Pseudopod 297: Of Ants And Mountains

by Charlie Bookout

“Of Ants And Mountains” is an original to PSEUDOPOD. Charlie says “I visited the nearby city of Joplin, Missouri last year just after an EF5 tornado destroyed much of it. And before long, this story began to slither its way into my head.”

Charlie Bookout lives with his family in Gentry, Arkansas—a creepy little town that’s a stone’s throw from the hillbilly infested Ozark Mountains. He’s one of several rural artists who have converted Gentry’s old mortuary into a studio devoted to independent music and film. He began writing in 2011 and has had stories featured at Silverthought Online and in The Washington Pastime. The artists’ website is at Mortuary Studios, and Charlie’s music can be purchased at his CD baby website.

Your reader this week is the Paul Tevis, who you may know from Podcastle.

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“‘I thought it would be worse,’ I said as we ascended College Lane. ‘But it’s…’ My words caught in my throat. I stomped the brake pedal. Directly in front of us was a red minivan that had come to rest on its top. It was crumpled like tissue paper and was bleeding fluids onto the street. And beyond it was what old Mrs. Cropley must have already seen. The devastation was complete: bricks and cars and furniture… all jumbled together as if some great machine had bit into the earth and churned away for miles. No landmark was recognizable. Here and there the trunk of a tree remained, denuded of its bark. There were fires burning in half a dozen places. And there were people, everywhere in the streets, all in a hurry and accomplishing nothing. From a distance, they looked like ants searching for a pheromone after someone smashed their hill.”