“These are odds times, Hector. It suits him.” Tereasa wrapped her newborn tightly in the threadbare blanket. She looked out at the vacant auditorium, the shadows of people past still lingered in the seats.
Wincing, she tried to get up.
“What are you doing?”
“We have to keep moving. They’ll find us.”
“They’ll be sure to find us if you pass out in the snowy street. Lay down.”
Hector took his son in his arms and looked at his wife on the hard, dusty floor.
“Stage, huh? Well, I guess it’s as good as any name.”
For this week’s Writing Prompt at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie we were asked to “share a poem, drawing, story, photo, sculpture, etc that you’ve put your soul into creating. Something that touches on the deepest most vulnerable parts of yourself. Something raw and exposing. It need not be something new or something created specifically for this challenge. It might be your most accomplished piece of work or it might be a piece that you have never shared before. Maybe it makes no sense to anyone other than you or maybe it has gotten a lot of positive publicity. Maybe you sit down right now, in this moment and pour your guts out. Show us what you’re made of!“
I shared this poem back in April. I am posting it again for this prompt because it was written in a time of desperation. I was in the middle of one of my obsession episodes where everything was closing in. Everything seemed hopeless and nothing seemed real and I felt like I couldn’t go to anyone about it. Be careful with my soul…it’s fragile.
Fear is what keeps me here. I am safe in my box. The invisible, self erected walls keep the unwanted filth out. I will not die at the hand of fate. I have out smarted death. Healthy is my name, cleanliness is my game. I rule at keeping out dirt. I don’t slip up. I never stop planning. Every step I take is meticulously thought out, my life depends on it. If something goes wrong, the system is ruined.
This was my entry in Micro Bookends weekly contest. This story got me an honorable mention. Here is what Dave had to say:
“Great use of the opening bookend: “Fear is what keeps me here.” The character’s OCD (“Healthy is my name, cleanliness is my game”) has led him or her to this desperate situation. I really like the sense of panic from the short sharp closing sentences, right down to the Yodaesque finish.”
I try to act like I know nothing as my girls giggle at each other at the table. They’ve hidden corn in my mashed potatoes again. Last time they did that I almost threw up. I take a bite, careful to miss the corn.
“Eeeew!” I say, pretend disgust written on my face. The girls burst out laughing.
“You sure did,” I say, a sly grin stretching across my lips as they both take giant bites of their potatoes. Their brown beauties widen in surprise, tongues extend out with an exasperated grunt. They reach for their water.
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“See how everything is green? It may be hard to believe but the whole earth used to be like this.”
“That’s correct Thyis. The earth used to be filled with all sorts of terrain. But after The Great Disaster everything was destroyed. The Core rose up and built the great civilization you live in today. We owe them our lives. Without their great minds and perseverance earth would cease to exist.”
“But why all the steel? Wouldn’t our society do better with some nature?
“Thyis, I am going to pretend I didn’t hear that. Back to your history book.”