Thursday, May 07, 2009

For my writing group, we have to bring a six word story. Ha!! This could be interesting.

Ernest Hemingway's example, which will be hard to top is:

For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

Ack!! Alright, here I go.

She let tears stain the letter.

He'd forgotten his only friend's number.

The lipstick would not come out.

He chose his liquor over family.

She bought epicac for the office.

I'll let you know how it goes on Monday night...

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, May 03, 2009

      She couldn’t believe it was finally over. Her skirt was rent and tattered, the skin on her upper thigh seeping blood, but it was a sign that she survived. The pain of her flesh tearing as she had ascended the final threshold in to the park had nearly made her faint. So much adrenaline coursing through her veins; she must keep a hold of her thoughts. She took in the area around the fence, the chain-link division between the pristine, empty park and the overgrown, blanched land leading to the bridge that straddled the river. She squatted to wipe her hands across the damp lawn then crawled to inspect the fence for evidence of her reprehensible acts. Little bits of skin and auburn hair were entangled in the metal web and she pulled her sleeve over her hand to remove them and tuck them into her satchel. She hid under a solitary tree to plan her next move. Her chest heaved quick smoke signals into the branches of the tree, pulsing “I live, I live.” She felt wary cowering under that tree. Victims cowered. Those with something to hide cowered. She didn’t want to remember herself that way, to attach that title to her sense of self ever again.
      The sounds of pulsing brakes and angry car horns in the distance snapped her from her trance. The early morning hours in the city park provided more solitude than any other time of day. People’s minds were muddled as they frantically rushed to work, scrambling to coffee shops, cursing their employers, the streetlights, their fellows. She was satisfied that the curtain of daybreak had shut out what she’d done. She walked slowly away from the overpass, from the debris and filth that were trapped in the catacombs of its industrial structure. She made her way through the park following a well-trafficked foot path that would lead her to the bus station. Taking in the sights and sounds of the dawn, she perceived from a distance the fragile complexity of the bridge’s architecture, the sweeping lines that cut through the morning sky like a switchblade. Flaxen sticks of dying summer brush crowded its foundation. The steel girders swayed and groaned in the wind, its brittle cables threatening to snap and throw all those traversing its spine into the water below. Everything seemed violent and beautiful. There was a justification for the way of things, a unity to the man-made fabrication and the power of the nature it sought to sequester. She had an urgent desire to see herself through this altered precept.
      Up ahead was a public lavatory where she could arrange herself before leaving the park. She threw open the door and stopped, silent. The fluorescent lights flickered on and hummed, and the grimy mirrors concealed any reflection of what might have crawled into the room overnight. There existed the chance of encountering another, some person inside that was not well, that would coerce her, hurt her. She couldn’t stand the idea of being inside a room that she might never escape. She stepped cautiously back, fearing she’d wake whatever lurked inside that would draw her in, and darted into a glade surrounded by Maples and Sycamores, the cold trapped by the overgrowth making her shudder, the shreds of her shirt letting damp air pass onto her skin. She stopped at a park bench and huddled into herself to once again survey the damage to her thigh. The blood had run the length of her leg and was down into her shoe. She remembered the stepsisters of Cinderella, the morbid vision of the girls slicing their feet to fit into the glass slipper, fitting in at any cost. She wet her finger with her tongue and cleaned up the visible part of the crimson trail that traveled down her leg.
      The trees grew sparse on one side and revealed a part of the river that had eroded its way into the park. The bend in the water was wide and replaced the frantic rapids of the narrower course with a trance-like movement. The glassy plane was interrupted only by flitting insects and small, swirling eddies dancing for a moment on the surface and disappearing again. This water was further north, just making its way to where it would come across her malefaction. It had no idea what she was capable of, and she trusted its innocence would not mar her visage.
      She made her way down to the edge of the water, over fallen tree trunks and onto a small sandy bank. She dug her feet into the darkened earth, creating a whirlpool of sediment around her legs. The water was colder than she’d imagined, and its hypothermic temperature brought her mind to the acuteness of the present moment. The hair stood up on her legs, and she felt her body heat pulled away by the river. Bending down towards the reflective surface, she could see her face surrounded by the approaching light of dawn. Her hair fell in wisps around her face, reaching towards the coolness of the waters rushing by. She saw it in her eyes first. The darkness was gone. The question that had lingered behind her gaze was no longer there. The light of daybreak and the light of her eyes was the same. The bruise on her cheek was fading, and her lip was now only swollen rather than cut open. She reached into the river and felt the tickle of the water moving like the rush of morning commuters around her fingertips. The colors of her battered face stained the tips of the ripples and danced away.
      An autumn leaf, changed and made more vibrant by the coolness of the season, floated gently into her hand, and nestled there, clinging to her shivering palm. She closed her hands around it and stood up, pulling the petal to her heart. Without warning, her breath stopped, and the pain of her past wrapped itself around her throat like murderous hands, constricting her life and making her submissive again. She wanted to scream, but her voice was no longer hers. She opened her hand and saw the crumpled, wet blade like a drop of blood against her pale skin. She grabbed it with her fingertips and tore away at each papery fragment between the veins, dropping them one by one back into the river, until she was left with the solitary petiole. It rested in her palm, like the needle of a compass, bisecting her lifeline. She lowered her arms down and let the quill vanish somewhere on the river’s edge, then turned to walk back up the river bank. She didn’t look again at the river, at the southbound tributary leading to the briny sea. The water seemed so common and it made her feel the same. She couldn’t linger on something so eager to be lost in the vastness of the obscure deep.