Excerpt of the week: The Steamer Trunk

Mostly I write mythica fantasy, ghost stories or science fiction.  Every now and again I try something different — I’m actually working up a horror piece at the moment about the helhest (“Trampled”), and I have a magical realism piece in the works as well (“The Last Frost Giant”).  But all of these fall in the spec fiction genre.  My only piece outside that realm was a  historical fiction flash piece, “The Steamer Trunk,” about a young stowaway on the Hindenburg.

HindenburgI originally wrote the piece for an online short story contest.  Didn’t even place, but I rewrote it a few times and eventually sold it, of all things, Metro Moms Network.


The Steamer Trunk

C.R. Hodges

I crawl out of the steamer trunk through the concealed flap that Großvater fashioned on his workbench. The gramophone is playing in the lounge above, so it must be morning. If we’re on schedule, and if I’ve counted the days properly since we departed from Frankfurt, then tonight we’ll reach America.

In the absolute darkness of the luggage compartment, I sit on the wooden trunk, swinging my legs, waiting for her. I pass the time by practicing the English phrases Großmutter taught me.

“I am called Izaak,” I say to the void. The words sound queer. Her name is Adele. She spotted me the first evening as I peeked out into the passageway.

“I am with Onkel Eduard to live.” No, that is wrong twice over. “I’m to live with my uncle Ed.” Better. I wish she’d practice English with me, but I’m embarrassed to ask. She wore a taffeta dress that night, as she headed for the dining salon. She has secretly visited me every day since.


CR Hodges


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