Human Gauntlet

By Peter Clarke

He’d been up in Chico getting medical treatments for several years. Before long, he was just another midtown scene-kid who’d moved on (people were always leaving for San Francisco, LA…). He was forgotten, for the most part—except whenever a group got together and ate pizza with psilocybin mushrooms.

I grew up religious, so none of this seemed too weird to me. If you know what it’s like to pray every night and actually feel something there, then you know how any shit you want can become real if you keep a line of communication open. You send signals out there, sure enough you’ll get something back.

Several years is a long time to get medical treatments. No one knew what sort. All the better. Ideally his life was in the balance. We could only speculate how his medical team was a group of spiritual quacks, herbalists, and drug dealers.

“I saw Dante last night,” someone would say. They’d say, “He was in the shape of a wild boar.” They’d say, “I heard his voice in the train whistle. He was the train going by.” They’d say, “I saw his ghost. He’s dead.”

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Peter Clarke

Peter Clarke / About Author

Peter Clarke is a writer native to Port Angeles, Washington currently living in Oakland, California. His short fiction has appeared in 3AM Magazine, Curbside Splendor, Hobart, and elsewhere. He’s an assistant editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal and founding editor of Jokes Review. See:

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