Thursday, January 20, 2011


(This is the third in a series of very short stories inspired by an AM Radio build in SL; some pictures are included here. If you haven't seen his work, you should!)

Huddled inside an oversized thick jacket and yet cold to the bone, I watched warily from afar the smoke-filled fire burning in the field of grass. The incongruous fire burned in separate straight line strands several feet apart as if some fiery demon had raked the earth with three giant finger nails. Eventually, despite my unease, I walked up close to the flames hoping that they would yield some of their warmth to my shivering body, but to no avail. The flames hissed and crackled and lapped at unseen ethereal enemies that somehow held the fire at bay robbing it of its warmth and preventing it from spreading through the field. I couldn't make sense of what I was seeing or of the relentless cold that seemed buried deep inside me and just stood in place rocking slowly on my heels. What added to the sense of strangeness and foreboding was that the odd scene before me seemed deeply familiar even though I was sure I hadn't set foot on this immaculately desolate place before.

After several minutes of indecision, the desire to walk eastwards broke free of the hold the cold had on my mind and I ambled off in that direction expecting to find a fence separating the field from railroad tracks even though I could not see either from where I stood. I made my way past a small unoccupied house and further eastwards to what surely would be a very odd sight to anyone, a table and a chair in the middle of the field far from the house and just a few feet from the wire fence. Just past the fence were the railroad tracks I had been expecting. It all felt quite natural and right to me and without thought I went and sat on the chair to look about me. The fire, the house, the fence, the railroad tracks, and now this table and chair in the middle of the field; what was this place? It felt like I had never been here, and at the same time like I had forever been here.

The wind picked up a little and the rustle of the pages of the notebook on the table finally got me to pick it up. It was more than half-way filled with what seemed like diary entries. The last entry read
You are not here. This is not real. Don't come back. Don't you come back.
There were pages and pages of such drivel. Some of the earliest entries from years ago were longer with rambling text about her being gone and never coming back, about the trains not running, and about being cold. Whoever this madman was, I was glad he wasn't here anymore. I got up to leave this crazy forsaken place and only then noticed the flapping scraps of white silk caught in the wire mesh of the fence. A flood of images came rushing into my mind. She in her wedding dress, the sound of the approaching train, the look in her eyes as she turned and ran away from me, the skirt of her dress catching and tearing as she jumped over the wire fence, the open freight car of the train that carried her away. She was gone, and I was here forever without her.

Defeated, I collapsed back into the chair and picked up the pen.

No comments:

Post a Comment