Friday, September 7, 2012

A Stilled Life

Just a few months earlier a lush green sprawled the skyline.  In this nook of the world, it is not strange to find a pinkish-hued sunrise.  That is, if you could find a line of sight from beneath the forestalling horizon.  With it’s deep-seeded concentrate, most days appear as brilliant pastel shifts, alternating through the lighter shades of the darkest portions of color itself.

But this was certainly a matter for the collar.   For now, let us focus much more deliberately; upon the actions and environs found within, much closer to, the hems and cuffs.  While in no way attempting to display a terse or curt brush of paint, I must direct the palate more distinctly toward the direction of the in-seams.  It is here, in such a location, where the covenants of solstitial behavior, garner the most fervent authoritative attention, yet whose goings-on, somehow, fall first victim, to the windswept decisions made by those who, regardless of opinion, demand prominence and influence over those directives made on the cutting room floor. 

Today a dirty flavored white-tinged blanket tops the now barren line of sky.  It is not considered phenomenal in the traditional sense, but for those in the known, such dealings are so aptly applied in this particular case, to a town, that, for all manners of speaking, could easily be described as dolefully needing a good winter’s reprieve.   But this is much too near, much too advanced a timeline.  For the many events that shaped what is as is now this day, took place in full, during those months of multi-colored foliage, where the winds toggled between a whispering warmth swathe to skin and a brisk prickling caress made to flesh still left unadorned.

Quiet is a word.  Silence is a sound.  Each of these, quite characteristic of what could be seen and heard, during this period which, when examined in retrospect, really gathered acceleration so fast, that the events themselves, didn’t span a terribly long expanse of days, yet, whose every hour, shall never dare go forgotten—that is, by those who continued operating without diminished capacity, a terribly small subset of those that made it through the hibernation that would soon follow.

A golden moonlight trickles through the massive arms above.  A station wagon, circa the mid-1970’s, flashes down, to what would be determined, if you polled the local townsfolk, as the main drag of road.  As the powder-blue relic jaunts atop freshly layered blacktop, its rear, driver’s side hubcap is released from its aesthetic obligation.  And follow it we do.  It wobbles along the road, which, if not for the time and hour, would never had made the left turn unimpeded by directional traffic.  And yet, here, at this hour, of this day, it does this precisely.  We follow and watch, as it weaves and spins its way down this side street, all the way to its final destination, at the midsection of the round curb portion of cul-de-sac design.  The metallic clinking sound it eventually made, as it spun its frame completely until finally motion ceased altogether.

A quick panning of the area shows nothing unusual, nothing unusual at all.  Directly in front of where the hubcap arrived, a normal looking, two-story house with intermingling slats of siding, peach, white, peach white.  In the second story window, a dimming light can be seen flickering.

In the room, a young boy is under the covers, yet he is not asleep.  He remains awake, quickly thumbing through an old-pulp-style magazine.  His eyes are riveted to every word of the magazine whose cover avows, in brightly colored blocked lettering, “They live, and they live near.”  The campy style cover design shows a primitively drawn UFO with golden beams rotating around its body, and an intense beam of white light streaming directly below, bathing a stereotypically drawn illustration of a werewolf.

As the boy continues his reading, a voice emanates from beyond the door, “Flynn, I know you’re awake, five more minutes, I’ll be checking…” The boy does not respond.

Typical wall decorations indicate the child’s allegiance to the localized sports teams.  The posters hanging, Sex Pistols, Misfits, Hawk and Animal—the Road Warriors, Red Dawn expresses the child’s individuality.  Stacks of books are piled in various locations throughout.  In one corner we see Emerson, Thoreau, Heidegger, Calvino.  In another we scan through Goethe, Hawthorne, Baudelaire and Rilke, Poe, Kundera, Kafka and The Brothers Grimm.  Then, oddly enough, we spy a large stack of choose-your-own-adventure and Which-way books, directly located next to a swarming stack of comic books, some in Mylar sleeves, others, as if part of some larger project, open, with baseball cards acting as placeholders for future review.

The sound of footsteps can be heard creeping closer from outside the door.  The jiggling of the knob is clearly heard within the room, to which the boy acts swiftly, in one motion, dropping the magazine to the floor and shutting off the nightlight, where now, the only illumination, is that of the outside moon that partially makes its way into the boys room.  A woman, most certainly deemed as his mother, creeps in the room, peeking in as she had declared she would but five minutes earlier, to ensure her son gets a good night’s rest.  The light from the hallway behind her is barely enough to create a full shadow.  The boy is completely under the covers, when she speaks, “Sweet dreams my sweet boy.”

When the daylight breaks, three cocks crow, presumably from the farm a block behind the cul-de-sac.  “Flynn, hurry up, you know you need to eat something before you leave…” the mother’s voice trails off…

We backtrack out the door, still ajar from the night before, most likely from his mother’s late-night visitation.  Down the grey carpeted staircase, over the laminated wooden floor, and into a kitchen area, where a fairly attractive woman in her late 30’s is busy finishing up the last batch of pancakes, scraping the last bit of batter onto the skillet.  At the table a teenage girl, who cannot be more than sixteen or seventeen years old, in pigtails and wearing a seductively selected outfit, as if it were stolen directly from an episode of Sailor Moon.  She’s reading through some homework, complaining about a test she is nowhere near ready for.  She’s barely touched her pancakes, but we notice her glass of orange juice is but half-filled, with the evidence of consumption readily seen in the pulp still clinging to the sides of its vessel.  A big white dog is begging, tongue hanging low, hoping for any scrap to hit the floor.  His patience pays off, as the girl breaks off a piece of pancake and delivers it to him under the table, without even looking.  He takes a quick nip at the food, and MARISA screams out, “bad Felix…that was my finger…”

“Wasn’t your father just warning you about feeding the dog” the mother barks at her daughter, as she rushes out the door, bag in hand, only to return moments later, bag still in hand.

“Looks like dad forgot his lunch again…” 

         “Oh, he didn’t forget…Marisa, go check on your brother…. (Yelling) Flynn, Flynn, hurry up, you’ll be late…go, go now…”

“(Griping) why, is it always my fault the little freak is such a freak…” as she stomps off up the stairs.

“Thank you, my ever-loving daughter.” The mother praises her daughter, both lovingly and at the same time in mocking fashion.

Moments later, a deep, echoic scream is heard from upstairs.  The mother drops the decanter of warm maple syrup and rushes out of the kitchen and heads up the stairs.  The dog sits there, lapping up the sweet spillage.

Back upstairs; we see things from the swiftly approaching mother’s point of view.  Marisa’s back is seen through the open door.  The mother slowly halts, fearing the worst.  She comes up behind her daughter, who jumps as her mother puts her arms around her.  The mother screams…. the daughter replies in kind…then silence…dead silence…

The boy is not in the room.  But the room is covered in blood, much more blood than one young and undersized boy could realistically house.   Quickly, the mother picks up the phone, bloodied up as it was, and dials 911…”yes, Rudy…no…. please hurry up…something terrible has happened…Flynn….

 Victoria is hosting Meeting The Bar tonight at D'Verse.  She prompts us to write with a keen eye peeled toward the symbolic.   Using symbols in my writing is one of my favorite things to do.  In all honesty, you'll be hard-pressed to find anything I've written that doesn't have at least one instance of symbolism in it.  This love for things symbolic goes back, way back, for me.  I've always found that by reading material that fully utilizes the symbolic, it opens up multiple stories within stories, it helps layer and reinforce character, theme, plot and mood.  And, well, let's just face it, symbols are like puzzles, and who doesn't enjoy a good puzzle.

I easily could have linked up something I'd written in the past, but in reading Victorias excellent article, I was inspired by the excerpt she provided from her book, and decided I'd take a swing at a short story, or, well, at least the early part of one, trying to infuse poetic prose as well.

If you want to check out some of the symbolic pieces of poetry I composed, simply look through my catalog and odds are you'll find something with a symbol or two within it, the heavier elements of symbolism are predominantly in the more abstract pieces.

So, be sure to head on over to D'Verse, check out the article, and get your symbolism on!!!

However, I am also going to link up a piece I cam up with a few weeks back.  And, the only reason I'm doing so, is because Victoria listed the ideas of dreams, which I find extremely fascinating, and this piece is entirely dream based, using dream symbolism throughout, and it was a lot of fun as well, so thought I'd share it here as well, for anyone who wanted to check it out.  Dream Doors


  1. This is really freaky Fred. I have visions now of all that blood. Eerie indeed. A story well told. Yikes!

  2. wow...tense and ugh....a finely layered piece, easy to read story telling that is in the moment and almost screenplayesque at points....def leaves me wanting to know more...great to read a short story by you man...

  3. Have to hate when the dogs get too nippy when you feed them, the cat does that once in a while and bit the vet really good when she gave him a treat hahaha he has sharp teeth. And hmmm more blood then he could have huh, interesting ending, maybe it is all a prank.

  4. Oh my gosh! This is eerie indeed! That business of more blood than one small boy could contain - hmmm...

    the patter of the household very well done, and foreboding. k.

  5. 'Quiet is a word. Silence is a sound.' Indeed.
    Mesmeric little tale here, Fred--and the way you use the various symbols, from hubcap to pancake, is masterly. Enjoyed every line.

  6. oh dang...somehow i knew something terrible was going to happen when you mention that the boy was completely covered as his mother said good night to him... when it comes to kafka...i always found him really, really scary..

  7. Amazing narrative poem, Fred, replete with details and symbolism. Yes, you're a master of symbols.

  8. sorry, I been off the radar for some while shifting house and shifting some personal crap too... (still doing that!)... prose.. you do it well... compelling write here man