The long benches were apolstered in rough pink, a deep pastel. I passed my grandmother the tiny spiral notebook from her purse, a grid of dots already drawn.
(more) side by side.
The parts of the sermon I caught, I'd ask Gramma Franny if it was true, everyone standing up in lines like that, drinking blood.
"Noo, its just grape juice."(less)
Leaving words like graffiti on my hands, I've grown tired of it. I'm tired of your snarky comments, your back-handed compliments, and most of all, I'm tired of you.
There's always a time when you bounce away and then crawl back in, and each time I let yo(more)u back and back and-well, back again. Someday it'll stop. I'll turn and say, "hey, hasn't it been long enough for you to start cleaning up after your attitude?" (or 'crap', if I swore). Stop marking my hands. Stop ruining my day. Eventually, something will come and make sure you know how it feels.
(Even if that something is me.)
He is the man with wings, laid low by a collision with power lines and burned nastily across his nose. His night vision ruined in the encounter, he no longer flies in the dark, and for fear of being spotted, never by day, either. Earthbound, he mopes and wiles aw(more)ay the days lost in the dark clouds of his frustration. Birdsong torments him.
He meets a woman in the woods who is unafraid. They marry and have children. He considers chopping off his wings, for her and them, that they might be spared having to explain him to others. But one day, the children come to him holding paper kites they have made themselves for a festival. He will fly again, in front of everyone, disguised as a great green winged kite!
This is a summary of a short story, Uncle Einar, by Ray Bradbury. It's a fairy tale, complete with fairy in the form of a singular man with wings who crash lands in the world of men.
He meets a kind and ugly woman in the forest, who keeps and protects him while he heals. They fall in love and Einar trades the life of the flyer for the life of a husband. They have children and, though he loves his family, he still longs for the sky.
If you're looking for a metaphor, the wings represent total freedom of the individual, which includes the possibility of injury in enjoyment of this freedom. Einar trades freedom for security, happily for the most part. But when given the opportunity to fly again in a more controlled, disguised form, he leaps at the chance with full support of his family. This is a retelling of the metamorphosis story. The uninhibited larvae, the imprisoned chrysalis, the fully adult butterfly.
Mara paused. She shielded her eyes from the sun and scanned the horizon. A light wind licked the tips of the long grass gently, tickling her fingers. Under other circumstances, it might have been peaceful.
The army had ridden out a fortnight ago. The soldiers were beleaguered from(more) a long, weary, and ultimately failing campaign, but still hopeful of victory in the heart of their own land.
The plan had been to regroup in town and then strike out again swiftly, catching the enemy off-guard. Their siege weapons could bring down the highest and hardiest of her people's walls, but they were cumbersome, and long in readying for battle. If they rode out and caught the enemy in the rocky hillocks to the east, perhaps they could shatter their ranks and break the siege before it started.
No sign nor word had been heard from them since.
Normally, this would have been evidence enough of the outcome, but there'd been no sign of the enemy in all that time, either. After two weeks of agonizing stillness, a scouting party had been asssembled.
Drawn by the sight of a half-fallen flag standard, Mara and her scouts crested the highest of the nearby rolling hills. What lay on the other side was rather puzzling. A battle had ovciously been waged there-- in the valley below, the grass gave way to a thick, wet streak of mud and battered metal, bearing sigils from both sides. As they descended, it was also clear that blood had been shed. Yet several minutes of searching had yielded no bodies.
Another scout waved Mara over. As she approached, he pointed beyond the next hill, where a pair of enormous trenches had been burned into the chalk.
They ran north, unimpeded, as far as the eye could see.
you have up to 300 words. what will you say?They used to put Post Toasties box tabs in their shoes when they walked a hole through the bottom.
But Grandma never knew she was poor.
She felt the Grapes of Wrath was just a tad bit dramatic.
Sleep lifted quickly and I found myself lying awake in a dark room. I could have looked at the clock to check the time, but somehow I could already sense the hour. This was the hollow, weightless time when the night had long passed but the morning had yet(more) to begin. There was a quiet that saturated everything as if it had been left undisturbed for a long while. I listened to that silence for a moment and it listened back. It was like we shared a secret. After a few minutes I knew that I wasn't getting back to sleep.
"I'd better get going," I thought.
I gathered my things and dressed in the hallway so that I didn't wake up Ana. I passed the kitchen as I headed toward the door. No coffee, no breakfast, not yet. Those were for later, when the day actually started. This strange and special hour demanded its own pace.
I stepped outside into the night air. It had been a hot summer but the air at that moment was the coolest I had felt it lately. I drank it in like water as I walked down the city streets. My mind wandered as I walked. Even the early risers- the bakeries, the coffeehouses, the street cleaners- had yet to begin. With no one to see me or notice me, it was easy to forget myself and just take in the city. I found the river and started across the bridge. The sky was fading from cotton-gray to rose. I stopped in the middle of the bridge to watch it change.
I don't know how long I watched, but the sun was up now and so was the city. Ana would be awake and we'd have coffee.
We sprawled, faces to the mats as Margaret described the whole of the needle. The whole is a tiny point along my spine, between the shoulder blades on whichever side I'm stretching to itch-- now I can't stop thinking about it!
(more) Strangers catch me threading one arm through the bent elbow bridge of the other, ass in the air. I pause in door ways, pressing the corner over the rib of knots on the writing side of my spine.(less)
I sought the crone who inhabited the hut by the blackwater ditches. Hunching like a rabbit, she listened intently as I stated my business. She nodded, then took the money from my outstretched hand, replacing it with the cure, or rather, the recipe for the cure, scribbled in ebony ink on(more) shriveled parchment . I had told her of my boy's being bitten by a creature in the words, precisely what I cannot say, nor does he, a boy of four, have the words for what attacked him. In the days that followed, my boy became ever sicker, and, last night, he slipped into a restless sleep, which I fear is a precursor to the end. As I hesitated at her door, the old woman reassured me. Once administered, she croaked, this remedy would snatch him from the brink as surely as an eagle taking a lamb, and the boy would rise from his sickbed and have his health returned to him doublefold.
The ingredients were a collection of herbs to be combined together with strong alcohol and heated into a decoction. I was to rub the mixture into his skin at the site of the wound, then wait. Once I found the various ingredients, I obeyed the instructions to the letter. Over the next several hours, I watched his tiny body that boiled with fever, pitch and writhe on top of his blankets, apparently indifferent to my ministrations.
Then, at the stroke of midnight, a change. I heard the boy moaning, and as I approached him, he sat up in bed. Only after a moment did he speak.
"Father... Where am I?"
"Oh, my boy, you're safe!" I said unable to contain myself.
I embraced him, but in place of my son, I held a pile of hot, wet bones.
gatlin was decaying: a quick death, pulling skin from his bones and shredding the lean muscle and flesh on his forearms and calves, a tempting mess of damp tissue hidden underneath gucci and chanel and the crisp, clean-line-no-iron-never-seen-the-floor sharpness of his linen pants, bled red, all the way through,(more) his knuckles mottled red and purple, and a yellow that shown gold when stretched over pale, freckled skin bathed in the dismal twilight born out of the absence of a cold baltimore sun.
i'm not a bad person. i'm not a good person either, but i guess that's all up to god and jesus and all those peace loving faggots up in the sky. i'm a human being that's tempted by the imperfections-- the blemishes --of the world, and when i see them it makes my heart hurt in that trembling way that can only be compared to those few minuscule seconds before sex. before fucking-- before you can fuck into anything, and there's that breath that you both take, ephemeral and fleeting, before the world vacates around you and every ounce of blood in your body rushes south.
(i fucked gatlin, but his apathy was a bit of a turn off. we settled for lying in bed, barely touching, me staring at the popcorn ceiling while he, pale and fragile against the scratchy, cheap sheets, smoked a menthol cigarette that's scent reminded me of childhood.)
i've made him cry. i've made him scream, i've made him bleed out of every orifice and then, even then, mouth off to me like he believes he owns some part of the world. i've seen him dark and distant and then, two minutes later, manic and pained. i've seen him wither away.
("kill yourself," his brother had said, and i think he considered it.)(less)
I work in a retail plant nursery or, if you prefer, a garden center. We sell plants, pots, rakes, shovels, dirt, mulch, etcetera. In the month of August, we are slow, since the daily temperature stays more or less fixed in the mid-nineties, and only the adamant or the ignorant garden(more) in that kind of heat.
I had ducked inside to cool down for a few minutes, and when I strolled back into the greenhouse, I spied at the far end of the nursery what looked like something straight out of an Arab souk. Attired in yards and yards of beige cloth were a group of women covered head to toe in full niqab. They were milling about, almost like a single entity, among the rows of gardenias. The effect was chilling. They looked like ghosts, or members of some kind of avant-garde performance troupe. One of the employees, a very "out" gay man, vocalized his acute discomfort to me and walked away quickly in the opposite direction.
They felt like an invading force, greater than the sum of their, admittedly small, number. I was afraid to approach them for fear of committing an insult. So sinister was their presence that I felt offended, a feeling that surprised me, their obscured appearance almost a provocation. I realize these women probably meant no such harm, and by the tenets of their religion, were only doing what they felt they must by covering themselves, but when you see it in person, it looks medieval and, to me, symbolizes absolute regression. In modern society, aside from outlaws and trick-or-treaters, people don't, and shouldn't, wear masks in public.
I firmly believe that these two worlds, the modern and the medieval, cannot for long coexist. What I do is choose modernity.
"This isn't your home."
Issei stares at the meadows, listening to the voice at his ear as he watches the pink fields of flowers.
"Of course it is," he says, rolling his eyes mock-dramatically. "You're my home."
Takahiro bursts out laughing and Issei turns to smile back at him.(more) "You're so sweet," Takahiro says, and Matsukawa leans into his touch when he cups his cheeks with both hands. He smells like roses.
"I /am/ the spirit of the forest. I'm sure there's some wild strawberries in the mix-"
"Did the hunter and the wolf come by again?"
Takahiro nods, expression solemn now.
The pair is sleeping under the trees by the edge of the meadows. The hunter's bow is left abandoned beside them, and the wolf spirit is curled by the dirt beside him. "They look peaceful," Takahiro whispers.
"I want to help them."
"I wanna help."
"Go ahead," Issei says.
The hunter looks awed, and though the wolf spirit has enough sense to be frightened, he doesn't move from the spot.
"You need to drink?" Hanamaki asks, cupped hands full of water. He's sure that the stream he's borrowing it from will not mind.
"Ah...yes! Thank you," the hunter says, and before Hanamaki knows it his hands are being held and the human is drinking straight from them.(less)
"I would," she said. "I really would. If I died first, I mean."
"That's grim, isn't it?" I asked.
'I'll haunt you..." she sang, her voice lilting pleasantly. "I'll haunt you when I'm gone... you'll never love again..." Her singing turned to laughter at this last part.(more) I laughed with her.
"'I'll never love again'?"
"It was meant to be sweet! Maybe that was a little dark, hmm? The rest of it is true, though: I promise to haunt you." She leaned across the couch and kissed me on my cheek. "Would you haunt me?"
I shrugged just to tease her. "Oh I don't know, maybe. I'd haunt you in the shower, definitely."
"Perv." She went back to her book and started scrolling on my phone again. I knew she had wanted a more romantic answer, but the whole conversation made me feel strange. Haunting? Forever?
But nothing lasts forever, and neither did we. We broke up, we split possessions, I moved out. I had a small apartment, which was fine because I also had half as many things to furnish it with. Nothing haunting me there but empty space.
The city was a different matter. It should have been big enough, but we had gone everywhere. Every restaurant and every park and every cafe and every bus stop- everywhere I went, I could only think of being there before, with her.