Sunday Stories: ” In which Danko’s kin do not stamp out his flaming heart, but place it gently back inside his chest.”


In which Danko’s kin do not stamp out his flaming heart, but place it gently back inside his chest.
by Shane Inman

In which the weakest of Danko’s kin, so timid in old Izergil’s telling, kneels with a needle chipped from his rib and a thread woven from his sinew and stitches the young man’s chest so delicately he leaves no scar.

In which the fire engulfing Danko’s heart does not snuff out when sealed once more in its cavity, but shines brighter still.


In which each person makes an incision over their own heart and collects the blood in cupped hands.


In which that blood is passed between Danko’s lips to restore what he has so willingly surrendered.


In which hands made rough by toil lift Danko softly from the earth.


In which the strongest bear the young man’s body on their shoulders while the slightest cut a path for all to follow.


In which Danko is not alone in his love for his people.


In which Danko is not alone.


In which the fire spreads from Danko’s heart to the bloodslick organs of his kin.


In which the people become a bonfire.


In which the young wrap arms around their elders to help them toward the steppe and the old show children how to walk upright and proud.


In which the sun, reborn, sees more than violence and poison and frightened figures trampling each other in the dark.


In which the people no longer tell stories of kin destroying one another.


In which such stories, never written down, are forgotten.


In which Danko does not die.


In which Danko does not die.


Shane Inman’s work has been a finalist for the AWP Intro Journal Awards, been nominated for Best of the Net, and appears in The Forge, Mud Season Review, Stoneboat, The Gateway Review, and elsewhere. He is originally from Rhode Island.

Image source: Alexandru Acea/Unsplash

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