Aphelion Issue 277, Volume 26
October 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Scarlet Poppies

by Ron Larson

Adapted from a story by Ulric Daubeny

He was paddling his canoe on a beautiful day,
When he saw an old mill falling into decay.
He banked his canoe, deciding to look around.
Then he noticed the total absence of sound.

A line of scarlet poppies led up to the mill.
It was like blood trail, and he felt a slight chill.
He looked through a grating and saw a closed trunk.
And the fetid air from the basement stunk.

He entered the mill by climbing rotted stairs.
He could almost swear he was the object of stares.
A gaping hole was in the center of the room.
He looked below, thinking he could be doomed.

That’s cuz the trunk was open and he felt a nudge.
An invisible thing was trying to make him budge.
He fought against this force with everything he had.
He regained the strength he had as a strapping lad.

He was successful, although he lost his right shoe.
He kicked off the other one, and, oh, how he flew!
Pushing off in his canoe, he heard sound again.
He would always remember this scary lesson.

2018 Ron Larson

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