Logo, MacQueen's Quinterly
Listed at Duotrope
MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Microfiction: 318 words
By Luanne Castle

A Mountain Like a Painting


As I exit my neighborhood, I stop at the red light and notice the mountain has moved behind Taco Bell and is no longer to the right behind the plaza with the optical shop and the dry cleaners. On the way to work I ponder this phenomenon. Either the mountain itself moved or the buildings moved. Which is the more likely scenario?

I cringe when my boss hands me back the morning’s report and points out my errors, but how many pallets each truck delivered seems ridiculous in light of a possible disruption of our position on earth. My house could be somewhere else by the time I get home. The more I try not to think about it, the worse the hornets swarm in my stomach, arms, and legs.

By the time I get home it’s dark with low hanging clouds, so I can’t see the mountain at all. With a flashlight, I measure the distance between my house and the neighbors, my house and the street. I scribble the figures on my arm in case I wake to discover I have moved elsewhere and can’t find my notes.

Next morning the mountain is still behind Taco Bell. My first thought is, thank goodness that nothing has moved any more. My second is to talk to someone else about it, so I run inside to get my breakfast crunchwrap and coffee. I ask the counter attendant if she noticed, but she gives me a look so empty for so long I move to the side, away from her. Then I catch the eye of the guy wrapping tortillas around a spoonful of beans and ask him. “I know what you mean,” he says. “It’s like the eyes on a painting that follow you around. The mountain is watching us.” I take my purchase and go back home where I call in sick.

Luanne Castle’s
Issue 23 (April 2024)

poetry and prose have been nominated for the Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, and Best of the Net; and have appeared in Bending Genres, Copper Nickel, Does It Have Pockets, The Dribble Drabble Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Flash Boulevard, Pleiades, River Teeth, Saranac Review, South 85 Journal, TAB Journal, Verse Daily, and other journals. She is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Rooted and Winged (Finishing Line Press 2022), a Book Excellence Award Winner; and Doll God (Kelsay Books 2015), which won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Poetry. Her chapbooks are Our Wolves (Alien Buddha Press 2023) and Kin Types (Finishing Line Press 2017), a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Luanne lives with five cats in Arizona along a wash that wildlife uses as a thoroughfare.

Author’s website: https://www.luannecastle.com/

Copyright © 2019-2024 by MacQueen’s Quinterly and by those whose works appear here.
Logo and website designed and built by Clare MacQueen; copyrighted © 2019-2024.
⚡   Please report broken links to: MacQuinterly [at] gmail [dot] com   ⚡

At MacQ, we take your privacy seriously. We do not collect, sell, rent, or exchange your name and email address, or any other information about you, to third parties for marketing purposes. When you contact us, we will use your name and email address only in order to respond to your questions, comments, etc.