Archives for posts with tag: short fiction

 

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Careful incisions were made. Perfectly symmetrical cuts on my back. Two thin slits lay even. Cat eyes sliced clean then peeled open just enough to extract my appendix. A soft mass of tissue, no longer of use. In its place they inserted a robin’s egg. Brilliantly blue and speckled. The weight of gold nestled beneath my spine. Fragile but whole all the same.

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The boy and I fell off the boat. I was struggling to cover him in purple paint. It was pasty and I was rubbing it up and down his tiny arms. He couldn’t understand why I was doing such a thing. Flipping over and twisting his elbow to get a better look. The paint ran in streaks down his arms and onto his full belly. Into his bellybutton. I knew he had to be covered before they would save us. The boat just hovered there until we finished.

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I was taking a walk when she caught up to me. I wasn’t going very fast. Just winding up a rocky path. Up ahead, a set of stone steps curved themselves into a hillside and sunk deeply into the earth. She went first. I followed her inside. At the point at which the stairs widened and split, I moved beside her. The only thing dividing us, a thin metal rail. Both of our hands running over it — our guide in total darkness. We climbed the steps together. Perfectly in balance. My footsteps  hallowed echos  of hers. Her footsteps responding back in the same timbre. When we arrived at the top we were met by two solid doors, standing shut and glaring back. I tried pushing my body against the one before me.  But, it was stuck. My soft flesh no match for this aged concrete. From her door hung a delicately spun spider web. Beaded, drooping pearls stretched across the entry way. She carefully pinched the edges and pealed the web aside, as if tying back a lace curtain. Then, she gestured for me to go first. I did and she followed before letting the web fall gently back into place and closing the door behind us.


With careful effort she attempted to pin the yellow finch to the map on the spot where she first lived. To represent herself. The location of her home. Even as she pushed the thin needle through the soft body of this gentle bird she felt regret. It was wrong to cause so much pain to this captured prey, only for the sake of being remembered. Each time this innocent creature fluttered its wings to free itself she was reminded of her wrongdoing. The guilt setting in, knowing that she was the cause of all this struggle.


It was feast or famine. We licked that cow carcass clean to the bone. Sliding our tongues down every last splinter of spine til it was slick like glass. Our primal instincts brought us together, spooning heaps of stew into each other’s mouths until we almost gagged. But it was necessary. Satisfying, even. Not until we were finally full could we come to stillness.


We were fishing. The fish I reeled in was gigantic. My stepmother was just going to cut off its head, right then and there. I stopped her and gave instructions to slice open its belly. She did and inside was a pile of shiny metal beads. This fish had been caught before.


We were standing in line, waiting for the boys. I wandered off to get my face painted. At the booth, I asked the face-painter to paint a bicycle on my cheek. Instead, she suggested an eyeball on the inside of my upper arm. At first I didn’t like this idea, but then I realized I would be too self-conscious with a bicycle on my face, so I agreed.


They were going to perform surgery on me to remove the part of my brain that controls memory. It was my decision, if I wanted this done or not. I did. But, I also knew it was something very serious.


I was writing MONDAY on the chalkboard in bold, bubbly letters, when he sank to the bottom of the pool. He stayed down there so long I decided to join him. He was impressed that I, too, could defy gravity and ruminate at the bottom. When I came up for air I found my friend and placed a nautilus in her hand. She asked me if I was a teacher and I said, Right. But not as a question, as a conviction.


I took his paintbrush and his paint to cover my walls pale yellow. I dipped my brush in the paint, only to realize how big the room really was and that it would take me a good amount of time to transform. So, I stopped. Sat down and waited for him in his truck. When he found me later in the driver’s seat he looked frustrated, but couldn’t help to laugh. It was the last place he expected to find me. A small game of hide and seek.

I was waiting for you, I smiled.

To which he replied, You would have been waiting a long time.

To seek and not be found might be the greatest disappointment. That, and an unfinished paint job.