• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 01

Vultures Circling Overhead

Before she pulled Grant from his bed and sprinted outside, she scraped away the cursive branded “Dorsey” inside her wrist with a straightedge she found in his closet when he was at work. She bled while she drove with Grant in the backseat but the infection didn’t take until they hit Kennesaw, and that’s when she found them the inn with the room with two beds and two locks and walls that wouldn’t let nobody in unless she wanted them there.

She is charged by the night but pays by the week in the cash her mama wires her behind her daddy’s back every Saturday afternoon, so Saturday mornings she sits outside of Room 18, watching Grant trace the outline of parking spots heel to toe in shoes without laces.

Look… Mama… I don’t even stray from the line no more… hey, Mama, what’s at? He raises his head to the sun, pointing with a bandaged index finger at that above him.

She wanted to say that he was looking at passenger ships in the sky, two-tiered airliners and Zeppelins with folks on the way to a place they’ve never been, airborne boats with flags sprouting from their hulls, men with wings like condors, free-falling, parachuting with flags of surrender. She wanted to say that he didn’t need her to tell him what he saw or what he thought he saw.

Mama, I said what are they? Kinda birds are that?


I ain't never seen a bird that big before. Hey, what if a bird is born without wings?


Vultures Circling Overhead

I dunno. It’s useless, I guess.

How do they escape from danger if they don’t got wings?

I dunno.

She traces the scabbed outline of where Dorsey’s name used to live and then raises her head to watch a man cut the strings that tether his rowboat to a hot air balloon. His wife cries out for help as they plummet towards the broken slab of asphalt where Grant stands.

Did you see me on the tightrope? I don’t even stray from the line no more, Mama.