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After the Earthquake a Fire

After the Earthquake a Fire

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After the Earthquake a Fire

44 pages
39 minutes
Apr 25, 2017


Elder Rigby is a young Mormon from Utah serving a mission in northern Idaho, though to him it's more like serving a prison sentence. He and his partner, Elder Crews, do their best to fill their days with meaningful work, but there are only so many doorbells in a small town like Bonners Ferry.

Then, between the boredom and broken rules, they meet Minnie, an elderly Russian Jew scarred by some of the worst atrocities of the early 20th century, and Elder Rigby must confront the bleakness of his own existence, and the limits of faith.

Apr 25, 2017

À propos de l'auteur

William Shunn is the author of the acclaimed 2015 memoir The Accidental Terrorist: Confessions of a Reluctant Missionary. Since his first publication in 1993, his short fiction has appeared in Salon, Storyteller, Bloodstone Review, Newtown Literary, Asimov's Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Science Fiction Age, Realms of Fantasy, Electric Velocipede, and various anthologies and year's-best collections. His work has been shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Association for Mormon Letters Award. His chapbook An Alternate History of the 21st Century appeared from Spilt Milk Press in 2007, and his novella Cast a Cold Eye, written with Derryl Murphy, came out from PS Publishing in 2009. He lives and writes in New York City.

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Aperçu du livre

After the Earthquake a Fire - William Shunn

After the Earthquake a Fire

A Novelette by

William Shunn

This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this work are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

This work first appeared online in Bloodstone Review #2, Fall 2015.

Copyright © 2015, 2017 by William Shunn

All rights reserved

eBook Edition

ISBN-13: 978-1-941-92846-2

ISBN-10: 1-941-92846-3

Cover photograph (smoke) by Vadim Borkin/Bigstock

Cover photograph (Badlands) by Ronnie Chua/Bigstock

Cover photograph (wheat) by Vaclav Volrab/Bigstock

Author photograph by Alison Pitt

Sinister Regard

New York

Table of Contents

After the Earthquake a Fire

About the Author

Also by William Shunn

After the Earthquake a Fire

In the fantasy, I’m seated at the piano next to Mila Knudson, the length of my right thigh pressed against her firm left thigh. We’re playing Schubert’s Fantasia in F minor like a single beast with four hands. Our arms graze and overlap but never jostle, and every touch amplifies the excited hollowness in my stomach. Through the soft cotton of her skirt, I feel the muscles in her leg bunch and relax as she works the pedals.

She turns her head to watch me out of the corners of her blue, blue eyes. My cock rises like a conductor’s baton. This, at last, will be the moment.

With impossible fluidity, her fingers leave the keys and arpeggiate up my arms as she swings a leg around to straddle me on the piano bench. She leans in to kiss me, and her hair, the color of ripe, gleaming wheat, brushes my face. Her hands are at my chest, where she unclips the black missionary name tag from my shirt pocket and tosses it away. Our lips and tongues duet. Somehow I can still hear the music playing.

She grips my head while my hands traverse her white blouse from north to south and slide beneath her crimson skirt to caress her smooth thighs. She’s wearing nothing underneath. She undoes my belt with dextrous fingers, tugs down my zipper.

I have only the vaguest notion what she might look or feel like down there, but she grips me nonetheless with those lifeguard’s thighs and forces me inside her. The sunlight through the bay windows is blinding. A chorus of birds cries out from the pines in time with her urgent moans. The room shakes as I geyser inside her.

In reality, I was sitting on the edge of the tub, pajama bottoms around my ankles, as I came into a sock that would soon be consigned to the garbage bin out back. I bit the inside of my mouth to keep from making any noise. As my grip on the fantasy slowly loosened, I slid back into the inexorable pit of shame that was always deepest in those sticky watches of the night.

I cleaned up and returned to my narrow twin bed, where I prayed silently to God for forgiveness. Across the room my companion Elder Crews snored in, I hoped, ignorance.

Late the next morning, Crews and I left the farmhouse and headed to town in our white Chevy Nova. It was 1987, the first Tuesday

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