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“Hunting Muskie” Sneak Preview: Winter Solstice

December 8th, 2018 by Michael Dyet


As we approach winter solstice 2018, it seems like an appropriate time to give you a sneak preview of the story of that name in my short story collection Hunting Muskie: Rites of Passage. In that story, intersecting threads of fate from one tragic moment connect the lives of three characters even as another life-altering event is unfolding.

The story alternates between the perspectives of the three characters. This preview focuses on Edana as she endures a sleepless night on the eve of her husband’s funeral.

Edana: fathoms deep—December 21, 7:10 p.m.

 such a long night this is going to be, richard. i have to bury you tomorrow. commit your body to the earth, your soul to heaven. until then i have to keep myself centered. between life and death.

 six feet under. i insisted on that. not necessary, they said. the law only requires two feet. damn the law, i told them. six feet under whatever the cost. they nodded, humouring me, the grieving widow. i tried to explain. he was a ship’s captain. it’s only right. a fathom down.

 they still did not understand. nor can i, for that matter. why you had to die while they live on. a reckless bastard who runs red lights. a gutless man who did not give a damn. he should have stopped. a few minutes more—you might have survived. but he could not be bothered. he lives on while I have to bury you. where is the justice in that?

 Edana: angry wind—December 21: 8:00 p.m.

 it has been snowing for hours, richard. the storm of the season, they say. as if that matters one iota. what matters is this—two children to raise on my own. what am i supposed to do now? two children, two lost souls entirely dependent on me. i just want to scream.

 but instead, i just sit at the window. watching it snowing hour after hour. trying to lose myself within the angry wind. can wind be angry? you said it can be at sea. i want it to be the wind of my grief and my anger.

 i’m transfixed suddenly by a ribbon of smoke. curling and folding from the rooftop smokestacks. it billows and rolls. dissolves into the ash of the night sky. is it you reaching out to me? repeating the dance over and over as i watch? symbolic cremation.

 Edana: storm petrels—December 21, 8:30 p.m.

 i know what you meant now, richard. about losing the sense of time while you’re at sea. it feels like time has folded in on itself. seems like years since i touched your face. and years to go before this night ends. it’s a kind of madness.

 i thought death was only absence. but it’s presence too. an unrelenting hum. like hydro wires in my brain. it has given me this terrible headache. will it leave when you’re buried? i don’t want it to. it’s all i have of you. can’t i hold onto that one connection? like those birds that follow your ship. your sea-friends, you call them. storm petrels. i want a storm petrel to follow me.

 where is he? that soulless man who left you to die? is he suffering? i want him to suffer. he doesn’t deserve mercy. he’ll get none from me.

If you’re intrigued, check out the book trailer video on my YouTube channel:

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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