The Flame: A Short Story by Karen Munro

In the absolute silence of King Kerr’s house, she heard slow, quiet creaks cross the living room. The dog squirmed. Courtesy Rachel Designs/Shutterstock, Modified by Portland Monthly The Flame went down on Valentine’s Day, leaving no bodies behind. Six men traded for a flicker of oil on the swells. A week later Bertie stood on the front step of King Kerr’s little yellow house. She rattled the knob, then bent to flip the mat. No key, but with her head down she heard the click of claws inside the door. Back home, she stood smoking at her front window, staring at King Kerr’s house. The search hadn’t turned up any bodies. Pretty soon they’d make a ruling, and then everybody could move on. “Why even have a dog?” Bertie stared at the television, rehashing the wreck. “How many deckhands do you know have a dog?” “Some.” Mott, slicing limes, kept his head down. “And a dog like that. Looks like a damn rat.” Mott set the knife down. “Bertie.” He seemed about to say something, but stopped. “That Deschutes keg’s about blown.” “Yeah.” She pulled out her phone. “You wanna change it?” She looked around the bar, empty except […]

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