Articles tagged with: Fiction
Invisible Dan drove the car, a green Volkswagen Jetta that hurtled along I-80 in the middle of the night. We’d just coaxed him into fifth gear—he’d never driven a stick before—and now allowed ourselves to drowse, drifting on the edge of sleep as we whisked through central Pennsylvania. The Promised Land was still two hundred miles away. Columbus, Columbus, Columbus. Was there a word more beautiful in all the language than this one, which bespoke whole worlds of firstness, freshness, discovery? Westward we flew, as the word made a rosary under my breath, the engine’s hum and the seat’s vibration lulling me deeper. Then a truck slid past on the left and Dan panicked. He ground the gearbox and stomped on the brake.
Kendra immediately shot up and turned back to the Home. The man from the day before in the Eating Hall—the one in the long coat, turning his head about the Homers, with the strange, transparent contraption resting on his nose, making his eyes appear double large—stood now in front of the Home’s entrance.
The Fall made me willing. Not just for him but for all of it. For the giggling and the grabbing and the colors we kicked all over the park. And for the chit chat at the kitchen table when five o’clock lingered into evening like the disappearing smoke of a snuffed-out match. Bobby watched the drop of fire on the candlewick flicker and interrupted me when it held still. How strange, he said, look. Look at that. The flame looks smooth like water… Like water running over a worn-out stone. He leaned toward me to light a cigarette on the candle and blew smoke in my eyes. Cut the shit, Bobby, I said. You know my Daddy used to do that before he’d burn me. His five o’clock shadow stood on end like an angry porcupine’s quills. “Don’t bring your lousy life in here,” he said.
At the bus stop bench, he looks like a salvaged medical experiment, but he sits there, with the shotgun wound in his head, and passers-by crane their necks to get a better view at the freak show which is Stuart. Remington blast leftovers. With the self-inflicted crater in his brow healed up six-months by now, he sits sweating in the hot afternoon sun and glares out boldly at traffic with his one remaining good eye. And as the cars rush by, each tinted face inside stares; stunned by the puzzling disfigurement which they can’t quite put their finger on. Though above all else, one thing is Stuart’s greatest torment to date: With a single hazel eye can he now easily divine every shift of recognition at his violence to another heart done.
There are always clues. Sometimes it’s as simple as a new sound. It’s the clicking fingernails of a small dog scurrying against hardwood floors, when you have neither. It’s the way the air tastes. It could be that the pillows are too thin, or the texture of unfamiliar sheets against your skin. But it’s always something, and you know immediately. Without realizing how you got there, or even opening your eyes, you know that you are in a strange bed, and it is unsettling.