Stories written after hearing Foxing’s Dealer
Lioness, watch the breath from your lips leave into the shattering air. It cannot move without your power. Your charm holds me down so I cannot move. The doves flew away but still held in their talons remained a rotted semblance of the remains. You held everything in me down and with not enough to be free I grew into it, taking the shape you pointed to and not caring. You went until the cascades dried up and the thicket of your hair untangled from my hands. We gave out. I don’t know how to move on. I know you won’t.
The chain of beads sat below the dark wood thick-framed portrait, sepia-grained. No knots. The bedpost kept the beads from falling. They lay draped downward. A folded pair of hands sat next to them. She couldn’t move her eyes to the picture. It has been too long but she sat by it every day. The sun continued to rise and fall across the frame. The glare of light reflected into her eyes and her breath hitched. She sat silent until the sun crept past and the entire room was light. A tangerine glow perched itself in the window. She never looked.
He walked and kept a quick pace while looking backwards. Nothing followed him. It was late and the moon was bright. He tripped over something in the tall grass and when he disappeared beneath he heard something move near him. He looked at his feet and his laces were caught on a protruding twig. He kept quiet. The rustling came nearer. He heard the heartbeat in his ears. A deer jumped over him, and landed in the tall grass, towering over it. His antlers bowed in front of the moon. He ate silently as the boy tried to slip away, anxious.
The dew-frosted branches twinkled in the morning light. Leaves sat on the branches, waiting for the wind to pick them up and take them away. With each shallow gust they swayed and bent.
A bird rested on the branch, sitting between one large freshly yellowed leaf and the spot from where it had just plucked a green, worm-holed leaf from the stem. It puffs its chest feathers to swell. There are no other birds around and leaves fall around him. He drops the leaf and spreads his soft wings to take perch on an empty branch, where other birds join him.
The lone chimney sat stark against the daffodil-white snowfall. Trees swayed softly together. The old man’s chest slowly rose and fell in the silence of the day. Birds passed silently. The smoke rose and drifted through the gentle valley. He stayed asleep for most of the day, only waking a brief moment to itch his forehead. The fire inside crackled and spit ash forward onto the mortar. On the walls were heads of many animals: bears, squirrels, deer. Their glass eyes stared at each other throughout the day. They sat hollow. The flame twinkled in their eyes when flames grew tall.
Black boughs shook from the wind. Scattered leaves crossed the parkway path and dirt picked over from the morning birdcall sat dark and overturned. Grass roots jutted out. The calamity kept the animals, as they shook, frightened. Birds on wires sat watchful and birds in the trees squawked loudly. Some flew away, creating holes between the branches, making the trees look like veins without a body. The sky rested a grey, almost white color. The boy watched the birds up through the trees. He watched the tree fall, with branches breaking on collapse. Tree after fell, slowly creaking as roots weakened.
In front of an innocent look he dropped down beneath the branches and landed in the brown bark between the freshly planted, peach-colored flowers. His wings stunned the boy for their richness was visual. The white eyes searched the ground for anything lively. Nothing moved. He hopped for a while but flew away in fear of wasted search. As he left his wing clipped a flower and a seed stuck between the feathers, nestled into him. With each breath he felt the seed warm until he no longer noticed. When he landed again the seed was gone from his feathers, lifeless.
The crescent-moon shape of his boot heel imprinted the wet sand. Its taupe color and the wetness from the tidewater cast gentle reflections of the moon. The breeze carried the smell from the water past him and into the town. He would make it back by morning, before they would wake. Each step moved further and further from the shore, shifting sand from thin and watery to thick and clumpy and grainy. The granules fell from the boot slowly, one grain at a time, adding to the millions that quietly wait waking up in the sunlight, the glow and the warmth.
Sun shone down brightly onto the dock and into the back of her shirt and neck. The hat she wore only created a faint shade. The dock faded in the heavy light and broke apart from the years. Water swayed underneath in between the slats. Her feet hung off the edge and moved with the lull of the water. He creaked along the dock behind her, his arms concrete. She heard him and didn’t move or say anything. He lumbered down to sit next to her and she kept staring out. Concrete slowly melted from his arms and they looked together.
Golden and glistening from the table lamp, it rested with mouthpiece against the edge of the table, bell beveled and wide open to the floor. The three valves, newly polished, awaited the fingers of the delicate man who sat beside it in his chair. Three-piece suit, thick starched wool clung deeply to him as he sat comfortable snoozing. Light knocks did nothing to wake him. He leaned back with feet crossed at the ankles. The breath from his nostrils broke the calm silence of the room. He dreamed of a butterfly garden with open grass and running rivers and wheat-colored light.
Three On A Match
He drew the shorter end of the broken matchstick and the wind blew hard to the south. Hair was in his eyes but he readied himself anyway. They were in tall grass and when he crouched down he disappeared. His friend first heard the scream before seeing the top of his head pop up in the brush far away. His friend fell over laughing in the brush clutching his stomach as he jumped up, now without a shirt, making guttural noises, imitating the bears they saw on television.
“Next time I win a bet, you’re going in the river!” he yelled.