Deaf Narrative

Posted: May 21st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Fiction | 1 Comment »

I wrote this to make an F go away on a Sign Language test last semester. I hope you enjoy. I you have any ideas let me know. deaf_narrative_body.doc (24.58 K)


the space pilot’s wife (work in progress)

Posted: April 13th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Fiction | 1 Comment »

When I heard someone had passed away, I looked around for a light or something to let me know the soul was gone. When I was a kid I asked my grandmother: where does a soul come from? To which she replied, and for me this was answering a question with a question, God. I tried to stop it, but I cried when I heard about the death. I was confused why I would do such a thing, and I vowed to write a story called, diary of a space pilot’s wife, or the widow’s memoir. The storyline would go like this: A woman, madly in love, is impregnated by her partner. The day she discovers urine laden with progesterone she gets word of her partner’s incineration over Titan. At 744 million miles from Earth, he was a theoretical father for twelve seconds. When I had failed to see a light, cried and so on, I went back to living. It wasn’t until my own death that I would feel lucky about that. At any rate, I went back to thinking and breathing. Breathing, I’ve learned, is more beneficial than thinking. If I could go back I would spend more time breathing.


The lonely man and with his movies and pen

Posted: February 6th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Fiction | No Comments »

There is a man sitting in his living room doing some work that he brought home from the office. While his mind is focusing on his work, it is of mere mechanism and he follows through as if one on an assembly line. It is the type of automatic movement that requires little trained repetition to facilitate the reflexes to get the job done. This man, about forty, sits in his plaid green and red chair, with a midnight blue background. His stellar brown rimed glasses resting on the crown of his nose comfortably, he sighs deeply no longer needing to think about his work while he toiled away. He thought, I have so much work I won’t even be able to watch my movie later. His eyes wondered to the pen in his hand, engraved was his name, Arthur James McNaughten. James had this finely crafted utensil made for himself last Christmas, and oh what a wonderful Christmas that was.
About two years ago James had started a movie night for himself every Sunday. He would think about it all day leading up until that final moment where his scheduled movie was to take place. He would spend the beginning of his day at the market buying fresh pop corn and a few chocolate delights, on this day he selected chocolate covered pretzels, his favorite. This was before he realized that he had far too much work to do before work Monday and that he wouldn’t be able to follow his usual routine. He realized this, oh course, after he rented, “Villains and Seductresses, A Story of Hidden Empire”. James would have to forgo his movie of heaving bosoms and ghastly men marching here and there. As he continued to look at his pen, James felt like a very important person. Too busy to enjoy leisure time, he felt like he must be engaged in some crucial task of humanity.


Identity Confusion

Posted: December 13th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Fiction | 3 Comments »

This is the one I turned in for class. Enjoy, and please, don’t get mad. Everyone takes things from their lives and makes stories. Nighttime2.doc (41.98 K)


book list

Posted: December 6th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Fiction | 1 Comment »

I wasn’t really sure what topic to post this under but I was wondering if we could kinda get a book club/ reading list thing going on. I find that the best books I read are the ones that are passed on by others. So i suppose i’ll start-

The Celestine Prophesy by James Redfield (although fictional it’s quite enlightening)
All the post secret book by Frank Warren (delightful when you want something lighter)
The Zahir by Paulo Coelho (He’s the best but this is by far my favorite book by him)
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (such a classic)

I could go on but I’ll stop for other peoples recommendations.


one scene

Posted: November 30th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Fiction | No Comments »

hacked by the2one mooooooooooooooohaaaaaaaaaaaa :laugh:


Beginning of a short story

Posted: November 25th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Fiction | No Comments »

He was a self-made man. Always poorly paid for his back breaking labor. He never received rewards for his accomplishments; a stranger’s smile would cleanse him of his darkness, but fat chance of that happening in this city. Odd jobs and pawn shops have not suited him well for living amongst the orderly. This man silently victimizes himself; he is a casualty of the population, one of the lost who goes unnoticed, prey to the government, his strain never released. His pants are splattered with white paint, all the way down to his work boats, under his nails there is year old grime, he will be burried with this same filth on his hands. Graying hair slick and pulled back, leathered and tattered is his face, without a fleeting glimmer of happiness. He thinks, “maybe I will go down town, pick up a gun, and this can all be over.”

She was a woman sitting at a table in an off-hand café waiting for her coffee. Legs aching, too many bags to carry more than ten blocks at a time, she sighed and committed herself to these moments of leisure. The years had started to add up on this woman, the men, the children, the jobs. It was hard for her not to desire, salivate, to the very notion of life being over. God, it would be such a relief she had never known. There would be no one above her controlling her existence and no one under here demanding it. No more children to make her feel guilty at every break, she would not need to be spending her every hour for the betterment of others. But it was not time yet for this woman to go. She did not need to ponder over these obligations, hazards of life; the young man of a waiter promptly places her coffee on the table. Now is the time for peace she thinks. Glancing around, searching for an object to rest her eyes on she notices a man staring out the front window into oblivion. Just then, he gets up, looking slightly crazed and walks out of café wearing an eerie smirk. The man must have been so dazed that he left his wallet, the kindly woman, wishing for good karma, quickly dashes to his table, picks up his wallet, runs out of the café, yelling for the waiter to watch her things. She looks in his wallet and is able to yell the man’s name.

He was just about to cross the street when he distantly heard a woman yelling his name. Who could possibly be yelling his name with such a strong voice? He didn’t know very many women; for sure none that would say his name like that.


Jessie Dancing

Posted: November 13th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Fiction | 3 Comments »

This story is a work in progress. Please read with a critical mind.

Quote:

Arthur Graves

JESSIE DANCING

I drove because I did not know what else to do. I woke up Monday morning, stuffed some clothes in a bag and threw the bag into my trunk with an old tent and sleeping bag that were my father’s. I went to the store and bought matches, lighter fluid, two gallons of water, and several cans of soup. I did not call in sick at work or ask my mother to pray for safe travel. I drove with money in my wallet and left my cell phone on my dresser, because tomorrow was another day and I did not want it to be.

And now as I rounded the curve of a battered stretch of asphalt in Tennessee, where a green sign said in white letters “ANNE 4mi,” I saw a place to stop and stretch my legs. The road ran between a face of rock on my right and, on the left, I had a view of rolling mountains covered in trees of yellow, red, and orange. Here an overlook pushed out of the side of the mountain. I parked, turned off the car, and got out. Stretching, I looked over folds of forested hills under a sheet of blue streaked with a few fading white clouds, and the early sun, somewhere behind the mountain, cast a shadow over me and into the valley. A breeze blew so I pulled my jacket tighter and crossed my arms. Far off, a car, a speck, rose slowly up the side of one of the larger hills to the west. I stood, looking out as the shadows drew slowly back. I thought of my sister.

Jessie and I were our parents’ only children. She was a year and a half younger than me and a clear six months smarter. Our parents’ were by legal standards in poverty but we always had food and clothes, even if some of it was given to us by the Baptist church. We lived in a single-wide trailer on an unpaved road in Clay County, Florida, ten miles south of Jacksonville, surrounded by thick pine woods. Summers found Jessie and me either in our living room behind opened books or outside sweating with deep scratches on our hands from picking blackberries. A cold, tea-stained creek flowed about a half a mile behind our yard and we would take off our shoes to cool our feet. Sometimes we sat on tree stumps and made up stories about homeless children living in the woods. They would dance in the woods at night but hide in the day, so that they were not a bother to anyone and no one a bother to them. We stayed out until our mother called us in for dinner. Our father pulled out his guitar every evening and Jessie used to move her feet in time, spin, and clap like nothing else mattered. She was awkward in her dance but she kept at it anyway, until we were all laughing and it was time for bed.

During the fall and spring, my sister and I caught the bus to school about a fourth of a mile from our trailer, where a paved road passed by ours. We were eager students but Jessie’s grades always excelled whereas mine were only slightly above average. Once, on our way back from the bus stop after school, I gave Jessie a black eye when she pushed me for saying one of her classmates was her boyfriend. I tripped, scraping my knee, and flung my arm at her. I was surprised by my strength. Jessie ran home ahead of me crying and I tried to sneak around behind our house into the woods. My mother caught me though and dragged me inside by my shirt-sleeve. She sent me to my room and grounded from anything but school and homework for two weeks. But it was much worse seeing Jessie’s left eye puffed and swollen. Except for that and a few small arguments, I never fought with my sister.

Eventually, my parents found better jobs and we moved to a small house near our grandparents, north of Jacksonville. As we grew older, our father started to take us to the mountains for a week every summer. I learned to appreciate the rolling landscape much more than the flatness of Florida.

An hour had passed on the clock in my car, and the sun was well above me, when I got back in and turned the key. The engine choked but would not start. I tried again and got the same. Cursing, I opened the door, pulled the lever to release the trunk, and walked around to look under the hood. But the Ford was foreign to me. I walked back around, sat, and tried the key again. Still nothing. I closed the door and rolled down the windows. Despite the breeze outside it was warm in the car. Leaning my head back against the seat, I noticed a figure walking up the road, a man. As he came closer I could hear him whistling. I turned and looked at him. He wore a straw hat over white hair and a beige suit-vest over a faded green t-shirt with jeans and moccasins. When he came next to my car he leaned down with his hand on the roof and said through the passenger-side window, “Hey there. Car don’t work.”

It did not quite sound like a question but I said, “No, something with the starter I guess.” As I turned the key to demonstrate and the engine sighed weakly, he walked around the front of the car until he stood just outside my window.

“Mind if I try,” he said and he reached across me to turn the key before I could answer. The engine turned and roared. “Seems fine to me.”

He nodded and started to go. “Hey,” I said quickly and he stopped, “Do you need a ride somewhere?”

“S’pose it couldn’t hurt. Little restaurant in Anne.”

He got in the car and I asked, “Were you going to walk?”

“What I got legs for.”

I coughed, put the car in drive, and headed off. I said, “Thanks,” and he turned and looked at me as if waiting for something. “For the car. Thanks.”

“Just needed to turn the key one more time.”

We said nothing for a while.

“My names Joseph, by the way,” I said.

“Sam. Pleasure.”

“You live around here?”

“Yep. You don’t. What brings you to Nowhere?”

I chuckled. He did not.

“Well, just driving for the hell of it, really.”

“Lookin’ for somethin’?”

“Nothing in particular. Just felt like driving.”

“Try lookin’ in the woods some night. The Mountains of Nowhere’s a good place to find what you ain’t sure you’s looking for. Go lay ‘neath them trees at night. You remember that, hear?”

I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel. “Yeah. Thanks.” We were silent again.

The road wound slowly around the curves of the mountain, upward for a few miles and then down, until a small group of buildings was visible at the foot. I could just barely glimpse houses on the distant hills and a few snaking breaks in the trees, each road seeming only to serve a single home. I kept driving and Sam remained silent.

Anne was little more than a restaurant called “Sarah’s,” a nameless gas station, and a motel that might have been called “Pine Inn,” but the peeling white letters against dull brown were difficult to read. I could not divine a purpose for several other shack-like buildings along the road.

“Can pull in right here,” said Sam, gesturing toward the restaurant.

The graveled lot grated under my wheels as I pulled off the road. I parked beside a Chevrolet pick-up, with patches of rust spreading over faded blue paint. The building was constructed out of weathered brick, grown with vines and fungus but otherwise devoid of decoration. Two concrete tables with flat benches sat in front. I turned off the car and stepped out on to the gravel. The corner of my eye caught a sudden gray movement and I turned to find a cat watching me closely. Sam went into the restaurant and the cat ignored him, but when I stepped forward its back arched and its tail stood straight. I hesitated but continued toward the store. I was a few feet from the door and the cat hissed. I paused and it kept hissing for a moment before it ran off around the side of the building. I opened the door and found the floor an inch lower than the doorframe, but I caught my stumble. Inside, the restaurant had three booths and a bar with six stools. Sam was sitting on one of the stools and talking to an old woman behind the bar who was pouring coffee into a ceramic cup.

“Yep, that kitten ran off two days after I got ‘er and I ain’t seen ‘er since. Poor little thing off in the woods alone somewheres.”

“Ain’t got no sense I s’pose,” the woman said.

“Sarah, this is Joseph. Wandrin’ round the hills to find nothin’. Nice feller gave me a ride.”

I ordered a cup of coffee and bowl of stew. She nodded, pulled a cup from a shelf, poured the coffee and set it in front of me.

“Thank you, ma’am.”

The coffee was very black, very good.

“Sarah here’s got the best stew in Tennessee,” said Sam loudly, and I smiled politely.

“When’s the last time you tried someone else’s?” Sarah returned.

He laughed, “Ain’t never tried no one else’s. Don’t need to.”

They continued this way for a while, as Sarah placed a steaming bowl in front of me, and Sam once or twice pulled me into the conversation. I said little but “yes” and “no.” I had finished the coffee and taken a few spoonfuls of stew, when Sam said he wanted to enjoy the mountain air and he went outside to sit on one of the concrete benches and drink his second cup. I finished the bowl in silence while the old woman wiped clean tables and dishes with a damp rag. The broth was something like a warm bath. When I finished, I pulled out my wallet.

I ask, “How much do I owe you,” putting a five on the table and starting for a one.

She glanced over her shoulder at the five and said, “That’s plenty,” and turned back to a plate she was wiping.

I put two more dollars down and said, “Thank you, ma’am. Have a nice day.”

“You too.”

As I walked out the door I tripped and dropped my wallet when I put my hands out to stop the fall.

“Whoa, careful there,” Sam said.

I stood up brushing dust from my knees and Sam was holding my wallet out to me. I took it and he leaned down to pick up something else.

“That’s a pretty girl, who’s she?”

He held out the photograph and I snatched it from him.

“My sister.”

“Well, must be a good lookin’ family.”

“Yeah.”

I stuffed the photograph in the wallet and the wallet in my back pocket.

I asked, “Are there any campgrounds nearby you could recommend?”

“Well, used to be a man run one about ten miles up the road. ‘Tween them two yonder ridges.” He pointed. “Went out of business though, long time ago. Just packed up and left. Ain’t no one round here gonna mind if you spend the night there. Ain’t no one owns it, if anyone can own a mountain, anyways.”

I did not sound like the best plan, but I had brought a tent for a reason, so I said, “I guess I’ll grab a room over at this hotel and maybe go out there tomorrow.”

He nodded, “You lay ‘neath them trees alright. These hills clear your head.”

“Yes, sir. I’m no stranger to camping. Thanks. Have a good afternoon.”

“You too, young man.”

I drove my car up to the gas station right across the street and filled my tank. The pump was old fashioned and the gas was very cheap. The old man who worked there took the money like it was a prodigal son. He said nothing, all grunts and nods, and I thanked him and pulled my car over to the motel a few buildings down. I was yawning as I walked into the office, and two bells jingled above the opening door. There was a dying potted plant in the corner of the cramped room and no one behind the counter at first. Then an obese man, wearing a white tank top and jeans, rushed into the room from a door in the back, breathing heavily. He looked at me with his head tilted slightly and said, “You want a room?”

“Do you have one.”

“I got seven. Twenty sound fair.”

I nodded and got out my wallet. He took my money, gave me a key on a ring with a yellow tab, and told me it was the third door. I thanked him, and walked out to the room, which I found to be very small; an end table with a lamp, a greenish arm chair, a frameless mirror on the wall, a single twin-sized bed, and a closet-like restroom. It was very clean though.

There was no television so I went out to my car, found a book, and brought it back inside. I sat down on the bed with my back against the wall; there was no headboard. I opened the book and stared at the pages without reading. I put it down and pulled my sister’s photograph from my wallet. It was her high school senior portrait and she had her light brown hair cut just above her shoulders and curled slightly at the end. She smiled wide and I could almost hear her laugh. I set the picture down and lay back on the bed with my hands behind my head.

My mother and I were laughing that day. It was July, and the rain was starting to let up outside, but I do not remember the joke. I was enjoying an easy summer away from my classes at a community college near home. Jessie was away at university in Alabama and would be joining us next month. Mom and I were laughing and playing cards, when the phone rang and she got up and walked into the kitchen to answer.

“Hello…This is she…Yes, is she okay?…What happened? Is she okay?…What?…What!?” I stood and watched through the doorway. Her eyes were wide, hands shaking, “Oh, God. My God. Is she okay? Is she badly hurt…Oh, God…Yes…Yes…Alright …Bye.”

She was standing straight and still, her breathing a bit too measured and her eyes fixed on the blank wall. I went to her, put my hand lightly on her shoulder, and she fell against me, sobbing. I ushered her into the living room and sat beside her on the couch, my arm around her shoulders. Several minutes passed before I learned what had happened.

“My little girl. My baby. How could someone…my little girl.”

The next several days were hospital visits, meetings with police and attorneys, counseling, and my mother crying. The first visit with Jessie in the hospital, I went together with my mother and father. Jessie’s left eye was swollen shut and she had bruises on her right cheek and upper arms. We sat in wooden chairs by her bed and spoke in short phrases. Jessie said nothing but nodded and looked out her window at the overhanging branches of a tree. Mom put her hand on Jessie’s shoulder and she flinched slightly. Mom said we would get through this together, it was not her fault, and we loved her. Jessie and I both watched a cardinal land on one of the branches of the tree, bright red in the sunlight. The next day I left Mom in the waiting room, asleep, with a few of Jessie’s friends from the university. I wanted to see her. As I turned the corner to the hall where her room was, I heard her shout, something clattered on the floor, and a nurse walked briskly from the room. I stopped and stood for a moment. Then, I turned and went back to the waiting room.

Charges were pressed. The man was one of her classmates with whom she had begun to develop a friendship. He drove her home that night and would not leave. At a hearing I watched Jessie answer questions but she broke down and was led out of the courtroom. The evidence was clear enough. After conference with his attorney he eventually pled guilty and was sentenced to several years in prison. I wanted a monster in the defendant seat; cold eyes and face full of indifference. This man had short, dark hair, bright eyes, and a clean-shaven face, somber if not distraught. In another setting, I might have shared a beer with him and talked about football. He was anyone. In fact, he looked a bit like me.

Mom asked Jessie if she wanted to come down and stay with her for a few weeks or as long as she needed. Jessie said she wanted to get back to school. We spent a few days helping her organize counseling and get back into her routine, but eventually we went back to Florida, back to work, back to school. Weeks passed and she rarely answered her phone. When she did we talked about classes, books we had read, and movies. Two months passed and she stopped answering. Neither Mom nor I had heard from her. We called a friend of hers, who had not seen her for a few days. She had not shown up for counseling for a week. Then we got another phone call. Jessie had been found dead in her bedroom with an empty pill bottle beside her where she lay.

I had propped Jessie’s photograph up against the lamp and was lying on my side looking at it. Three years. I had finished college and found a good job. My life kept moving without me. I stood up and walked to the mirror. He was no monster, just a man. Any man could have done it. Any man could do it. I clenched my teeth, made a fist, and thrust it forward. The mirror cracked cleanly down the middle. I held up my hand and watched blood trickle from my knuckle down the back of my hand and forearm. Then, I washed my hand in the sink and got some toilet paper to hold on the cut. I lay down and eventually fell asleep.

In the morning I left the room key on the office counter because there was no one there to receive it and I wanted to get going quickly. I got in my car and drove away from Anne toward the mountains Sam suggested. The road became increasingly rough as it wound between hills. The two ridges stood like a giant gated walls in the distance. At first a few dirt roads turned off but after a few miles there were no more. The road sloped gradually downward for a while, then it was flat for five or six miles, and then it started to climb upward again. Trees thickened around me and soon I drove in the shade. I came to the top of on hill where the trees receded slightly and I could see the paved road curve sharply off to the left just before it reached the ridges, and a smaller road rose up between them. In a few minutes I had reached the small road and I turned onto it. It was unpaved and overgrown, little more than two old tire tracks running on either side of tall grass. I drove slowly up the sloping path until the ridges towered over me on either side. Behind them was a shorter, but wider mountain. The road dipped down and then sharply up and around the side of the mountain. The trees were thick and the noontime sun pushed only dim light through them.

Soon, I came to an old wooden sign. The paint was nearly gone but I could just barely read “Jake’s Campground.” I drove by it and off to the left was a ruinous building with the wide trunk of a fallen tree pushing through the roof. The windows were gray with dust and a short driveway was grown over with weeds and grass, high enough to reach my knees. I drove on. There were a few camps sites where old circles of ash were just barely visible, and each had a rotting wooden picnic table beside it. I picked one at random and parked my car on the road, getting the tent and other supplies out of the trunk and setting it all down beside the ash pit. I heard running water nearby. I found an empty water jug, which I had been drinking from and refilling since I left Florida, and I walked toward the sound, dry leaves crunching beneath my feet. Just a few feet away the ground dropped off. The slope was steep but manageable and a few bare faces of rock gave me footing. At the bottom, I found a small clear brook. I set the jug down and knelt beside it, cupping my hands into the water and drinking from them. The water was ice cold.

By the middle of the afternoon I had set up the tent, gathered a large pile of wood from the surrounding underbrush, and was coercing a fire into life. Much of the wood was slightly damp so I used a few squirts of lighter fluid to get it going and then set the aluminum can several feet away. The fire took and grew slowly. When it died back down to bright red embers I removed the label from a can of soup, pulled of lid, and placed it on the fire. When it was bubbling I wrapped an old t-shirt around my hand and took the can from the embers. I poured the soup into a paper coffee cup I had from the road and I drank it slowly. It was not Sarah’s stew, but it was good.

That night I slept uneasily under a sleeping bag inside the tent. Every time I felt sleep begin to take me, something startled me awake; the rustling wind through the trees or the call of an animal somewhere far off. However, it did not seem long before the dim light of morning glowed through the sides of the tent. And then I heard the crunch of leaves outside. I unzipped the tent and stepped out.

And there was Jessie dancing. Here in front of the smoke of a dying fire, while early dawn fell blue through the trees, she danced. And there were others like her, beautiful children, dancing. No music but the rustle of wind through the trees and the rhythm of my beating heart. They danced separately for a while and then came together in a circle around the smoking fire pit. Jessie held out her hand and I took it and another’s and I danced. We were smiling and laughing and the rhythm grew stronger and we danced faster. I looked at Jessie and she squeezed my hand and I smiled. The rhythm increased and we dance faster still. Faster. Faster until we all fell and lay on our backs laughing and gasping for air. I wiped sweat from my forehead with one hand while Jessie held the other tightly.

When my breathing slowed and my heart found its pace, my sweating skin grew cold in the morning air. I sat up and everyone was lying with their arms wrapped tightly around them, but they kept laughing anyway. I let go of Jessie’s hand and went to the fire. There was wood at hand so I took it and laid it on top of the embers. I took a long stick and stirred the glowing ash. The fire took. It grew slowly and I threw on more wood. They were all sitting up now staring at the orange flames, whose light danced on their faces. I smiled but they did not. The faces faded from blank to frowning. I added more wood to the fire and it grew even more. Still they did not smile. Their eyes went from the flames to me and they all stood suddenly. One of them began to back away and they all followed one by one. One turned and began to run and they all did the same. I turned and Jessie was still standing there. Her eyes were wide. I stepped forward and she stepped back. I put out my hand and she stepped back again. She turned away from me and I reached forward and grabbed her arm. She tried to shake off my grip but I took her other arm. She shook again and I held her tighter. She pulled away and I pulled back. And then I felt my heel snag a root sticking out from the ground. I let go of Jessie and fell hard on my back.

My body was pounding from head to foot and I could just barely hear her feet crunching the leaves as she ran. My vision was all white spots which faded gradually. I felt warm all over at first and then the warmth faded, but not around my leg. I could smell lighter fluid and I started to feel pain in my left calf. I looked down and the end of my pant leg was bright with fire. The smell of burning hair hit my nostrils. I stood and shook my leg violently but lost my balance and fell again. I rubbed my leg across the ground but the fire did not go out. The pain took all of my leg as the fire crept up slowly. I dug into the ground and threw dirt onto it but it would not die. I rolled and rolled. My heart and head were pounding and the pain enveloped me. I rolled and my leg was fire. And then I felt my body rolling faster, downward, and I could not stop. Roots and rocks buffeted my body and my leg still burned. I came to a sudden stop and could hear the water running just a few feet away. I dragged myself over to the brook, despite the pain that covered me, and I thrust my leg into the water.

I sat up, and looked down, and pulled my leg from the brook. The fire was extinguished but the bottom half of my pant leg was all black. My body ached and throbbed all over. I pulled the cloth up and as it brushed my skin it stung. My calf and shin were bright pink, the hair singed or gone altogether, but the burn was only superficial. I stood slowly keeping my weight on the right side. My head went suddenly light and spots filled my eyes again. I held out my arms to balance myself and the spots faded. My head cleared.

And there was Jessie standing before me across the brook. Behind her in the trees were all the children, watching, waiting. And Jessie spoke to me.

I’m sorry I left so soon. For your sake, and Mom’s and Dad’s. I was selfish.

He hurt you, I understand.

Yes, he did. But that’s no excuse.

I want to come join you.

No. You can’t. I know you want to, but you can’t.

No, I suppose not. But I don’t want it anymore. I want nothing.

I know. But live.

For what?

Live to be unlike the man who did this.

Jessie stepped across the brook and threw her arms around me. My throat was tight and my eyes burned, and a tear ran down my cheek. I took her firmly in my arms.

I have to go now, she said.

I nodded and let her go. She smiled weakly and turned. I watched her walk away as the children waited patiently. She stopped and turned. She held up her hand and waved. I waved a reluctant goodbye to my sister. Jessie smiled one last smile and kept going.

“Boy! You a damn fool or what? Tryin’ to burn the whole damn forest down?”

Startled, I turned and Sam and Sarah were coming down the hillside.

“Don’t worry, we put it out, but you got to be careful where you leave lightin’ fluid layin’ around. My God! Look at you!”

He looked down at my leg and my tattered clothing. My arms were bruised and scraped.

“There as bad storm comin’ in from the south and Sarah here was worried about you up in these hills alone. Hell. Looks like we got here just in time too. Looks like you damn near killed yourself and took the whole forest with you. Thought you said you knew how to camp!”

I turned back around and Jessie and the children were gone.

“You alright, son?”

I kept looking into the trees. “Yeah, I’ll be fine. I’ll manage anyway. I think I need to get home. My mother’s probably worried sick.”

“Well, you spend a few nights in Anne till this storm blows over. What in God’s name did you do to that leg?” I pulled up the pant leg and showed him. “Hell. You stay in Anne and old Sarah here’ll nurse that leg right up for you, ain’t that right?” Sarah nodded.

We went back up the hill together. I had my arm around Sam’s shoulder as he helped me walk. They had the rusty pick-up parked behind my car. Sam and Sarah helped me tear down the tent and gather my things. We were about to go and Sam looked me in the eye.

“So. You find somethin’?”

Comments and honest criticism, please.


Poetry

Posted: November 7th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Fiction | 1 Comment »