The awkward owl asks "What?"
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Note: This is part four in an ongoing series. The previous parts are listed here. The end of part three is in italics.
The Work (Part I)
The Work (Part II)
The Work (Part III)
“Well, you were right,” Jasper said, glancing at her. “It's big.” He turned back to Michael. “You, my friend, are wearing the body of a convicted murderer.”
“Are you sure?” Eva said.
“Positive.” Jasper drummed his fingers along the wood of the coffee table. “Someone snatches a spirit out of a body like this, it leaves behind a….shadow. Like an afterimage? Echoes of who inhabited the body before, where they’d gone, what they’d done. That kind of thing. I couldn’t see much. And I don’t want to see more, thank you. But the person who owned this body was a murderer. And also,” Jasper slid off the table to grab the remote control, “it’s been on TV.”
He flicked the television on, turned it to the local news channel and a few human interest stories later the face of the body Michael wore filled the screen, the anchor announcing that the body of a convicted killer, who had been murdered in prison, had gone missing during transport to the funeral home in Kingsland. The driver hadn’t realized it until he’d arrived on site and gone to unload the body.
“From what I got,” Jasper spoke up again looking at Michael, “he slipped away when the driver made a pit stop. Found you parked. Pulled you out of the car. Sound about right?”
Michael’s eyes focused on something in the distance, mouth drawing down at the corners, the silver-grey smoke nearly obscuring his face as he spoke. “I was at a light. I’d just sent a text to my sister telling her I couldn’t come for dinner this weekend. The door opened. He yanked me out. And—it felt like….” Michael closed his eyes, mouth thinning out, chasing the memory of a feeling. “Velcro being ripped apart. I was looking down at my own face, smiling up at me. I’ve never smiled like that before. He pushed me into a ditch. Took my car. I—“ He trailed off, grew inhumanly still, milky eyes distant, floating in the murky water of memory and then his body shuddered as he remembered to draw breath, make words. “I saw you. At your house. I don’t remember getting there.”
“Not surprising,” Eva said. “Death is a big enough confusion on its own. Displacement is even worse,” she continued, Jasper nodding along. “Your spirit wasn’t ready to leave your body.”
The room was quiet for a moment. Then:
“What do I do?” The words were simple. She heard them every day. But Michael’s voice was full of enough grief, enough despair that Eva felt her stomach churn and clench as if it were trying to devour itself.
“First things first,” Jasper said. “You need to get this boy a new suit. He can’t be walking around in the body of a dead murderer. That’s the opposite of low key.”
"Any ideas? It’s not like we can just walk into the body store and pick out a new model."
"No?” There was edge to Jasper’s grin that Eva didn’t like. He stood, pulling out his wallet and fishing a card from inside. He handed it to her. “Try Blue Mountain. I'd recommend looking for ones with, ah, no grieving relatives.... There's at least one that's bound to be a better fit than...this." He wrinkled his nose. “And it won’t be rotting, either. That,” he nodded to the card, “is a friend of mine. You tell her what you need, she’ll help you out.”
“And you,” Michael said, wary, curious. “What will you be doing?”
“Putting out a spiritual APB for your body. The thing about people like us, Michael,” Jasper grinned, gesturing to Eva and himself “is that we really do have eyes and ears everywhere.”
Loosely, for the Darkroom prompt "coming up for air," at Our Write Side.
Oh, I admit, it's loosely for both prompts.
It's been nearly a year since I added to this piece. And I'm going to blame that firmly on grad school (which I finished this past summer, yay!).
And, as always, this piece is posted with little polishing, as part of my attempts to get over the perfectionist tendencies that plague me when it comes to first drafts.
Saturday, December 31, 2016
“Sorry only counts in church. And even then, I’m not sure it counts for much,” Evan says. “So just…don’t.”
The air hangs between them, charged and brittle; one wrong spoken word will set the whole room alight, shatter the spun glass delicate truce they’ve spent hours wringing out of their tears; their raised voices; the unsteady sleep they’d found, half afraid to touch but bodies arching toward each other, chilled from not being pressed tight together.
“Okay,” Paolo says, breathes out slowly, looks at the time. Sunday morning. “Breakfast at the diner?”
Evan sighs. “Yeah.”
Tara R, over at Thin Spiral Notebook, has taken over the 100 Word Challenge from Velvet Verbosity. (And I'm so glad someone stepped up to do so. Even though it's been a while since I've participated, I always loved this quick, weekly challenge.)
This week's word prompt was "Sorry."
New Year. New Job. New.....everything. I'm hoping I'll be back with another response next week.
A miniscule challenge this weekend. The telling of an entire story with a short breath.
Tell me the story of a struggling artist in six words.
Come back before midnight on Sunday and leave a link to your response in the comments. I'll share it on Twitter. Pay a visit to anyone else who's participated. Have fun.
Friday, December 23, 2016
Friday, December 9, 2016
Head bowed, he breathes deep and chokes on the odor of flowers, the subtle cloying scent of lily and sharp tang of lilac settling on the back of his tongue.
She’s next to him, holding his arm; he can feel the soft swell of her breast against his tricep and the sturdy warmth of her body molded against him from torso to calf. She breaks away as the double doors open, twining her fingers with his, and guides him down the aisle to the resonant thrum of organ music; his gait hitches right along with his breath.
At the front of the room, he finally raises his head, falters and loses a step, shiny black shoes scuffing the threadbare chapel carpet. The coffin, draped in flowers, sits on the middle of a dais with lights beaming down on it; if he didn’t know any better, he’d think he was staring at the opening scenes of some play, but the bowed heads of people in the pews, the whisper-soft sobs and rasps of tissue against wet cheeks remind him that this is reality.
She slides onto the hard wooden pew reserved for family and he follows her, looks at her, waits for her to tighten her fingers around his hand and then he turns his face forward—breathes out, breathes in—and whispers: Goodbye, brother.