Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright – Henry Mitchell

ttbbcover900 words Children 7 – 10 years

Ellis had no ticket and missed the circus. Blake had no money and missed his train. They both missed their dinner. Otherwise, they might never have been friends.

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Ellis stood across the road from the railway, watching the train pulling away. The cars with brightly painted pictures of animals and strange people on their sides too weathered and begrimed to look really cheerful, but as the train passed, gathering speed, Ellis saw two clowns on the rear platform of the caboose. He waved hopefully. The thin clown, absorbed in trying to light his cigar, didn’t see Ellis, but the fat one waved back. The big smile painted on his face made him appear happy to be leaving Ellis behind.

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Walt and the Preacher – Henry Mitchell

Walt and the preacher3000 words General Fiction

Nathan Widenhouse wasn’t much of a preacher.
Walt Coggins was no saint.
They took the same road home.

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Nathan Widenhouse asked his hopeless question to the old highlander whose fire he was sharing, “Mister Coggins, your sister would feel a lot better about your eternal prospects if you would join us for worship at the church now and again.” Walt Coggins, looking as old and craggy as the mountain looming over his small cabin, closed his eyes, nodded an indication that he was thinking about what the preacher said, sat silent long enough that Nathan wondered if he were asleep. Walt startled the young clergyman by spitting a sizzling wad into the fire, and then gave Nathan a broad, sparsely toothed smile, “It ain’t that I’m agin church, Preacher; just that it’s harder to fly when you’re in a cage.”

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Whiskey Nancy – Henry Mitchell

whiskeynanceycover026500 words General Fiction

When a neighbor’s greed left Nancy Holloway homeless and alone, she didn’t dwell on her losses. She thought of the two men who had loved her. Between them, they had given her a new beginning.

Included in the collection Dark on the Mountain 

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John Hampton had trouble finding his footing in the dark. He hadn’t wanted to be on the mountain so late, but he’d made a wrong turn after the last creek crossing. By the time he realized his mistake and backtracked to the right trail, the valley was in the mountain’s shadow. As one last smudge of crimson above the mountain’s brow faded into inky night, John still wasn’t certain he’d found the way he’d intended. Through the bare branches webbed and woven overhead, he could see occasional sparks of stars. The moon had not quite risen above the bulk of the far ridge.

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Wilderness Way – Henry Mitchell

WildernessWaycover2650 words General Fiction / Humour

Nothing lasts forever, although we try to imagine we are permanent. When the end approaches, we ignore the signs, usually never see it coming until we wind up somebody elses history. There were signs enough in Pearis Falls, had anyone noticed.

Included in the collection Dark on the Mountain 

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Outside the drive-in window at the Hot Pot Coffee Spot, Chuck Bonner shouted thanks over the yammering of his engine as he pulled in two coffees and bacon-egg-and-cheese biscuits and handed them to Jerry, his lugger. Jerry was also a friend of sorts, although Chuck considered him reliable only as a drinking partner. Unappetizing diesel fumes wafted into the cab before Chuck could close the window again. “Careful with that,” Chuck warned as he handed the flimsy, over-burdened cardboard tray to Jerry. “Hot stuff.”

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Winter Light – Henry Mitchell

Winter Light3680 words General Fiction / Literary / Fantasy

Samuel Coggins, author, teacher, widowed. Sam is a lonely man, but he has more friends than he knows. He’s achieved a successful life, which he feels is all behind him. Sam carries his losses with as much grace as he can muster. Tonight, his load is about to lighten considerably.

This story is included in the collection This Land is My Land

Reader Reviews HERE

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Vehicles surge along the street below; people throng the sidewalks, but the traffic is barely audible in Sam’s fifth floor apartment. Through the glass doors, he watches the domed summit of the High Balsam purple beyond the high rises. Above the mountain, salmon hued contrails garland across a darkling sky where a single silvered shard, diamond bright, plows the air, hurtling a hundred souls toward nightfall and Atlanta. As day bleeds away, stars begin to blossom faintly, declaring evening even in the glare of the city. The stars will not be noticed in the streets, but here, above the flow of urban nonsense, Sam counts them, and remembers countless more he would see if he were on the distant mountain.

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