Hanson Page 19
    In the mirror I had a shadowed glimpse of the great face, the glint of eyes eight feet off the ground. A pale spotlight shot from the mouth, illuminating a wavering patch of gravel twenty feet beyond the front hooves that camouflaged the turning aircraft wheels.
    But inside the bull it was pitch dark, all Jim could see was the face of Lucinda—like me, like Albert Rainie, maybe like Web Olson himself, who loved Dante, Jim too had tasted the blue flower’s fatal scent—
     “She embodied both perfect love and the conquest of death—”
    Jim was right, that was it, the third part I couldn’t identify.
    I shivered and looked back up the narrow road, pushing the smoking Ford to reach Blair and Bell in time, leaving Jim Sloan to wander like a derelict Ulysses toward Web Olson’s fearsome Bar-Circle Ranch and his phantom heartsick waiting daughter—

Nels Hanson earned degrees from UC Santa Cruz and the University of Montana, and his fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and a citation in its Joseph Henry Jackson competition. His stories have appeared in Antioch Review, Texas Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review, Long Story, Short Story, South Dakota Review, Starry Night Review, The Offcourse Journal, Atomjack, Zahir, Word Riot, Connotation Press, The Green Hills Literary Lantern, and other journals. Stories are currently in press at Ruminate Magazine, The Avatar Review, The Write Place at the Right Time, River Poets Journal, and the Overtime Chapbook Series at Blue Cubicle Press.