COPYRIGHT © 2016 PETER HOULAHAN. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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SHORT STORIES

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The Curve of the Earth
The Cattle Train
A con man, teenage boy and a mysterious drifter girl cross into a dangerous Mexican border town and enter the terrifying world of human trafficking.

Neal found the two Mexicans standing over
the girl the moment he opened the motel room

door.  Federales in their olive green uniforms
and black-billed hats, roaming the Baja like freelancers accountable to no one.  Syd was in her shorts, sitting in the steel and vinyl chair with her shirt off bare to the waist except for a towel wrapped around her wet hair. 

A rancher and his young son come
to the aid of a derailed cattle train
and find themselves in a nightmarish scene of blood and death, both animal and human.

Ahead, the wash opened up like a gash in
the earth glowing orange and yellow from the dwindling flames. The wooden rail bridge sagged where it had been weakened by the flash flood and then it vanished altogether
along with the front end of the train leaving the remainder of its cars sitting motionless on the tracks like a decapitated snake. They began to hear the wailing of cattle.

A Home on the River
A government official and a rural sheriff clash when brought together
to confront a dangerous, rogue logger who has refused a government order to vacate his home.

They found the lumberman in the rear bedroom lying on the bed, head thrown back, his blue eyes staring flatly at the ceiling. The small pistol lay on the floor where it had kicked out of his hand when he pulled the trigger. The marshal bent down and studied the gun and then he walked to the bed and lifted the blanket and looked down at the dead boy lying at his father’s side. “Good God,” he said softly to himself.  “What an awful thing to do.”