Thunder above, fire below

Thunder storm

In the dark agony of the sky, lightning reigned and thunder became.  Ensconced in the cab of the Ford pickup, Tom Jamieson, the driller for Hudson Drilling, sat behind the wheel gazing at the rig, staring at the strands of rain running down the windshield.  Beside him, Ramone Estavez, his roughneck on the rig, tapped him on the shoulder, passing him the thermos bottle nearly full of milk-warm coffee.  Chauncey poured himself a cup of coffee, while Ramone lit up a cigarette, cautiously dispelling the smoke exhalation away from Tom, as well as Ron Alvarez, the other roughneck, sitting to his right.

Just a half-hour prior, they had been working the rig, carving up spicules of shale, probing the underbelly of the Wingate formation for old stream bed deposits of uranium.  Beginning as a light drizzle, the rain blossomed into a full thundershower.  At the first sign of lightning, Chauncey hoisted the kelly rod and motioned to the others to get in the pickup.  Though they had not suffered the full fury of the front, all were soaked, Ron and Chauncey in their jeans and white, cotton T-shirts, Ramone in his coveralls.  For another half-hour, they waited for the rain to culminate.  Ramone smoked another fag while they spoke little.  Too dangerous to work on the drilling rig with its steel derrick in a thunderstorm, grappling awkwardly with the doused drilling rods in the mud was a dicey operation. Continue reading “Thunder above, fire below”

Our Wakeup Call


Waking facing each other in identical posture.

Six o’clock.

Off comes the heavy armor of sleep.

In this light,

we’re familiarly depicted.

A safe passage is assured.


Outside, the world is sprouting vegetation,

linking renewal

to the increase of energy in our bodies,

that not even parallel yawns

can dissipate.


We’re revving.

We’re reflective.

A little revered.

Somewhat propitiated.

Your hand drifts across the sheets between.

I take back yesterday’s touch,

make it the official beginning of today’s.


Always this pleasing balance

of body temperature and passion,

comfort and underlying order.

It doesn’t seem much

but it’s everything.

We’ve both been alone in the past.

We revel in the corrective of together.


By John Grey


2018 Winners' Anthology Available on Amazon

The paperback version is now available for $10 US.

Purchase it here.

Or, you can buy the e-book for only $4.19 US here.

2019 Competition beginning April 1st

Watch this space!

We are launching our 2019 competition on April 1st, and it will run through the end of the year. Entries will be posted here for readers to vote on.

We are accepting early submissions now. See submission guidelines for more information.

As last year, winning entries will be published in an anthology. Purchase last year’s anthology in paperback or for Kindle here.

From the Editor

Thank you to all the writers and readers who have made the 2018 rejected manuscripts competition such a huge success. The deadline for voting has passed, the winners have been decided, and any further votes will not affect the standings.

We will be notifying the winners shortly. Congratulations to all who participated.

We will be taking a break from publishing new stories while we proceed with the work of compiling our anthology of winners. We will announce when we are beginning to accept submissions for the 2019 competition.

In the mean time, I wish you all a productive and satisfying begin to the new year!

Charlie Taylor