A Sneak Peek from _West End_

baby face


As a child, I watched a squirrel crawl along an electrical line, elegant, delicate, like some high wire act, yet gone terribly wrong when it slipped and fell before my eyes.

A motorist passed, hit it. The squirrel screeched human sounds, jumped up on back feet, front paws stretched out, stumbled left, then right.

“It’s a dead end.” Mother’s whispered words lifted with a breeze.

“It’s the West End.” My father leaned away from her.

I held my breath, rooted for the squirrel until the very end, hoped that the car missed and, somehow, the creature might’ve a chance to limp home to recover.

But the squirrel was, life was, inextricably lost.

“Same thing,” mother’s quiet voice floated off with her gaze.

I think of that eye bulging from the squirrel’s body, trying to escape its own death, watching me through the back window of an old Chevy wagon.


Copyright 2016 – Noreen Lace/West End

Published by

Noreen Lace

Originally from the Midwest, Noreen Lace received an MFA from California State University where she now teaches. She believes in the beauty of language to express the darkness in life. She is the author of two novellas, West End and Life of Clouds, as well as a book of short stories. Here in the Silence. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in national as well as international journals, including The Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Journal, The Oleander Review, Vine Leaves Press (Australia), Silver Stream Journal (Ireland), Pilcrow and Dagger, Fishfood, and others. "Memorial Day Death Watch," a memoir of her father's passing, placed as a finalist in Writer Advice, while her poem, "All at Once," was published as a finalist in Medusa's Laugh Contest issue. More work is always in progress.

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