“Inside my heart the river is nightmarish warm” – Fiction by Robin Wyatt Dunn

Waiting For Dawn - Hugo Simberg, 1895
Waiting For Dawn – Hugo Simberg, 1895

 “Inside my heart the river is nightmarish warm” is Robin Wyatt Dunn‘s surreally apocalyptic vignette from our Spring 2015 issue.

{ X }

I HAVE NOT BEEN MANY PLACES, BUT WHERE I HAVE BEEN IS A SHADOW. The killings, but more importantly, their source, is close now to me still.

Perhaps the source does not matter. There are many such events; rarely are our curiosities satisfied.

{ X }

She was pounding on the door. Making a sound like rain, out of her mouth. A soothing sound from her mouth, but from her hands it was simply BANG BANG BANG.

“What is it Angel?” I asked. And I opened the door.

I opened the door, though I suppose it had already been open for some time, on what was to come; what had arrived in us.

She had not washed and was covered in some kind of liquid, I found later that it had been washing detergent. Her hair was sticky with it and she thrust her knife hand through the gap in the door before it was even properly open, grazing my stomach. I jerked back in surprise and felt the adrenaline rush into my body.


I saw her then and what scared me was not her appearance but my reaction: I expected this.

Her mouth opened again and the rainwater sound came out. This part does sound crazy, though why a simple sound should be the craziest part of a story I don’t know. But that’s the sound that she made; like droplets hitting a wet sidewalk. Like someone had jammed a small stereo speaker into her throat and it was transmitting soothing nature sounds, like beach waves to help you sleep.

I hit her over the head with an empty beer bottle from my desk and it stunned her; her knife hand loosened. I did it again and she was down, and that was when I heard the others outside.

All of their voices were natural sounds, a jungle of sound, and they were standing there like cultists awaiting their god, which, I suppose, is what they were.

They barely noticed me, standing on the doorstep to my trailer.

I ran for my car, listening with part of my mind to the jungle noises; Mr. Smith appeared to be a gibbon, hooting, and part of me wanted to join in.

I drove all night, to Vegas.

People in Vegas will tell you they miss the days of the Mob; things were more civilized then. Mobsters were polite; both when they helped you remodel a kitchen or when they broke your kneecaps. The corporations don’t have the human touch.

Sanity is shared; I know that now. If something happens only to you, it’s like it didn’t happen at all.

What does this mean? Is no one who is alone permitted to experience anything and have it count?

{ X }

Vegas was changed too; the cars had stopped five miles out and I walked in the beautiful dawn desert light to a Vegas sans Hoover Dam, sans electricity.

In the suburb on the edge of the city, I watched the residents come out of their houses, tweeting from their mouths the sounds of the desert that had been awaiting them all along: wind, and sand, and crickets. Most of these humans made cricket sounds, and it was so beautiful I almost knew why the aliens, if that is who it was (who else?), had chosen this path for us, as a reminder of how much we had lost.

I held someone’s hand, and opened my mouth.

And out of my mouth came the sound of a tree limb, rustling in the breeze,


I raised my arm, to catch the sunlight.

{ X }

ROBINWYATTDUNNROBIN WYATT DUNN lives in Los Angeles, even when he doesn’t.

1 thought on ““Inside my heart the river is nightmarish warm” – Fiction by Robin Wyatt Dunn

  1. I’m really sad to say I’m not a fan of your writing style. Things jump around. What do corporations and the mob have anything to do with this story? Why was ‘angel’ (stupid pet name) trying to stab you, and others are not. Your writing style tries too hard.


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