Jylian Gustlin

                                                                              Jylian Gustlin

Ryan Garcia







From Griffith Observatory

Now, draped in the warmth of eased tension, of alcohol’s liberating take on your body, of her head resting on your arm, you take in her exhales as your own.  Inhaling her breaths to the pace of a synced heartbeat.  From here, the city lights flutter as though winged, flapping furiously in their own bioluminescent life. 

            You have never been here before. 

            You have never ventured this far from the cracked stucco and lifeless lawns of your neighborhood.  Nor have you been on a date.  But swept by the current of immediacy, of an impending greatness to follow, you chose to be bold. You chose to rise above the lights of your neighborhood, the ones that flickered and dimmed like shallow gasps.  You chose to share with her the opportunity to oversee the lights, the city, like young guardians, mad with the naivety of love.  King and queen, you think to yourself.

            The city looks like it’s burning, Leslie whispers.

            You look up to where Boyle Heights sits.

            The sound of children’s laughter begins to take shape from behind you.  Families who’ve flown from across countries and states to share the mountain.  Nine miles south lies your home.  Nine miles south lies a different language, a different people, a different life.  But here, engrossed in the sentiment of yourselves as giants, ones too large for the broken gravel of your home’s streets, you have never felt more at home.  The city lights continue to move and dance with the sway of a secret.  Melting into each other just as you imagine your souls to be. 

            If home were on fire, she says, I’d let it burn.  I’d stay with you.

            And this is the only moment you ever wished that it would happen.  That it all burned.    


Ryan Garcia is an MFA graduate of CSUSB who produced a collection of flash fiction centering around the various walks of life in the city of Los Angeles.  His stories have appeared in The Blue Lake Review, The Cobalt Review, and The Chaffey Review among others.  He now teaches at the University of California, Riverside where he instructs speculative fiction and zombie themed English courses.  He currently lives in Riverside with his wife and two sons.