We were walking among thousands, the wave of people heading towards the empty desert carrying us along at a pace that was too slow for me but almost too fast for her. I had tried to carry her, but the pack on my back prevented me from getting a(more) good enough grip on her, so she walked, her small hand clutching mine, singing the different colors of the bundles of items people carried with them to the tune of "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep".
"Red, red, green, blue, yellow and red! Orange, orange, pink blue, blue, blue, blue. Pink, red, yellow green, red and green. Red, orange, purple blue, green yellow red! Orange, orange, white, black, green, black, blue."
"Kit, shh. You need to save your breath."
"It's really hot. Why's it so hot?"
I sighed. "Because we're going towards the desert."
She was silent for a minute. Then:
"We're walk-ing towards! The des-ert! Walk-ing, walk-ing, so, so fast! Walking and walking so very very fast! It's real-ly hot, and Brother is so tall! Look at the red pack, look at the blue! Why is it so hot, can you carry me?"
"I can't. I've tried."
"Sor-ry, Brother, if I'm an-oying you! I just want to sit right down. Look at the baby, crying like a bab-y, look at the mother- Brother?"
"I've told you."
"I want to go with them."
"No, you don't. You're staying with me."
She was silent before she burst into song again.
"Stay-ing wi-hith, my brother! Not gonna see Mommy or Dad! They are in Heaven and I am down here! I am so tired of walking, can we take a rest?"
I smiled. "Not until we get to the desert. Not until we're safe."
When I was little, Aunt Nance wrote poems about babies and little girls and ticking tocks. She never used computers or even lined paper. She wrote with an ink quill on parchment. Nance was a big believer in tradition.
When I was eight, Aunt Nance(more) taught me to write. "It starts with a seed in your heart," she said, pointing at my chest. "You bundle the seed with optimism and imagination. Give it space to grow. Water it with time. And one day, your seed will sprout."
My first poem was about the moon.
round like a cake
in the sky
stars nibble by
"You have writer blood," Nance said as she penned her novels. By that time, Nance was no longer into babies and time. She wrote about crime, murders in the dark, and daring detectives.
When I was in middle school, Aunt Nance wrote about nostalgic coming-of-age stuff, sob stories about girls who had to go through a lot to become great people. I wrote a poem about fish.
flashing like sea-stars,
jewels of the ocean
When I was fifteen, Aunt Nance taught me to watch.
"You have writer blood, but you need writer eyes. To be a good writer, you watch. And watch, and watch some more. And find the best seed you can."
Two weeks later, Nance was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in her brain. Three weeks to live.
"Don't stop writing," Nance told me in her death-bed papery whisper. "The last part about writing is a writer heart. You need to feel everything to write. Feel it all."
Aunt Nancy died. Her parchment manuscripts were left to me in her will. She was never published. I wrote.
Its fur was flattened and soaked from the rain, making the dog shiverish and tinier than it should look. It just sat there, unmoving, staring at me while I stared at it.
Should I do something?
All of a sudden an angry wave rose up within me. This dog expected something out of me, I knew it. Me, standing under my umbrella, with a scarf wrapped around my neck, dry and warm while this creature sat in the deluge. They always expected something out of me, didn't they? It never ends. Always looking at me to do something, dogs.
I didn't move a muscle. What was this, a staring contest? But I refused to move my eyes away. I won't lose against this dog's will. Whatever it wanted me to do, I refused to do it. I was tired of listening to what others wanted. I was tired of having them expect something from me. I wouldn't listen to them anymore. I would't. I most certainly would't.
Finally, the dog looked down at the ground, its ears flopping pathetically. I won.
And bundled my scarf around the dog's shivering body.
She stands at the edge of the doorway, shifting uneasily in her over-sized sweater. After an awkward moment of waiting for her to do... something, he reaches the correct conclusion that she probably wasn't going to actually start the conversation despite being the one to seek him out. So(more) it's up to him.
"...can I help you?"
She lets out a startled squeak, instinctively fluffing the sleeves over her face. "I-! I don't want to bother you," she blusters, a flurry of frenzied motion. "I was just wondering..." Pushing her sleeves together, her voice diminishes into incomprehensible mumbles, further muffled by the neck of her pullover.
He blinks. "Sorry, I couldn't quite catch that?"
"Um! Can I, would you..." she screws her face up and, against all expectations, manages to stand her ground. "Do you have any other recommendations!" As he stares, she mistakes his slight confusion as incredulity and loses all resolve. "Uh, you really don't have to give me any! I just really enjoyed the last story, especially after chapter ten..." her face burns at the memory. "And I thought you might... know... more..? I mean, not to say that I think you're the type who only reads those kinds of things!"
"Sure, I'm fine with that."
"I'm sorry for being presumptuous!"
"No, I'm saying it's okay."
"I'll leave now!"
"You really don't have to?"
She slams the door, and he hears her footsteps fade as she absconds. He shrugs, turning back to his computer. He'll just send her a list later.(less)
I didn't even think that people had attics like this. You know—full of dusty globes and thick volumes of near-ancient books and vintage wedding dresses.
Well, Miss Ettie has this kind of attic. As a little girl, I loved pushing the keys on the broken typewriter and piling(more) on feathered hats and costume jewelry. Now, she's moving back to Vermont to live with her son, and she's asked me to help her clean out the attic.
She gives me the cameo necklace I have always adored and a set of crystal wine glasses. She insists that I take the old train set for Sean and the maps for Peter's classroom.
I find a thick pile of envelopes, all wrinkled and yellowed from time, bundled in fraying twine, in a creaky briefcase.
"What are these?" I ask. Miss Ettie turns and looks at me, glances at the envelopes, smiles fondly—if not sadly.
"They're poems. You may read them if you would like. My fiancé wrote them for me."
"You mean Hank?" Hank passed away about two years ago, but they'd been married for as long as I could remember and then some.
"No," she sighs wistfully. "His name was Alexander. He went to war in 1942 and never came home."(less)
my coat is so poofy i bet the aliens can see it up in space.
sara-beth's coat doesn't look like it's hiding balloons. oh no, sara-beth's coat is a simple and clean navy blue and is probably less than an inch thick because she has a nice an(more)d warm goose down coat with extra thin insulation for fashion.
i look like a marshmallow.
if she weren't so nice i'd hate her. that's the problem with sara-beth though, she took one look at my coat and said "aw, i wish my coat were green like yours," and i don't even have the heart to tell her that this is the goddamn ugliest green and that it's a good thing her mama dresses her because she wouldn't know good taste if it walloped her upside the head.
all that really matters, though, is that i look stupider on the bus stop than she does.(less)
i have a habit
of warning people
against the cold
and ushering them
into layers upon
layers of jackets and
maybe this is because
i get so cold myself
and i'd hate for the
cold chill i loathe so much
to soak into someone
or maybe it's because
i know the world's a cold place
and i also know
i can't do anything about it
so i take it upon myself
to bundle up the ones i love
in hopes that
the cold doesn't seize them,
i'm a big believer in the subconscious. The human mind is a remarkable thing and no matter what cynics want to believe it controls us.
My subconscious knows that I'm ugly. I want to be alone. I shy away at anyone's touch and a misdirected glance my way send(more)s me into a panic.
I didn't notice I did it until this year, but that's the beauty of personhood. We all have these little quirks that maybe others notice about us but we don't until they're pointed out. Inherently I hate my face. I shield my face with whatever I can. Ugly.
My lips are the most vulnerable part of me. It makes sense. The quiet girl who uses her lips wants to hide them from the world.
I know I don't want this world.(less)
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
What a lie.
She learned the phrase when she was 6; great wisdom like that stuck to her heart like the A+ sticker on her spelling test - proud and condescending over the ignorance(more) of the other kids. It didn't take them long to figure out how to break her.
It started in 4th grade, when the monkey bars were still her favorite thing to do and her friends still only friends because they shared common interests, not because they had truly tested the bonds of friendship. The bratty girls would all surround her, get her on her own. Then the names would start.
That was their favorite word for her. Pasty - just like the color of her skin, while they valued tanned-ness to the point of orange. Despicable.
It was horrible during middle school. Puberty was a bitch to her - acne, hormones of a pregnant-but-not woman, her body stretched too tall to have anything but skin covering her fragile frame. And the names still cut her, blemished her self-esteem like the red dots on her face. Sunburned, they called her now. Another favorite was T-rex, short for terrifyingly anorexic.
So by the time she got to high school, her "friends" had resigned themselves to her attitude, her gloomy expressions every other day. Even when she tried to act "normal" around them, the pink elephant in the room farted at them, infuriatingly obnoxious without being a physical entity.
She'd never broken a bone in her life. But something was broken, deep inside of her. And so she bundled up her heart, bundled it tight, in the bandages of tears and loneliness. But those names still tormented her. They would, forever. (less)
There lies Sam Carver.
Husband. Father. Psychopathic killer.
Don't RIP, you motherfucker.
(more) I told Jack that Carver was in the freezer, all bundled up, and ready for shipment. I dressed him in brown packaging, tied up in strings, humming to my iPod. The Grinders would come for him and the rest of the stock meat tommorow, and they'd be none the wiser. I hope Carver gets fed to the orphans he made. Maybe that would be some sort of justice.
The police shouldn't be much of a problem, they'd be happy to have him gone. Another crime stopped. Another life saved.
They wouldn't care how it happened, and be just be glad it did. But just in case I better leave town, and find a new community to purify.
Journal Entry 4/11/13
Didn't expect so much resistance. I save these people from murderers and rapists, and they hunt me down like I'm one of them. All I do is help, but now the police are warning towns of a "Fanatic." A "blood-thirsty lunatic." People never know how to be thankful.
If it wasn't for me, the Washington Warrior would still be killing drunks with his gaint, stupid sword. Nearly took my arm off. If I hadn't stopped the Nursery Nightmare, those infants wouldn't have seen the light of day. I am a hero, just like my father. It doesn't matter if I'm missunderstood, but it's still painful to be called such terrible things.
"These passages are sure evidence that my client was not completely aware of his actions," said Jack. "In fact, it shows that he only acknowledged the murders of the victims as "evildoers" and that he was "saving" communities from their harm. These are perfectly good grounds for an insanity plead"(less)
Organization is supposed to be such an easy thing. Keep similar things together; everything in its place. Keep things stored in baskets and bins. Dispose of what you don't use any longer. Label things.
She was trying to go through her computer hardware. Hard enough for someone who didn't(more) piece together computers for a living, selling refurbished systems frankensteined from the pieces of many others. There were always a dozen computers in various states of assembly scattered across her living room. So organization? Easier said than done.
She was just twisting the ends of the twisty-tie together when she got the first clue that something was seriously wrong.
It started with a brush against her back, which she dismissed as her cat being playful. A few seconds later, she found her legs bound. She screamed and tried to pull the cords off of her feet, but instead managed to get her hands tangled in them as well. She wobbled and fell onto her side as the wires wound under, around, and over her. She fought for as long as she could, but soon she couldn't breathe as some VGA cables tightened around her throat. She stilled as she expired, and the police found her just like that. Well and truly bundled.(less)
Bibia rose up against her oppressor: "You buffoon! How dare you insult me so! Have you any idea what is at stake?" she challenged him. "Obviously, kingdoms are not meant to be ruled by women, but that of which is before me is neither woman nor leader! It is(more) a bitch!" And with this hateful remark, Bibia unsheathed her saber with the velocity and equanimousness of a humming bird, the blade as graceful as a beam of dazzling light cutting through the solemn atmosphere of the room and contacting the flexing dirty and sunburned neck of the soon-to-be ex-military adviser. As the beam first slices the skin, it resembles a stone thrown into an ocean of earthy crimson fluid, the surface tension breaking and the repercussion is seen in the displacement of blood that covers all nearby objects. And so falls the emasculated symbol of hatred.
There is a sudden disturbance in the atmosphere that causes the young warrior queen to startle. She springs vivaciously out of her fur sleeping roll, leaving it in a bundle on the floor, and dons her scratched and beaten horned iron helmet on top of her strong head. Across the entire camp in the western side of the deep, long, green valley, men arise to meet their opponents in this fateful arena, and the glaring yellow sun above them, dominating them. There is no time for them to show any sign of fatigue, for despite the gloss of their eyes, these men already display their frowns and their hatred of each other. For these men do not realize that they will never see the dawn of war ever again, let alone dawn at all. All that is left for most of these poor souls is dusk, or an expedited version of it.(less)
This safety is almost exhausting. Bundled in the starlight of my preconceptions I'd be anything but grateful. Those god fearing men would rather be embraced by light and cooed to sleep. But, not I. I yearn for my flesh to be burned from the glow of bodies, and for(more) my lungs to collapse at the realization of silence. Brace me with an iron fist and metal grating granite as our love displays the battle field. I exist for only me, and I will not be persuaded into any other role than slaying the demons that only I can conquer.(less)