2 March 2013

Short Story Saturday #2

chalkboard story


            It was late, the kind of late that made you think about death and what you were doing with your life, horrible things passing in rapid succession over your tired retina. Everything seemed muffled, the only sound loud enough to pierce the veil being the one of heels clip-clopping on the asphalt, a darkened shadow added to the ones already creeping along the pavement. One, two, three... Counting the streetlights kept her mind occupied. She was thinking, the logical thing to do given the hour and the place. She thought about things. And about life. And about how the wires looked like spider-webs... one giant spider-web of electricity, expanding over the city, catching fireflies in its insulated trap. Some of them flickered, others were out, but all went in her countdown. Fifteen, sixteen... She rather liked the dark patches of the road. The flickering ones just made her uneasy.
            The night air tasted like smooth silk, yet felt crisp and rough against her skin. The moon was round and orange and big and giving off so much light the shadows looked like creeping giants, with long arms and long legs and elongated rooftops that punctured the sidewalk. Everything was perfect and beautiful and so unlike the day.
            I hate daytime, she thought, taking another deep breath. Sunlight is just so aggressive. But the moon – the moon is tender and soft and pale. It’s like it’s made of bones; pretty bones in the sky. She exhaled loudly, seeing the breath flee from her warm body. I can never have that back... She gazed pensively at the sky. It was slightly overcast, an improvement from yesterday’s May-like weather. She didn't like warm weather. Then again, she didn't like many things, Spring and Summer and clear skies being just a few of the many.
            The city was always so silent during such tired hours. Everybody was probably sleeping or having that last drink at the club, or maybe watching just another episode of that show before going to bed. She wondered what it would be like to have another life. A more exciting one. A life in which things happened. In which she could walk home at night and maybe see a stray shadow leaned against the wall, with just enough electric light to see that the shadow belonged to a beautiful, pale man. He would seem sad. She would slow her pace and accelerate her pulse. He would look at her with impossibly clear and sharp eyes, every shade of green perfectly defined as if painted on. She would part her lips, hot air coming out in rasps. He would then decide he loves her.
            But that was just a silly scenario never to be played out, and she was just a stupid teenager with nothing better to do but count lights on her way home.
            Or was it?
            A car passed by, leaving just a faint smell of gasoline behind it. She loved the smell of gasoline; it was a reminder of her childhood, when going to the gas-station was synonymous to going on a road-trip. A reminder of easier, better days.
            Then, when turning left on 5th street, she started believing in miracles. In providence. In something bigger than her, floating in space and reading her mind like her brother sometimes did with her diary. But her brother never made her wishes come true.

            All it takes is a ‘hi’. Breathe.

            She took a deep breath, overfilling her lungs to the point of breaking them at the seams. Stuttering, she managed to whisper something. He looked up from the spot on the sidewalk he was fixing with his muddy green eyes and focused on hers, which were now shining with the light of the moon.
            ‘Sorry, did you say something?’ he asked, his voice as crisp as the air around them.
            ‘No, you must have me confused with someone else.’ Play it cool. Play. It. Cool.
            He looked around with great aplomb and finally declared, peevishly: ‘but we’re all alone.’
            We’re all alone...
            ‘Yeah, I guess you got that right.’ I am all alone. We all are. We’re all very lonely, very sad people, who are waiting for their time to be given to someone else. And then... then we disappear. Just like that.
            ‘Are you even listening to me?’
            ‘Sorry, did you say something?’
            ‘I might have, but you were too busy to pay any attention. Now you’ll never know what I said.’ He playfully crossed his arms.
            ‘Maybe you’ll tell me tomorrow. Same time, same place?’
            He regarded her for a moment, then nodded firmly.
            When she got home that night, she knew everything was going to be okay. Someone, somewhere, heard her thoughts. Her birthday wish was granted.


            ‘What is wrong with May-weather anyway?’ the 3rd of May asked, directing the question to nobody in particular. It was October himself who answered:
            ‘My children were not created to love the rude heat of the sun or enjoy the dreadfully clear skies of summertime. But as it is my month, I will kindly ask you to inform your patron to stop messing with the weather. Or, by the Twelve Moons, I will come there myself and it shall not be pleasant.’
            October was a grumpy old deity, in love with falling leaves. His throne was an old tree trunk, carved by time. His scepter could ooze out three types of clouds. His favourite colour was old yellow and he was in a love-hate relationship with the beautiful May. He loved all his children equally, and hated having to replace them. Especially that odd suicidal boy that had the most peculiar ideas about how he should end his own life. Alas, Seventeen did a splendid job out of keeping him alive.
            October’s murderous thoughts towards his lovely nemesis were interrupted by Twenty, who was rushing to report another successful Birthday wish granting.
            The rank of a certain deity, you see, was established by the number of successful Birthday wishes granted in its respective Month.
            ‘Perfect,’ October rubbed his aged hands. ‘One more and we’re in the lead.’

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