Palisade at Kevin's Coulee


Second Prize winner of the 15th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest

We have reached, sir, an impasse. Culligan and Meryfeld and Casper and Oberchuk—wounded since the fifth, we can smell it from here—have the gardens and the schoolhouse. I believe Culligan has three Lee-Enfields, and of course the Bren, but has ammunition only for the .303s (and not much of that, I think). We still have the armoury, the mess, the smithy, the radio room (smashed, but the 24-volt array is intact), the barracks and the well. We control the gate. They took one shot at Becker as he rode out to find the Lieutenant, and the locusts did not seem to notice until he was past Kevin’s Coulee. I haven’t decided who will carry this or how.

They do not fly, except for the smaller ones that have not fed from Lazy-A or Seven-Up or the sump near the factory. The problem is in the morning before the solar panels have charged up the fence. They do not stir until the sun is up and, for about a half hour or more, we take pot shots at the hardier ones that don’t mind a few volts tickling their bellies as they climb over. They seem to be learning, which is disconcerting. Walcott tried eating one—just the legs—but got feverish and I don’t think he is quite right even now.

We have twenty-three cases of .30-30 for the five Winchesters, and we know that Standingready is a match for Meryfeld any day. The signal gun is loaded with canister (mostly fourpenny nails and sawdust) and placed where Culligan can see it, but no one is looking forward to lighting that brass bastard.

Your Mary died last Thursday and we buried her out back of the armoury for now. Some said we should remove the dress, the apricot one with the lace that you gave her for her birthday, but I gave orders that she be buried in it. I hope I did right. The locket with the photo of you and Clemmie I placed to her lips then set aside, and it waits for you (in the clock, if we do not meet again). Patel also died (from that block and tackle that we knew could go—I blame myself) and I took the liberty of placing him in Mary’s grave for the time being (facing up). And Decker.

The fence is down now.

And Müller.



Cameron G. Muir is a retired lawyer and an MFA student in the writing program at the University of Saskatchewan. He writes contemporary and historical fiction.



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