Steve Gergley ~ Two Micro Fictions

  1. What Remained After the Explosion

Following the third explo­sion on the third island in three years, Dunbar and Pike went alone to assess the dam­age. There they found a flood­ed crater of silt and pow­dered glass in the place where their nitro­glyc­erin pro­cess­ing plant used to be. Walking the rim of the crater, Dunbar found the par­tial­ly-melt­ed heel of a leather work­boot stick­ing up out of the ground. He crouched above the boot and waved Pike over for a look.

Christ,” Pike said.

I know,” Dunbar said.

The earth around the boot start­ed to move. Dunbar and Pike jumped back­ward in sur­prise. Soon a naked man erupt­ed through the glit­ter­ing crust of silt and pow­dered glass. Uninjured, the man’s skin glowed as pink and fresh as an infant emerg­ing from a bathtub.

The man fished the work­boot out of the ground and poured the silt from the inte­ri­or of the boot. He slid the filthy boot onto his foot and tugged at the black­ened tongue. Dunbar and Pike gaped in dis­be­lief as the man laced up his boot and clumped into the cen­ter of the crater. Before the two indus­tri­al­ists could say anoth­er word the man was gone, slip­ping sound­less­ly beneath the mir­rored sur­face of the water.


  1. The People in the Walls

Me and Sis wad­ed the flood­ed hall­ways of the aban­doned build­ing, search­ing for edi­ble food and clean water. Our bel­lies hung emp­ty and dis­tend­ed beneath our chins; our tongues lay huge and dry and cracked inside our mouths.

As we clomped in slow motion down a long cor­ri­dor, the water scud­ding swift­ly past our waists, we watched small, flat-bod­ied peo­ple wage war with each oth­er inside the walls. Wearing ancient clothes or few clothes or no clothes at all, they stabbed and slashed and burned many oth­ers of their kind, most­ly men, but some women and chil­dren and ani­mals too. Me and Sis kept walk­ing. We didn’t say a word. We had seen so much of that already.

Farther down the cor­ri­dor we dis­cov­ered a vast, com­plex city the flat-bod­ied peo­ple had built inside the walls. Granite obelisks, lin­ing grid­ded streets of stone, yawned along the ceil­ing above our heads. Beneath our feet, refract­ed through the murky bur­ble of the water, sat a mag­nif­i­cent tem­ple of paint­ed mar­ble. Crowded into a nar­row cor­ner where wall met ceil­ing, stood a ham­let of mud­brick huts capped with roofs of thatched straw. As we con­tin­ued on, we noticed that the two dimen­sion­al city was emp­ty of all life, and its streets were stained brown with old blood.

When me and Sis reached the end of the cor­ri­dor, the walls lay bare; the stor­age rooms sat emp­ty; the flat-bod­ied peo­ple were gone with­out a trace. Sis drew a long, slow breath and looked at me. We turned around and began the trudge back home.


Steve Gergley is the author of QUICK PRIMER ON WALLOWING IN DESPAIR: STORIES (LEFTOVER Books ’22). His fic­tion has appeared or is forth­com­ing in Atticus Review, Cleaver Magazine, Hobart, Pithead Chapel, Maudlin House, and oth­ers. In addi­tion to writ­ing fic­tion, he has com­posed and record­ed five albums of orig­i­nal music. He tweets @GergleySteve. His fic­tion can be found at: