Author: Braden Russell

Ninjas in Hindsight

We writers are like tightrope walkers. We can do beginnings and endings just fine, but when we get to the middle, things get a little wobbly. Most of us, anyway. If you’re one of those rare individuals who can churn out brilliant middle sections with grace and ease, multiple appendages tied behind your back, a disdainful smile curling your mouth, then congratulations and more power to you. Now please exit the room–you’re making the rest of us nauseous. The rest of you, stick around. Thou art my brothers and sisters in affliction, those of us who slog through our...

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I, Sherwood (Short Story)

Creative, emotional, and thought provoking, I, Sherwood is an excellent short story with strong writing quality, imagery, and soulful questioning. Braden Russell comes through with an original take on the story of Robin Hood, told from a new pair of eyes. I, Sherwood By: Braden Russell They say you never know when your time comes. It may come like a sudden blaze of heat, or it may creep upon you slowly, bending you downward with unrelenting certainty. When I was only a few saplings strong, eager roots curling like frayed bowstrings in the warm earth, I never thought much about my own end. But when countless generations of birds have come and gone in your branches, when you have seen the death of too many seasons to tally, thoughts begin drifting to the time when the last of your own great oaks will lie decaying among the remains of their own leaves. Sometimes, you long for it. But then comes the boy. He charges through my undergrowth, scattering the small animals that hide there, and his shrill voice silences the singing off my birds. I try to ignore him. Then he builds a fort among the branches of my largest tree, and I am reluctantly pulled into his play. I am his castle, his bulwark against the flood of enemies his imagination devises. Some of my smaller trees become...

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Next Stop

By Braden Russell   I wake up and look at my watch. My eyes are cloudy, like somebody smeared Vaseline in them, and the green numbers are too blurry to read. I blink, and it says 11:15. The train is still moving, but you wouldn’t know it. The red leather seat I’m sitting on is solid as a post. There’s no bumping. No rattling. If you look out the window you see nothing but grey fog, wisping close to the glass. Some of the fog seems to have made its way inside the train car, or maybe my eyes just haven’t cleared up yet. In the seat across from me is a guy with his head against the window, staring at the ceiling with half-closed eyes. His forearms are stretched out, pointed upward like the white bellies of dead fish, and a glistening needle sticks out of one. Some nagging thought in the back of my brain tells me that I should be repelled at the sight, but I feel nothing. Just a heaviness in my temples, like fog inside my skull. The fat man in the blue cap is stooped over the passenger on the opposite side of the car, and I squint at him, trying to remember who he is, and then it pops into my head. The Conductor. Just the Conductor. He is talking to the...

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