Dotted Line Dotted Line

Fiction Summer 2014    poetry    all issues


Cover Mia Funk

Bill Pippin

Chris Belden
The Finger

Amberle L. Husbands
Only Whistle Stops

Kyle A. Valenta
The Narrows

Robert Martin

Eileen Arthurs
Portrait of an Artist, After All

Gibson Monk
The Tenth Part of Desire

J. S. Simmons
Bodies In Motion and At Rest

Nancy Nguyen
Truck Stop

Melissa Ragsly
The Pigeons of Apartment 9C

KC Kirkley

B. Yvette Yun
Fire in the Sky

Katharine O’Flynn
The Island

Brent DeLanoy

Daniel C. Bryant
Out County Road

John Mort
Red Rock Valley

Zac Hill
Conversations With Dakota Fanning

Haley Norris
The Last Day

Winner of $100 for 3rd-place-voted Story

Writer's Site

Amberle L. Husbands

Only Whistle Stops

They’d been calling him Antman so long that even he’d stopped wondering where the name came from. Whenever some truly devoted fan of his music found their way down to Flowery Branch, Georgia, and began asking around about him, a well-meaning local was sure to set them straight:

“Who? . . . Oh, oh, you must mean Antman.”

And then that fan would get an educational earful. They would stumble out of the Pour House Tavern, back out onto Main Street, and go home to spread what they’d learned . . . But after all, it wasn’t such a bad thing. “Antman” certainly made a better stage name than “Elmer” did.

Elmer Hugen had been “Antman” so long, in fact, that the name—shouted by a frightened voice as he lay snoring in an unfamiliar bed—snatched him up out of dream-sleep quicker than “Elmer” ever would have. He jumped out of bed in a sudden cold sweat, ready to fight; then the room began to dip drunkenly around his head, and he sat back down hard on the lopsided mattress, wondering if the motel was on fire. It claimed to be fireproof, but Elmer had learned that nothing on the jazz circuit was really fireproof. Everything burned, if you got it hot enough.

Elmer himself was capable of combustion, as he’d found out with that presumptuous redhead in Mobile. She’d gotten him hot enough, all right, with her gum smacking, her nasal disdain, her unsatisfied sighs . . . And when he’d finally burnt out, when the flames clouding his vision had finally cleared, she’d been as pale as ashes, spread across the mattress.

Slowly, the hotel room began to come into focus out of his dreams. The plastic-framed, square-faced clock by the door said it was nearly four in the morning, and it was hot; Carolina-coastline-in-July hot. All of Mount Pleasant had been sweating, rippling beneath the sun, ever since they’d gotten into town a week ago.

“Get up, man,” the voice was still shouting. “C’mon, Ant, we gotta go!”

Snapshots of the scene would stick with him and resurface later, although the complete timeline was lost along with his broken-off bum wine dreams: Empty green bottles upside down in a wire trash basket. Trumpet case by the door, looking ready to bolt with or without him. A lady’s scarlet shoe with the heel snapped off, lonely on the floor. A hot, flamingo pink moon burning in past the crooked blackout curtains. And a foot.

A woman’s bare foot and pink toenail polish, peeking out from behind the bathroom door . . . Elmer barely had time to notice it, in the general smear of things around him. He wouldn’t remember, later, whether he’d seen the leg attached to it, or the woman herself. He wouldn’t be able to recall whether or not he knew her, or whether she was sleeping, or dead, or three-eyed, or two-headed. All he could remember were her hot-pink toenails; her foot looking pale and clean against the dirty motel carpeting.

He was sitting down with a shoe in his hand—his own shoe—and suddenly pain was tearing into his toes, as he yanked the shoe back off, yelping.

“Man, keep quiet! Come on, Ant—”

Elmer let the man yell; it was Jonah Crabtree, his drummer. Jonah was always yelling about something. Ignoring him, Elmer poked cautiously into the toe of his left shoe, scooping out the thing that had attacked his innocent foot, and came up holding an orange kitten in the palm of his big, doughy hand.

Or maybe it was holding him—biting fiercely, deep into his knuckles.

“Man, get up already! I’m telling you, we have got to go!”

Jonah threw a coat over Elmer’s shoulders, pushing the big man up off the mattress. But the night’s alcoholic fevers swelled back up, swallowing him in blackness once more. He felt himself getting lost in blackout, sleep-walking the last few inches back into oblivion. Elmer, next thing he knew, had the kitten in one coat pocket, his trumpet case banging against his knee, and could feel the cold breeze off an incoming train against his beach-burned face.

“Just like Mobile,” Jonah kept muttering to himself, shaking his head and trembling. Elmer knew that part of it was the drugs, but there was more to it than just that. Poor Jonah was really, truly scared this time.

Just like Mobile . . .

Elmer sighed against the greasy train window, watching fields of wet cotton whip by.

Yep, just like Mobile, he thought. And Plant City, and Hastings . . . Just like in Juliette and all of the other cities Jonah don’t know about . . .

But none of them died, he reasoned.

None of them you’re sure about, some quiet voice inside him whispered back.

There was no news while they were on the train. No news from Mount Pleasant, at least. Town after town rolled up over the horizon, but they all turned out to be only whistle stops, miniature cotton or corn meccas populated by old men and sulking, dirty kids who only wanted to be runaways.

Elmer didn’t leave his seat the entire trip, half afraid of who he might see on the platforms. They’d decided, anyway, it’d be best if his face wasn’t seen in any of the stations between Mount Pleasant, North Carolina, and . . . wherever it was they were going. Jonah, though, got off at every stop, selling a little dope on the platform—never enough to become conspicuous, but they would need some spending money, after all—and picking up the local newspapers.

Elmer sat hunched down each time, waiting for his partner to get back, and watching the gray faces passing by on the platform below, all warped and muddied by the soot-and-rain film on the windows. He didn’t know at first who he was looking for. Then, he realized with a sick shock, he knew he was looking for her; she of the pink-painted toenails. It couldn’t really have been as he’d seen it, he thought. Those things never turned out to be real, once the liquor was sweated out. He was waiting to see her smile from the crowd below, waiting to be woken up from what still felt like a whiskey nightmare.

Each time, though, they rode farther and farther from the scene at the motel, and reality grew up a little bit stronger in his mind. Each time, Jonah brought him a fresh stack of reality, in hard black-and-white newsprint, and forced him to paw through it.

“Well, what’cha got?” Jonah asked nervously, as the train pulled away from yet another tiny, dirt-road town. He was in too frantic a state to read it for himself.

Elmer shook out the newspaper carefully, trying not to disturb the tiny ball of fur that curled against his stomach. After a few pieces of roast beef and a good long sleep, the kitten had turned out to be a pacifist after all; Elmer had been calling him Monk, while Jonah was calling Elmer nuts.

“Huh, they arrested Bugs Moran,” Elmer reported. “‘Bank Robbery.’”

“Yeah, like that’ll stick.”

“ . . . More complaints about the bomb broadcast . . . Everyone wishes they’d had a better view . . . Hey, look at this right here, I was telling you—”


“Back page, the picture.”

“Oh, hey now! Ain’t she something? Who in the—”

“Some French guy. He’s calling it ‘the bikini’ . . . Not a week goes by and they’re naming underwear after the A-bomb, huh?”

“Yeah, go on . . . What else?”

Elmer shook his head. “Nothing. Nothing about it. Nothing from Mount Pleasant, nothing about a murder . . . nothing.”

Jonah sat back in his seat again. He’d been twisting his cap into a formless tweed rag for hours, sleepless, watching the marshes speed by.

“Hey Ant, you know I know you didn’t do anything to her . . . I came around ’bout four, man, and your door was wide open, I knew you and her had been at it, so I thought I’d . . . and she was just there, on the carpet—”

“I know, Joe. Don’t worry, man.”

“ . . . I know you’re not like that,” he added guiltily.

“Thanks, Joe.”

The train was a rough one, the tracks worn out. Their whole trip smelled like old, wet cigar smoke and too many different brands of perfume. Elmer’s skull was being split down the center by a dull bum wine chisel, and its insides felt too full; he wished he could just tip forward and spill some of it out onto the floor, to relieve himself.

“So what do we do now?” Jonah asked finally, sounding shaky.

Elmer didn’t know what to do now. He didn’t remember more than that foot, the pink toenails, the motel door left wide open to the hot night . . .

“Guess we cut the tour short, huh?”

He tried to smile, but Jonah was having none of it. “Yeah, I guess . . . You know that guy Gary Conway, out west? You know, Gary from Atlanta, he went out over the Rockies one summer, then moved to—”

“Yeah, yeah, I know him. San Francisco. He’s a poet, right?”

“Oh . . . I don’t know . . . I think I can put up with him for a while, though. We used to go camping, when we was kids, right out there where the Appalachians end. I think he’d—”

“Sure, yeah, San Francisco,” Elmer was nodding absently, watching a wild, wet tangle of the east coast sweep by outside. “Good idea, man. That’d be good for you, have a good sunny, western vacation. See some girls in bikinis, I bet.”

Jonah let his cap rest, finally, staring at it in his lap. He and Elmer had always made a good pair on stage; the big-bellied, nearly bald, dough-skinned trumpet player and the short, dark, mop-headed drummer. People often thought the contrast was intentional, like they were a Vaudeville act in disguise. People all around them were constantly waiting for the punch line, waiting to be amused.

“Hey man,” Jonah began, apologetically, “I’m sorry about all this . . . if you want—”

“Naw, that’s cool, man, don’t worry about it . . . Think I’ll head down home, spend a little time with some old friends of the family. Just lay low and let happen what may.”

Jonah nodded, both of them staring out the window. Finally, Jonah reached in his hip pocket and fished out a thin fold of paper money—dope money, Elmer knew—and handed it to him. “Better change trains, then. You’re headed the wrong way, for Flowery Branch.”

Monk the cat seemed more than content to spend his whole life asleep in coat pockets. After an hour in Flowery Branch, Elmer envied him that contentment. He knew that there was a fat-and-laughing Buddha; in fact, he’d often been told by drunk artists, poets, and con men that he resembled the guy. But he wondered if there’d ever been a sleeping-kitten Buddha. He thought there probably should be.

It wasn’t until Elmer walked into the Pour House and pulled up a stool at the bar, that he felt he’d come home. Before he’d left to seek his fortune, they could have kept the bar running on his own donations alone.

The bartender was a new guy, though, younger than Elmer and looking far too fresh for Flowery Branch. He got Elmer his beer and turned away to hover over the radio again, listening to a boxing match. The kitten stretched and settled itself again, heavy in Elmer’s pocket.

Down the bar, Brother Gostwick leaned over his drink, looking exactly the same as he had the night Elmer had left town, six years before. His eyes stared in the same way, looking at nothing, not blind but refusing to see anything before them. He might even have been wearing the same old coat, Elmer thought, and drinking the same old glass of whiskey. He was tempted to go down and run a finger over the brim of the old man’s hat, looking for dust.

“Hey Brother, how have you been?” he called, remembering to raise his voice as Brother—if not yet blind—had long ago willed himself as good as deaf.

“Fair to middlin’,” the old man croaked. He’d always reminded Elmer of an ancient toad, watching history happen around him from a hole in a log. “Ain’t seen you around much, Elmer. You come back to town for good, then?”

Elmer hadn’t decided that, yet. He hadn’t thought of anything more than getting away from the trains, diving down into a place where the world couldn’t come after him.

“I’m staying with the Foresters, for a while. Just needed a little break from the road, you know. Thought I’d work on some new music, rest up a bit. Get a little down home cooking back on my bones, before I wither away.”

Elmer slapped his sloping stomach, but Brother didn’t laugh. “People come through here, asking about you. All these dirty people with notebooks asking questions about your religion and what you was like as a kid . . . We set ’em straight.”

“I’m sure you do.”

“What was that?”

“I said ‘Thank you,’ Brother.”

“They all call you Antman, now, don’t they?” Now the old toad laughed. “In the papers and everything, eh? Ol’ Antman Hugen . . .”

“Yeah, I guess,” Elmer shrugged. “It’s a good stage name, people remember it . . . Can I get another beer, here?”

“They ask about you as a kid, and we all tell ’em. You were a strange one, that’s for sure. We tell ’em about that girl, and how you— Oh, she’s still around here, Carol. Got a scar, now, on her chin, but it barely shows.”

“I never hit her—”

“She never talks to ’em, the tourists, never really comes down here anymore. Works up at the library. Married to that Ned Helms, and working on kids . . . I don’t think she blames you, Ant. Carol was a good girl, but she had that runaway streak they all get at that age. You can’t hold that against a girl, around here, not when they get right again later. Naw, she don’t hold it against you.”

“That’s because I never . . .”

“What’s that?”

“I said, ‘That’s great, Brother, thank you.’”

Elmer swallowed the last of his beer and sat turning the glass around through wet circles on the bar top. All of Flowery Branch seemed to remember Elmer as a teenage punk with bloody knuckles, driving a crying girl home from some dance he barely remembered now.

“He’s throwing it,” the bartender mumbled to himself, shaking his head. “Damn son of a bitch is throwing the fight, tonight . . .”

Buck and Nancy Forester were the type of people who moved out just beyond the city-limit line and into mobile-home territory, then put up a white picket fence to keep out their neighbors. But then Nance’s spinster aunt died, and they moved into her place right downtown, taking the fence along with them.

News from what had happened broke the first morning after Elmer got to town. He had come downstairs before either of the Foresters, and sat on their front porch listening to Nance making coffee and Buck knocking about half asleep in their upstairs bedroom. They’d put him up in Nance’s tiny sewing room, on a little cot beneath the window, and he’d woken up to the smells of crepe myrtle and honeysuckle, with Monk chasing his toes around through the cotton sheet.

The Foresters lived a block off of Main Street. Early morning life was trickling up and down the sidewalk. Elmer popped open the can of tuna he’d bought the evening before, and sectioned off a little chunk of it for Monk. Then, on second thought, he set the kitten and the entire can down together on Nance’s little garden table, sitting himself down in a wicker chair beside it. The kitten was a scrawny, ragged, alley-fight-looking thing; he felt guilty enough not having cat food for him. The least he could do was to let him eat himself as fat and blissful as he wanted to on tuna.

Monk dug into the can wide-mouthed and purring. One mouthful and all was instantly good again in his world; he was a happy cat by nature.

“Lucky you, little man,” Elmer muttered, petting him. He could hear Nance Forester shuffling around in the kitchen.

The Forester’s had a dog—a big skinny shepherd named Bullet—who laid at the head of the porch steps, panting already in the early heat and watching Monk closely. At first Elmer had worried about it, but they’d assured him Bullet wasn’t a mean dog.

“Morning, Elm,” Nance chirped, tripping out into the sunshine. “There’s coffee on the stove, if you’d like.”

“Thanks, that’s great. In a minute.”

She smiled and stepped lightly over Bullet to fish the morning paper from her boxwoods. The sun cut through her skirt and, just for a millisecond, Elmer could see the sharp, dark lines of her legs scissoring beneath it. He’d been thinking about Carol Hurley—now Carol Helms, he reminded himself—ever since she’d been mentioned in the bar, the night before.

Whenever he came home, he thought of her the entire time. Never with regret, though; they’d had a peaceful parting. Things turned out how they had to, he thought, and that didn’t change the fact that they’d been good for one another, for a while. During the first couple of years, every time he rode through Flowery Branch, she had met him for a dinner where they laughed at nothing in particular and drank just enough wine to be wary of one another. Then, each time, things got quiet, she went home, and he went on to the train station. After a while, he’d stopped coming through Flowery Branch at all.

Nance had taken the paper inside to Buck. Elmer didn’t mind; she had her loyalties, and he was sick of seeing newsprint anyway. Monk finished off the entire can of tuna and curled down over his own feet, belly rounded out tight and gurgling, his little kitten eyes squeezed shut as if trying to keep every scrap of happiness captive within himself.

Elmer stole some of it anyway, smiling and scratching behind the tiny ears with one big, rough finger.

“Are you gonna play for us later?” Nance asked, coming out with her own coffee cup and one for him. “It’s black and sweet, I hope—”

“That’s fine, Nance, thanks. I didn’t expect you to fix it. Thanks . . .”

She sat down across from him and crossed her legs like a lady, leaning back in the sun and smiling. He could tell she was happy to have a guest, no matter who it was. She wouldn’t have cared if the postman walked into her kitchen and asked for a place to sleep; she’d have beamed and started dragging out extra pillows, putting on the coffee.

“You know, I used to love to hear you play,” she said, bubbling over. “Did you know that? We used to live across the alley, in back of your mamma’s place.”

“Oh yeah, I’d forgotten that,” he said. “You were so many years behind us in school, me and Buck, I guess—”

I guess he noticed and I didn’t, he’d almost said, but stopped himself. Nance Wrigley had been a little girl in her brother’s overalls, with her hair chopped off bluntly at the chin-line, who’d kept a pet crow that always smelled like road kill. How was he to know she’d spring up into the graceful, lemon-fresh thing she was now? She wasn’t listening to him anyway, lost in admiration of Monk’s pretty, fat belly and yellow eyes.

“I used to love it when you’d play Buddy Boldin,” she went on. “Momma hated that . . . I’d sit down behind the alley fence where you wouldn’t know I was listening . . .”

“You were in Carol Hurley’s classes, weren’t you?” he asked, fishing.

“Oh, that’s right, you and she were a thing. I’d forgotten that. You know she got married, right? Well, that was only a year ago now, and, well Ned says she’s visiting a cousin, somewhere, but Carol never liked any of her own family enough to go visit them . . . I think she’s run off with someone, but you never know, really.”

Buck came down the stairs with heavy, thudding steps. They could hear him in the kitchen, and Bullet heaved himself up dutifully, tail swinging, to greet his master.

“Out! Go on, get out, back out Bullet, out! Out!”

The dog scrabbled backwards through the open door happily, and Buck followed him, coffee in one hand and paper rattling in the other. Elmer scooped Monk off of the table just before Buck had thrown the newspaper down in the middle of it, folded back to the second or third page.

“There you go, right there in black and white! Old Antman strikes again!”

It took a minute for the picture on the page to sink into Elmer’s brain and make any sense. But there he was, on the train platform in Mount Pleasant, trumpet case in hand and a stony look on his face. Jonah was pictured, too, but had his collar turned up and faced away, up the tracks, unidentifiable. Elmer looked at his own profile, there; he thought he looked a little bit like the gangsters they showed from New York and Chicago. Maybe that was the big secret, he thought. Maybe they all looked so tough and hard because of early morning bum wine hangovers.

“Says you killed a woman in Mount Pleasant, right there.”

Elmer shook his head. “Buck, I never killed anyone—”


“Nance, it’s okay, I never killed anyone!” He leaned over the paper and then sat back again. “It’s got to be some mistake. We were in Mount Pleasant for a week of shows at the—”

“I know, the paper says so, right there,” Buck declared, pointing. “And on the last night, this woman, this whats-her-name, no-one knows her, she shows up dead in the motel, and ya’ll are getting on the first train outta there . . . Doesn’t sound like a mistake to me. Just sounds like Antman Hugen, all over again.”

“This is silly, Buck,” Nance said, standing up with her coffee. “There’s no way Elmer did something like that. I mean, it says there that this woman was a . . . well those women show up dead all the time. They just do stupid things, they do drugs, or they . . . there’s no telling. But that’s no reason for them to go accusing Elmer—”

“Nance, you’re younger, you don’t remember.”

“I remember fine,” she snapped, turning with a swish of her skirts and retreating back into the house. Bullet raised his head to watch her go, then looked questioningly to see what Buck would do. When Buck sat down, the dog lowered his head again and went back to watching the street. Elmer was steady staring after Nance’s shadow; for just a moment, she’d looked like someone else.

“She doesn’t remember right,” Buck was saying, looking darkly at the paper.

Nobody in town seemed to remember right, Elmer thought. They remembered bloody knuckles, or cherry bombs in mailboxes. The fireworks had been Buck’s idea, anyway. But Buck had become a dentist, by the time Elmer had left town with his trumpet.

Elmer sighed, deciding to speak simply and clear things up as quickly as possible, cutting to the heart of the matter.

“Should I leave, Buck? I can go down to the—”

“Naw, naw, it’s not so much of a thing . . . Nance is right about that part. These women, it happens all the time. Won’t be a big thing, even if they do get you.”

“Buck, I swear I didn’t—”

He stopped, because Buck was laughing. “Ant, don’t you think I know you a little better than that? Come one, give me some credit . . . We knew, even as kids, what kind of person you were . . . You remember why they called you that, right? Our parents?”

“What, ‘Antman’? No, actually . . . They just always did, and then you kids did. Then everyone else did too.”

“You used to volunteer, each summer, to go around every yard in town and pour gasoline on the ant hills. Every summer, man. You just loved it, I guess, watching all those little things run . . .”

He spent the afternoon upstairs, writing. Every few hours, Nance would call up to check on him, but for the most part her awe of his occupation kept her away. Buck had gone off to pull some rotten teeth, somewhere, and Bullet paced just inside the picket fence, tiger-striped in its shadow, anxiously awaiting his master’s return.

The cat, Monk, was still recovering from whatever unknown trauma had driven him to shelter in Elmer’s shoe to begin with; he slept on and on, curled on the borrowed pillow, smelling of tuna fish.

While he wrote—fingering the notes before penciling them down, occasionally throwing out a trill to hear how it filled the air—Elmer thought of the cat. He still liked the idea of a supremely enlightened kitten; it was a musical concept, he thought. But he had to realistically consider the animal’s future, too. When Elmer grew bold enough to leave Flowery Branch again, what would happen to Monk? A life on the road didn’t seem right for a cat, he thought.

Besides, he didn’t even know if the cat would want to stay with a person like him. Would the weekend in Flowery Branch—in a town that didn’t know anything except that Elmer Hugen must be a dirty, violent man—be enough to turn Monk against him, too? Would the hate be contagious?

Elmer chuckled, wondering how you could explain yourself to a cat. I was only doing it for the money, he thought, practicing. I was saving for a blues harp, I was eight years old, I got nothing against ants, honest.

I swear, I never hit her. I loved her . . .

I swear, I never saw a woman in the room . . .

“But you know that, I guess,” he said aloud. “I’ll bet you saw the whole thing . . . whatever it was.”

Monk raised his pretty orange head and yawned.

No, Elmer thought, a cat would know better than to hold a decade’s worth of schoolyard flogging against a grown man. Monk would stick with him. Monk was hip. He laid down on the cot and scooped the ball of fur up onto his big stomach, feeling drowsy.

Towards evening, the sun began to press against the window above his head, making him think of the red crepe myrtles outside and of baseball games played an eternity ago. The hiding out—which he finally admitted was what he was doing—began to gnaw at him, until he did feel like some Chicago gangster, laid up in a safe house somewhere.

He went downstairs, taking Monk along on his shoulder, swinging his trumpet from one hand. In the kitchen, Nance was pulling boiled chicken from its bones, planning a pot-pie for dinner. She reached up towards Monk—having to stand on her toes—and he needled her chicken-flavored fingertips inquisitively, never satisfied.

“You want some lemonade?” Nance asked, smelling like flour and vegetables and boiling meat. “We don’t keep any beer around . . . It was sounding good, up there, by the way.”

Elmer realized she couldn’t have heard anything but his experimental blatting, and he was still full of the song, ecstatic with it. He took her out onto the porch, settled her in a chair and Monk on the banister, stood in the red sun and pressed his lips into the familiar mouthpiece.

The music was something like catfish passing just below your bare feet, in a cool brown stream. It came out swimming slow, seductive. You were always waiting, watching for the big one, the monster, really only half believing in his existence. Elmer pulled the notes and bent them, imagining the music as a hot molten thing, then sculpting it cool and smooth.

He began breaking the music over various images that came to mind, silently thanking the weird universe for the scenario it had delivered him into—the week at Mount Pleasant, this surreal homecoming—all that had put the song into his own simple head. He was seeing Carol in his mind, growing older and older over a string of dinners spaced too far apart, and felt the music taking him out of his own outdated flesh. He saw her smiling, throwing his own sappy devotion back in his face, laughing out the music . . .

Nance Forester saw the thing a moment before it happened and half-shrieked, jumping to her feet. Elmer, his eyes closed to hold in all the music he could, only saw the aftermath: Nance with her shoe pulled off and the shepherd dog scrabbling away, down the porch steps, with his tail tucked and looking wounded. And the kitten, Monk, his little orange kitten—

“Oh Elmer! I’m so sorry, I can’t believe he did that! He’s never been mean, he—” Nance was already on her knees, staining her fingertips red in futility; she was already crying with the thing barely over with. Elmer had to love her, a little bit, for giving up that much.

Elmer couldn’t look at it, though. He couldn’t stand to be part of it. Instead, he looked out to the street, the trees in bloom, and the sun setting on the noiseless town. Nance cried, apologizing, and a wind blew through the boxwoods. Elmer looked away from it all. Way up high, always too far away, he was looking for the face of some God to stretch down, to lean in and hear the music.

Amberle L. Husbands is a writer, sheetmetal mechanic, and native-daughter of the Okefenokee. Her short stories have appeared in Shock Totem, the Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes, and on Underground Voices, along with other magazines and websites. Her first novel, See Eads City, is currently available for order through, as well as from Barnes & Noble. When she isn’t writing, Amberle spends her time throwing knives and teaching the English language to houseplants.

Dotted Line