The sun was going down. It was the dark just before night. The cold was biting and the air stung my skin. I saw movement along the tree line. Was it a shadow? The dusk playing tricks on my eyes? No. I could see the silhouette clearly now. Broad body and full rack. It slowly made its way onto the green. I shifted uneasily and it looked up sharply, suspicious of the situation now.
I squeezed the trigger. It fell. That’s the way it goes with those types of things. Cause and effect. There was the rush but then there was a fall. It was a strange sensation. Taking a life, no matter how small a life, is a life all the same. With these hands. It was my doing, There really is no other way to state it.
My father smeared the blood on my face. That was a ritual for a first kill. I wasn’t old enough to shave. I was proud and sad all at the same time. Its eyes were open. I remember that too. They still haven’t closed.
As promised, this place is about connecting each other and sharing out stories. I am happy to promote a great voice now: The Wavering Cursor Among This Blank Screen.
Follow along with her journey! And as always, feel free to send me your work and we’ll share your voice too!
“A boy and his dog.” That’s the line isn’t it? That’s what everyone always says, “There’s nothing like a boy and his dog.” They’re not wrong. There is nothing like it. He was a puppy when I first met him. His body was too big for his little legs. He used to fall over when he ran. It made my father laugh. I loved that dog for that. He was my friend. I grew and he grew with me. He loved me through all my awkward years. He loved me through every good day. He loved me through every bad day. He ran beside me through the woods. Long mornings when the hills made my calves burn and my lungs felt like they would explode. He stayed right by my side. Even as he got old he made himself keep up.
Dogs just seem to know things without us ever having to tell them anything at all. The night she broke my heart he just knew. I didn’t want to talk. I just wanted to be alone. That’s the thing about a boy and his dog. When your best friend is a dog you can be alone together. His big black paw rested on my knee and we just sat there. Alone. But not so alone.
I buried him beside the big tree that we ran past in the hills. He always seemed to like that spot. I took my friend and placed him in the ground. I ripped out a piece of myself and laid it in the hole with him.
I don’t run in the hills anymore.
The smell is what takes me back, a mixture of cookies and gardening soil and perfume that should have long since been retired. She had rough hands; somehow they were still gentle. Her joints ached but she still chased me around the yard, laughter filling the air, joy in my heart. At night she told me stories of dragons and knights and a world I wanted to live in. She loved me the way that only grandmothers can. She didn’t just think I could be anything, she believed it with everything inside of her.
That’s the job of a grandmother. To believe in you long before life has tried to convince you otherwise. To plant that tiny seed early on and give you deep roots to hold firm when the world tries to knock you down. Because that’s the job of the world. We can only hope that our grandmothers do their job just a little better.
Flashback is an ongoing [fractured] story. These are short individual components of a larger connecting narrative that is non-linear. Hope you enjoy.
I remember the river like it was yesterday. The way that the water rushed over my feet, cold and refreshing, invigorating. My toes dug into the sand and rocks at the bottom. The sun shone down on my face and warmed me. The fresh bloom of Spring was fresh in my nostrils. Peace. That’s what I remember. Peace. It was like all the world decided to stop and just embrace the beauty that was within it. The moment stretched for an eternity and then went by before I could hold onto it.
I guess that’s life.
Those little moments that flash by but stay with us forever. Those are the best parts of life if we’re lucky. If we’re not those moments are the worst. For me, this moment, this one was good.
I’m the kind of person who likes a pen and paper more than a keyboard. I’m the person in the coffee shop scribbling on napkins when an idea inevitably pops into my head. Sometimes its just an image, not even a complete thought. I try and write down the image and then later craft a story around it. Sitting here in this coffee shop, looking out the window, I had one of those little flashes and scribbled away. I’ll share it with you.
–The sun was getting low on the horizon. The sky was that strange mixture of oranges, purples and pinks and the day’s last lights were glistening on the water. It was both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. He gazed ahead. This might be the last sunset he would ever see and he didn’t want to waste it. He just wanted to forget, if only for a moment, and take in the warmth. As the sun finally made its final descent beneath the water he looked back one last time. He looked back on the life he knew he had to leave behind. Looked back on all the things he should have become. Looked back on the all the things he became instead. And with that thought, he pushed the boat off the shore, took a deep breath, and let the tide take him out into whatever future lay ahead.–
Why do humans love stories so much? What is it in us that draws us to tales of dragons or romance or mystery? We’ve been telling each other stories for thousands of years and I don’t see us slowing down anytime soon. Stories make us who we are as a whole and as an individual. A great story even has the power to change us.
I just recently finished my doctorate so I’ve been spending a lot of time lately trying to catch up on all of the stories I haven’t had the chance to read. My top three so far this year:
1. The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin
2. Beartown by Fredrick Backman
3. Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta
What are your top three this year?
(I’m always looking for a good recommendation!)