Wednesday, October 6, 2010

3ww: The River

3WW: The River

Three minks. At first I thought there were only two, but in the brush further down, I spotted another one, body wet and limp and wrapped around the weedy fingers of a broken branch. It was bigger. It was the king, I decided. The King of Minks. The other two were its Queen and their daughter, the Princess. Mink royalty, dead and soaked in the mud on the riverbank across from the library, the two-screen cinema, the motel that people lived in all the time.

I thought about asking my sister if they were minks, since she and I played endlessly with the mink stoles our mom had got at a yard sale. Minks with the tail of the next mink in their mouths, sewn together, black bead eyes and skulls that felt strange, lumpy, small. If those circles of fur were plumped up, they might look like this. I tried to figure the odds of minks swimming in the river of our small New England town, but it seemed to go against my theory of a Mink king and his family, so I gave it up and pushed up the head of the Queen with a stick beofre letting it set again atop her daughter's. They were entwined, but next to each other. Neither of them was biting the other. Neither of them had black bead eyes. The river mud seeped into my sneakers, a hint of death, an intimate, cold, slimy smell. My socks were wet.

I pushed at the King with my stick until he tumbled ignobly out of his snare, dropping onto his back with a splat. The water tugged at him, wanting him again. It sluiced away some of the silt, showing the dull brown sheen of his fur. It took two sticks to pull him up more on the bank; he was heavy. His teeth showed for a moment, sharp, and then his head twisted away. I crouched, staring at broken whiskers, curved claws, an ear cut nearly in half. I looked for a long time at the King, and when I stood up again, the Queen and their daughter were gone. I stared out at the river, but I couldn't see them floating. The river moved fast. They might have gone down quite a ways already. I hurried back to the King, but he was already returning to the river. Eyes closed, he slipped in. For a moment, I saw him beneath the water, and then I couldn't tell the brown bottom from a dead mink, and still I watched. I wondered when they would be together again.

We moved. I couldn't come to the river for years. When I did, I drove. There were broken beer bottles and used condoms in the bushes by the tiny parking area. I pushed through weedy young maples and snappy birches, legs scratched. I showed my boyfriend where I had found the minks -- I didn't tell him they were royalty, exiled and drowned. He didn't believe there were minks around, they were probably rats, he said. He stayed away from the river's edge. My sneakers got wet. He told me to come back up, and I could tell he thought this was stupid. Besides, the car was just back there behind us, hidden from the afternoon sun and passing cars on the road above. I turned and looked at him, cajoling me, lust in his eyes. The river soaked into my sneakers all the way, my toes getting cold. The river kills everything, because it loves death.

I followed him back up, the river in my shoes. I thought about mink floating under the water. I thought about them for a long time that afternoon.


Thank you again to everyone who stops by and reads. This week's words were hint, sheen, lust. It was quite difficult not to write outright porn, because god knows, I loves me some porn. Also, the above is true.

Hey, 3ww partiers! Luna Station Quarterly is hosting its 31 days of writing challenges for Rocktober right now. It works much the same way as 3ww: a prompt a day, you write a genre fic story up to 500 words and email them the link, which they add to the posts so that people can go around and read. LSQ is a genre fiction zine, and normally, they only allow the ladies to submit to the zine. But for this month's challenge, the boys can play too. See the link above for the info. If you're not familiar with LSQ, look them up. I love their stuff, especially their stories of the week.


  1. Royal minks, I was right there, you write wonderfully :o)

  2. 'The river loves everything because it loves death' - what a killer ending to such a strong, vivid story. Jae

  3. There´s an almost dreamlike quality to this, as I suppose is sometimes the case with things you´ve experienced in childhood. You descibe it very well, I get a clear image of the viscous river and the slow, indifferent movements of the minks. Also, love the soaked sneakers.

  4. You inspire me to write better. Seriously. This is good in so many ways.

  5. Lovely. So full of wonderfully melancholic detail. "The river kills everything, because it loves death". Brilliant.

  6. yes, it does have a dream like quality...and flows as the river does back and forth... amazing the adventures we have as children that we need to come back to and find again... glad to have stopped by....