no doubt. If the weather forecaster on the radio was correct his drive back to town would be interesting as well by the time he was through here.

He climbed into the pen and set off for the pasture, nearly losing a shoe in the mud as he went. It smelled rank, a winter’s worth of manure and urine thawed and filling his nostrils. The cows ambled, and the calves darted, out of his way as he went, the footing growing more solid as he came to pasture. Still, he was glad he had not been tempted to try his luck with the car. The last thing he needed to add to the day was conducting a murder investigation while his vehicle was being pulled out of a pasture.

When he came to the fence separating the pasture from the coulee he saw them standing down the ridge a ways, looking down at the body, wiping the snow from their eyes. He cleared his throat and swung over the fence as they both turned to him. He just nodded at them and knelt down by the body. The face was mostly blown away. He could see the outline of one eye socket and most of the jaw, bits of brain and skull. Her neck and chest were perforated with pellet blasts. The blood was that curdled dark color, clumping against her skin and the earth below. He sighed and stood up, turning to Leonard.

It’s her alright,” Leonard said. “That’s her jacket and shoes.”

Martin looked at Wayne, “Anybody else been down here but you two?”

Wayne shook his head.

Alright. Why don’t you and Leonard head back to the house and wait for me. I want to look around a bit. Cory should be here pretty quick.”

What’ll they do with the body?” Leonard asked, his tone odd.

He’ll have to take it into town. Botha will have to look at it. We’ll take care of it.” He turned from them and knelt again by the body.

The snow had already obscured whatever tracks were around, but it seemed clear to him that she had been dragged here from the road. There was not enough blood around her, given the extent of her wounds, to say nothing of what had happened to the rest of her head. Why then had she been left here where the body would be easily discovered. A few steps farther would have taken whoever had carried her to the lip of the coulee where gravity would have carried the body into the darkness and trees. Of course, if all this had been carried out in the dead of the night without the benefit of a vehicle’s headlights, assuming the perpetrators were concerned about drawing attention to themselves, then whoever it had been might have thought they were closer to the precipice than they in fact were.

He paced from the body to the road. The fence along the ditch ended before the coulee started, and he wondered briefly why Wayne hadn’t bothered to extend it. There were no tracks into the ditch, which was hardly surprising given the snow. He climbed onto the road, kicking at the damp blacktop. It curved just ahead along with the coulee, the two running nearly parallel briefly, before the road curved again to wrap around it. The snow was coming down so heavily he could not see beyond that.

He went back to the body, snapping on the rubber gloves he had brought as he went, feeling faintly ridiculous as he did so. Wiping his eyes clear of water and snow he gingerly turned what was left of her head towards him and pulled back her remaining eyelid. The eye beneath was cloudy and the body itself stiff with rigor mortis, no doubt helped by the temperature, which had hovered around the freezing mark for most of the night through to the morning.

Martin stood, clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth thoughtfully, and started to pull his gloves off when he spotted Cory heaving his bulk over the fence and waved him over. The ambulance drive wandered over, his jeans tucked into his unlaced work boots, his jacket open to the elements as well. He was unshaven and, as he came up alongside, Martin caught a whiff of booze.

Late night?”

Oh,” Cory said with a wave of his hand.

You good to drive yet?”

I made it here didn’t I?”

Don’t make me put the fucking breathalyzer on you,” Martin said. “I’ve got enough shit to deal with without you cocking things up.”

Cory waved his hand again and turned his attention to the body. “Kristi Taid.”

Yes,” Martin said.

Cause of death shouldn’t be a problem anyway.”

No.”

Well, how you wanna do this? Bring the stretcher down from the highway, probably the easiest.”

Martin agreed and Cory returned through the pasture to where he had left the ambulance parked beside Martin’s car and then drove back through the yard and down the highway to where the coulee began. Martin met him there and they carried the stretcher down, moving the body onto it and then struggling back up the slippery ditch to the ambulance.

Take it in to Botha then?” Cory said, turning to head to the cab of the vehicle.

Yes,” Martin said. “And for fuck sakes Cory don’t phone anyone, don’t let anyone know. This is an RCMP investigation now.”

Cory didn’t reply, giving him another wave and then was on his way. Martin sighed and swore again under his breath. He stood and watched until the ambulance had disappeared into the snow that formed a wall to his vision on the other side of the Johnstone yard. He shivered and started on his way back to the yard, already thinking of the questions he would have to ask Leonard. 

From The Devious Kind by Clint Westgard

Now Available: Smeagol Blues

Smeagol Blues scaled

For as long as he can remember, growing up on the Canadian prairies, David has been drawn to the house. Called the Faulkenbourg Place by the locals after the Swede who had homesteaded the quarter, it is an unremarkable, ramshackle thing, worn by too many harsh seasons on the prairies. David’s curiosity will lead him to an investigation of the strange history of one of its inhabitants, Louie Glazer, a man who had disappeared without a trace thirty years before. Despite these  and other ominous signs he remains in its thrall, a power beyond his reckoning, that will lead him to an act of betrayal and a startling discovery as to the nature the nature of the place itself.

A short story by Clint Westgard
Available at Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords

What Lay Within

It was during that fall that his mother’s illness became inescapably apparent to David, the strange pallor that he had noticed that summer now a permanent feature of her face. There were other changes as well, though little noticed by him. His mother was always tired, often going to bed early in the evening when he and Eric did, and on particularly bad mornings it was their father who would rouse them get their breakfasts and send them off to the bus for school. Sometimes their usual after supper games, crib and rummy and kings on the corner, would be left to he and Eric alone.

The dim concern David felt for these developments, more a sense that this was unusual than any true understanding of what they implied, was offset by the arrival of harvest. It was his favorite time of the year, filled with bustle and activity, given greater meaning by the race to get the crop off before the weather turned.  This year his excitement was magnified by the addition to the proceedings of the new hired man, a fellow named Jim from Enchant.

The hired man and his father worked from dawn till dusk, so long as the weather held and there was wheat to harvest. When David came home from school he would take the two lunch pails his mother had prepared, full of sandwiches, sliced cucumber and tomatoes with some cookies for desert, and two thermoses full of tea out to the grain bins where Jim was unloading the truck. Jim would give him a ride out to the field, keeping up a friendly chatter that to David’s ears sounded worldly and wise, and then David would run one of the pails and a thermos over to the tractor and combine his father was driving.

He would sit beside his father, nestled precariously on the armrest, with the various unfathomable gear sticks threatening to jab him in the back, as he made his rounds in the field and ate his supper. He enjoyed watching the swath disappearing into the combine, transformed into kernels of wheat straw that would be spit out the back of the machine. His father did not really say anything in these moments, focused on his supper and the task at hand, but David did not mind. It was enough to watch, to hear the throttle of tractor and the rumble of the combine as they worked. Sometimes, if his father allowed it, he would stay out on the tractor until his eyes grew too heavy and then Jim would take him home for bed.

On the weekends they would all eat lunch in the fields, sitting in lawn chairs out on the stubble in the shadow of the machinery. The talk would be on the progress of the harvest, how this field was going tougher than the last, how the equipment was holding up, and how the weather might threaten or bless in the days to come. David would listen to these conversations with fascination, feeling a part of some monumental task, the import of which he could not quite grasp.

One day, Jim seemingly tired of all the talk of work, asked about the Faulkenbourg Place.

“Why do they call it that?” he wanted to know.

His father finished the bread he was eating and said, “Albert Faulkenbourg homesteaded that quarter. He bought the house and put it up there in twenty two or twenty three I think.”

“What happened to him? Get moved out in the Thirties?”

“No. The year after he built it he was killed. He was disking a field and something spooked his team. He was thrown off his seat and the discer went right over him. Dad found him the next day.”

“That’s a hard thing.”

“Yes it was.”

“Your family bought it after that?”

“No, it went through a few hands,” here his father paused tantalizingly, as though there were much more to be said. “Bit of a bad luck place I guess you could say. Land’s a bit sandy too.”

Jim stayed on through the winter and into the next fall as well. During the summer, when more of his time was his own and he had much more freedom to navigate, David would often make his way over to the Faulkenbourg Place to chat with the hired man, who didn’t seem to mind the company. He taught David how to throw a proper curveball and told him about the time he had batted against Satchel Paige when the Negro Leaguers were barnstorming through Saskatchewan.

As much as he enjoyed the Jim’s company, the larger purpose of his visits was to be within the house. It was a compulsion, deeper than any understanding he was capable of. The thrill he felt as he stepped from the entryway, to the kitchen or the living room, to sit across from Jim and talk was something near ecstasy, especially now that he knew what had happened to Albert Faulkenbourg. To be in these same places where a dead man had sat and done the same things he had was an incomprehensible and new thing to David.

Jim left in the middle of the next winter, a particularly harsh one, even by the standards of the Canadian prairies. The first snow had fallen a week after Thanksgiving and stayed on through November and into the new year, accumulating into vast drifts that hardened into immovable dunes, reshaping the landscape entirely. The drifts in the yard were so large and solid that the cattle could walk out of their pens and the tractors were unable to break through them. The temperature offered no reprieve, staying well below freezing so that even the slightest breeze was cutting.

It was in January, when the days were at their shortest, the sun setting before five, making the cold seem to set in the bone all the more, that Jim came by their house to announce his leaving. David was at the kitchen table playing cards with his mother while his father finished his tea and read the paper. Jim looked sheepish as he unbundled himself on the porch and apologized for disturbing their evening. His father waved away his concerns and poured them both a glass of whiskey. They retired to the living room to talk.

Though David made a great show of playing his hands, he lost three games in a row as he tried to play and listen to what was being said in the living room between the two men.

“I’m just here to give my notice,” Jim was saying. “Sorry to spring it on you like this.”

“You’ve got something else then?” his father said, in that even tone he used to indicate disapproval.

“No, not exactly yet.” Here Jim stammered. “I know some folks in Maidstone.”

There was a pause where David could imagine his father taking a measure of the situation while he took a sip of his whiskey. “Is there a problem, something you’re not telling me?” he said. “I think I’ve been fair in all our dealings. I could understand if you had something better lined up. Lord knows you don’t want to be doing this your whole life.”

Jim’s discomfort was plain in the way he spoke. “It’s not anything you’ve done. You’ve done right by me Walter. I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity. Just time to move on I guess.”

“There’s not something else wrong is there?”

“No, no,” Jim said and there was a long silence. “It’s the house, if I’m being honest. There’s something about it doesn’t sit right.”

“How do you mean?” his father said, sounding confused.

“I can’t explain it really. I just don’t feel right in it, like there’s something else there with me.”

“A ghost you mean?”

“No. I know what you’re thinking. Jim’s gone crazy. I swear to you, it’s nothing like that. I can’t explain it. I know there’s nothing there. Can’t be. But it just doesn’t feel right.”

They left it at that, his father thanking him for his help and wishing him the best. Later David would overhear him talking about the situation with his mother, saying that maybe it was a blessing that he had gone when he had. “He can’t be right in the head, thinking there’s something in that house with him. Who ever heard of such a thing?”

David knew what Jim had tried and failed to tell his father, that sensation that escaped all words yet sunk deep into the center of his being never to be shaken free. Jim had been afraid of it, though he had tried to hide it in front of his father. David, though, felt no fear, only a longing that somehow he imagined would be made whole by the place itself and whatever lay within.

From Smeagol Blues by Clint Westgard

Forthcoming April 2013

Forthcoming: Smeagol Blues

Smeagol Blues

For as long as he can remember, growing up on the Canadian prairies, David has been drawn to the house. Called the Faulkenbourg Place by the locals after the Swede who had homesteaded the quarter, it is an unremarkable, ramshackle thing, worn by too many harsh seasons on the prairies. David’s curiosity will lead him to an investigation of the strange history of one of its inhabitants, Louie Glazer, a man who had disappeared without a trace thirty years before. Despite these  and other ominous signs he remains in its thrall, a power beyond his reckoning, that will lead him to an act of betrayal and a startling discovery as to the nature the nature of the place itself.

A short story by Clint Westgard
Forthcoming April 2013