Epilogue – Issue Twelve

If They have It under surveillance
With Their microphones in all there is
They must know
This wooden object d’art
Has been teleporting Itself
Or has had Itself teleported
Across the Earth
One solar year.
One interested may ask
Do milestones matter
To cosmic multi-drawered beasts?
Will It now
Twelve months completed
Vanish like before it arrived
Like the bird flying in
through one open window
And out another?
Will It now not exist
Perhaps
Or something other to occur
Or nothing at all
If a year means nothing to The Cabinet
Of Heed
As to everything else there is?
Watch.

 

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The Cabinet Of Heed Issue 12 Ident

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Adrift – Mairéad Webster

Down and down I fall
Into your world of a different shape
Open to all who jump.
It’s scary for sure
These worthwhile things we do.
The water gushing within
That traps you
Tight against the cranial wall
Yet increases your domain
To swim against the tide
With limitless powers
Bereft from them long ago,
The snakes of the sea,
who wish to constrict
Your gift to amuse, to teach,
and more so far unknown,
From us who jump,
Who dive,
Daring to know you.

 

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St Louis Is Everywhere – Megan Pillow Davis

So I go to this conference in St. Louis, and my hotel is full of black people
dressed nice. The lady at the front desk whispers “they’re going to a wedding”

as if it’s a secret, as if black people dressed nice at a hotel need some kind of
explanation. Every time I call for an Uber, my driver is a white guy. In between

the “what are you in town for?” and the “have a nice visit,” white guy pontificates
on the history of race in his city, as if I can’t see all of the limestone we’re passing,

as if I don’t notice that St. Louis has lightened its buildings the way bleaching creams lighten the skin, and I get the message: whiteness is, after all, not just about beauty,

but the delivery of pain. My white guy Uber drivers think it’s safe to mention Michael Brown’s name in passing. His body is their punctuation mark – an asterisk, maybe a

comma – that gets crowded out by gossip about the latest Cardinals valuation. They drop me off at the conference hotel where all the white people like me wear name badges that

flutter like cattle tags. They shuttle me to bars where, somehow, all the white people are still laughing and drinking their IPAs, where the men tug at the waists of their women,

pulling them like taffy to their tongues, where the women heft the globes of their breasts
under the silver gazes of bathroom mirrors. Somehow, all the white people are still

singing and dancing to Taylor Swift as if the world has not thrown from its orbit and gone careening out into the dark of the universe, sizzling with light, the last firework

at the end of every Independence Day night that wobbles its way to the top of the hazy sky and then dies dies dies. Somebody told me about a pizza place on Washington Ave,

and this time I walk. Every black man who passes me slides his eyes away and crosses the street when I get too close. I pass a Latina with her two young kids, a teenager in

hijab. The four of them drain away from the city sidewalks like blood from an opened vein, like blood from a black kid shot twelve times and dying in the street. At the pizza

place, I order an IPA. The white man next to me reads my face as if I’ve just made him
some kind of promise. He smiles. “Sometimes,” he says, “you gotta shake things up.

Sometimes you gotta create chaos.” Behind him, above the door, is the photo of the man throwing a tear gas canister back at the Ferguson police during the riots that feel like

yesterday, like today. The canister is all wobbling, sizzling light. Behind the man, two others blur against the hazy night sky. The canister hovers just above the palm

of his hand, waiting to be thrown from its orbit, to careen to its death. Each time the door opens, my eyes find him again, a dark planet in the disquieted universe of white. I know

that man is Edward Crawford. I know I cannot talk about the people on the street as if they are pieces of scenery. I would name them now, but they have, understandably,

kept their names a secret because I am not to be trusted. I know that the world did not all of a sudden break from its orbit because the orbit was broken long ago, because this

chaos is old. But I underestimated the scope of this disaster. I should have shouted long ago that Michael Brown was not the only one left in the street to die. I should have

shouted about each every black body and brown body that has been bleeding its color
into the ground for years. I should have noticed long ago that St. Louis is everywhere,

the bodies are everywhere, every city in this country is a body dying on the concrete,
bleeding out to white. The only question left is, where do we put our hands to staunch the

bleeding? The only task: How do we put the blood back in?

 

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The Waiting Room – Amanda L. Wright

How many times have I sat here like this in variations of this same room? A million times? Two million? They always look the same. The faded wallpaper, the piles of dog eared magazines on the creaky coffee table. The one closest to me shows a very tanned woman with an impressively coiffed head of hair that works hard to look as if it’s not been touched by anything other than the light of day. Her mascara-ed eyelashes curl, her eyes are expertly made up, her red lips pout. I sigh. It all looks like a lot of work. I’m kind of hoping I’ll be able to give all that a miss.

The waiting room is crowded today. It was standing room only when I first came in. The door closed behind me with a quiet thunk of finality. There’s no way back now, no way out except the other door that leads to the corridor beyond. The door behind me only ever opens inward.

The silence in the room weighs on me as oppressively as a solid steel pillow pressed across the face. It’s only broken by tiny self-conscious sounds. Someone has a cough. Someone else asks a question of their neighbour in a whisper and the neighbour whispers back. Everyone whispers here. I don’t know what that’s all about, there’s no reason why they should but they all do it always. And always it fills me with the same mad desire to leap on the coffee table and sing at the top of my voice, to cancan amid the magazines and send them flying on the ends of my high kicking toes. But I never have.

Maybe one day though.

Maybe next time…

Name after name appears on the huge strip of luminescent ticker tape that runs along the wall. Their name and a room number. You’d think with all they have to get through they’d have more rooms. But resources are tight everywhere these days even here. One by one the crowd thins as more and more names are flagged up and they all disappear through the door and along the corridor to a room beyond.

I grip the edge of the seat nervously, feeling a sudden twist in my stomach. It’s Josef’s seat. When his name paraded across the wall I moved from my seat to his. It was still warm and I clung to that warmth as I always had, trying to hold onto him. But it faded, it’s gone now just like him. A minute was all we had, a minute in this crowded oppressive place. So much to say and only a minute and we couldn’t say anything. He took my hand and held it tight in his own and I leaned against him, unable to get close enough. Then his name and his room number and that anguished moment looking into each other’s eyes and knowing this was it. He stood up and kissed my hand and then he walked through the door and into the corridor. He didn’t look back.

No one ever comes back through that door either. When he walked through it he took a piece of me with him and I don’t know if it is a piece of me I will ever get back. Only time will tell I suppose.

There it is. My name marching across the length of the wall and disappearing only to appear again remorselessly. I take note of the room number and walk the short yet yawning distance to the door. There’s no security lock on this door. They’ve rarely been troubled with anyone trying to rush through it and it opens unresisting as ever under my hand. I hear it close quietly behind me as I continue along the corridor beyond. You’d think it would be all chrome and white walls but it’s not. It has a homely look with marginally less shabby wall paper and a number of dark wooden doors. Behind each one lies a new beginning.

I don’t want to do this again. Not again and certainly not so soon, Haven’t I seen enough? I’ve lived through democracy, fascism and communism and having seen all that they have to offer I’m in no hurry to go back to any one of them. I’m tired. I’m so tired. I only just got here and I went straight into that damned waiting room. No time to think. Barely any time to feel. Every time more rushed than the last. Every time things left unsaid, unresolved. I just want to stop. Even clocks stop. Why can’t I? Why can’t time freeze for me, allow me to be motionless?

The door opens behind me making me jump and a little man in spectacles and a shabby overcoat appears. He raises his hat to me nervously and carries on down the corridor, muttering his room number to himself as he scans the brass plates on the doors. It would never do to forget his number. Who knows where he might land up?

I sigh and coax my feet into life. There’s no sense in standing here I may as well get this over with. Very soon none of this will matter. I won’t remember any of it and I won’t remember any of what came before it. I won’t remember the songs I sang in the club to the notes of Josef’s piano. The bombs that fell by accident on Prague bringing a whole new interpretation to liberation or the tanks that rolled through the streets. I won’t remember the bullets or the blossom or the sickening fear that seems to have followed me for so much of my life. The little man in the shabby overcoat he knew it, I could tell. He’d lived it too; a life precious and fragile in the shadow of a human machine that could snuff you out in a heartbeat or crush the soul from you but still leave you breathing, still leave your heart beating. A machine so monstrous only man could have created it.

But though we shiver in the shadow of it the seeds we plant still struggle to grow, to find the light and the warmth. Josef’s piano…the touch of his hand…his mouth against mine… every thought in his eyes, every contour of his body. Our children growing inside me… holding them for the first time, seeing them laugh. No, I wouldn’t have missed that, not a moment of that. They stack up like a flood barrier those moments, all those moments against the tide of pain and loss, fear and oppression, sickness and loneliness and despair.

I won’t remember either the guilt and the muddy mixed up feelings of a reluctant betrayal, a desperate sacrifice to hold onto what I loved, to save what I couldn’t bear to be destroyed. All these years we never spoke of it and now we never will. Couldn’t I have had just a little more time? Couldn’t they have let me lay to rest this one thing that we so carefully swept out of sight and tiptoed around for twenty years Josef and I? Well perhaps it’s for the best. Perhaps after all there is a mercy to be found in forgetting.

My door is quite far along but I come to it at last and, my heart beating a little faster than it should I knock on the door and then open it and go in without waiting for an answer.

They’re very kind in a hospital corners sort of way. They always are. By the time they’re done everything is a pleasantly fuzzy haze, like drinking too much champagne. I must have drunk champagne once I suppose but I can’t remember it now, when it was or who I was with. I’m wearing a white silk dressing-gown. It feels very soft, very comforting. My clothes are gone like my name, like my life. When I walked in here I was…I was…there you see? It’s gone. Quite gone.

Like the waiting room I came from no one ever walks back out through the door of this room either. There’s only one way out of here and I’m gently led towards it. It gapes at my feet and I stand on the lip of the future, my future with no idea where, or who or when lies at the bottom of it. In spite of all my fuzziness a faint chill prickles faintly over me.

The woman who has my arm is a matronly sort. She pats me reassuringly and tells me I’ll need to take the dressing-gown off. Slowly, reluctantly, I pull the tie loose and ease it down over my shoulders, let it drop to the floor behind me. She clucks encouragingly but I don’t move. I’m still standing there staring into the darkness.

‘Sit down and do it. It’s easier that way. Just like playing on a slide really. Nothing to it.’

She steadies me as I get myself onto the floor. I’m sitting on the edge, my feet dangling in space. Don’t look down I’m advised. Close your eyes and push off from the side. Like pushing off from the side of the swimming baths. Can you swim? It’s like that.

I break off from my contemplation of the abyss to hit her with a look of irritation. How do I know if I can swim or not? There’s no point in asking me now!

Clearly, she gets the message. ‘Oh! Yes, Sorry, I forgot.’

‘You too? It must be catching.’

She laughs, just slightly strained. ‘Well, just in your own time…’

In my own time.

It’s still there somewhere, my own time, whispering just out of reach of my memory. But somehow it doesn’t feel like my own time. I have a feeling that I haven’t found my own time at the bottom of this darkness for a long time and there’s no guarantee I’m going to find it now. I edge my rear gingerly to the very lip but I’m gripping with my fingers so tightly that the knuckles are turning white.

I close my eyes, force myself to pull air into my tight lungs, over and over until my grip on the edge begins to relax. In time to this little ritual I remind myself that what lies immediately at the bottom of all this is safe, and warm, like floating in a warm bath. Nothing to be afraid of. Nothing to think about. Just floating and sleeping until the process is complete, until I’m ready to face the world again in a brand new tiny body.

Page after crisp white page just waiting to be written on, just waiting for me to leave my mark upon them, just waiting for another story to grow, for my voice to emerge once more.

I push myself into space and fall towards those open pages.

 

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Stars – Louise Wilford

Whatever happened to those knowing leading ladies,
who glared through the lens like a challenge to a duel?
They knew they were extraordinary – the Veronicas, Rosalinds, Ritas.
Call it chutzpah. Charisma. Pure blessed arrogance.

Love me , their mascara-ed eyes seemed to say,
or loathe me: you’ll always remember.
I’m lodged in your memory like a glamorous ear-worm.
conveying each nuance of passion
with simply a twitch of my cigarette holder,
a flick of my elbow-length glove. A glance.
Just put your lips together and – blow.

They stood straight, strode long – stiletto heels,
seamed stockings – tiny waists, huge brains.
Not always pretty – the Barbaras, Bettes, Joans –
but dames who got their own way, spun men
round their fingers like fidget toys
– unless derailed by love.

Diction polished and nonchalant, whether wise-acre quick
or sexy drawl, dropping bon mots like careless confetti.
O, those women! They’d survived life,
fur collars and diamond earrings intact;
they were unbowed, those femme fatales –
the Laurens, Marlenes, Marys – molls who packed a shooter,
businesswomen who cracked a whip,
socialites who played the field – til love struck like a gong
and they finally lost.

And, older, they were such villains.
Baby Jane dancing on the beach,
face a melting waxwork, grey ringlets, lacy frock.
Norma Desmond on the Boulevard,
trying to CPR her long-dead fame.
Or, at worst, the waspish older aunt of a fledgling ingénue,
uttering deadpan put-downs like a professional bitch.

O, those wondrous, wild-eyed women – the Glorias, Gretas, Genes –
women who knew their own worth,
who didn’t always smile, wringing their hands,
pouring tea, baking cakes, blending in.
They’d always ask for the moon:
the stars would never be enough.

 

 

Yorkshirewoman Louise Wilford is an English teacher and examiner. She has had around 100 poems and short stories published in magazines including Lyonesse, Pushing Out The Boat, The Stinging Fly and Agenda, and has won or been shortlisted for several competitions. She is currently writing a children’s fantasy novel, and is about to embark on an MA in Writing.

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Musings of Sewer Folk – M.S.

Lost and Found

I don’t remember time before the tunnel. We pocketed shards of light and scurried for food. We learned the language of gloom and made silence our second nature. You were the crazy one. “I’m saving myself for him,” you gushed reverently. I’d catch you among flickers, panting, your delicate arms dancing. I was afraid of you so I stayed away from corners that moaned. In your vibrant dreams, a giggling crowd threw rose petals at a stage. The man next to you kissing your cheek, smiling bright. You awoke to religion, convinced that you would marry the sun. I didn’t believe in saviors.

Ninja Days

We were five shadows once. Part of the dank walls that crept for miles. We threw plumes of smoke like shurikens and drop-kicked each other. Stealth mode was my forte; the downside was being designated hunter. “It’s a new kind of rat.” Overcome by anger, I’d mixed in sludge. No one knew the difference. Everybody had a signature look. Mine was a bandana given to me by Master Shan. He’d taught me everything I knew. On my darkest days, his sickly voice haunted me. During one such daze, you revealed, “I’ve been having weird dreams.” We became four shadows.

Master Shan

You were my diamond in the rough and I had vowed to be your protector. Nothing mattered except the world we built. Everything you did was beyond reproach, even your month long absences. “You can call me Meera, if you want,” she’d whispered across my chest before unzipping me. There were always others but you knew that. The tan lines gave you away before your swollen belly. I waited for you to push out the child that I would never call my own. With your last breath, you thrust your bandana at me as I watched your tan lines turn red.

 

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My Dyspraxia – Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Bruised from bumps, thumps delivered by inanimate objects
to thighs above my two left feet, unable to keep the beat
in life’s daily dance. Senseless rhythms, tune wreckers, heat up
my blood, blush my self-conscious cheeks as I collide, uncorrected
on my maverick trajectory. Even my fingers stumble, imprecise
in movement, unsure of what’s expected to complete a simple task.
Space separates self and other, I cannot judge the gap. I waver
too near, too far, tricked by poor proprioception. Clumsy,

I long to flow beyond ungainly knocks and breakage. Reach you
in a graceful twirl across the room, ballet steps in slippered feet,
aiming true, butterflied, to kiss, not miss, your mobile mouth.

 

 

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in 2017.

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Last Game – Michael Bloor

There was a much-screened comedy sketch on British TV of a casting director for a ‘Tarzan’ film interviewing a hopping, one-legged applicant (played by Dudley Moore) for the lead part. The director says something like: ‘Your left leg would be great for the part. I’ve got nothing against your left leg. The trouble is, neither have you…’

That rather sums up my football skill-set: my right leg was effectively missing – I was hopelessly left-footed. I played for the Youth Club team on Saturday mornings. I sort-of-enjoyed it but, like a lot of stuff you do when you’re a child, I mainly turned up each week out of habit. Still, I might’ve stuck at it longer, if it hadn’t been for a Derbyshire Junior Cup-Tie we played. That game finished me.

We were drawn at home to a team from one of the mining villages. I’ll call ‘em ‘Bradgate Main’, just in case their Centre Half became a Queens Counsel when he left school. Our captain, Tony Mellors (centre-forward), was strutting about and holding forth, when he stopped in mid-sentence. We all turned to see what he was staring at: it was the Bradgate Main team – they’d arrived in a supporters’ bus! A double-decker. With scarves hanging out the windows! Unbelievable. Piggy Sowter (our left back) choked on his banana sandwich.

Their supporters, numbering at least a couple of dozen, started up a chant when Bradgate Main took to the field. A chant – unheard of! As they took up their positions for the kick-off, Bill Browning (inside left) muttered to me: ‘Bloody ‘ell. Look at the size of ‘em. They gotta be a couple of years older than us.’ Several of them looked to be fully grown. The centre half, in particular, must’ve been six foot, and hefty with it. He had one of those unintended, adolescent, whispy moustaches.

Five minutes in, Mellors and their centre half raced each other for a loose ball. There was a collision and Mellors stayed on the ground holding his ankle. The centre half trotted away from the resultant free kick with a secret smile. No substitutes back in 1961. Roy, the youth leader, examined Mellors’ ankle and switched him to the left wing – the traditional position for crippled passengers. Ordinarily, the switch would have been a source of quiet satisfaction to me. But not on this occasion. As I took Mellors’ place in the centre of the pitch, to await the free kick, the centre half towered over me. I felt his dog’s breath on my face as he whispered: ‘Burial or cremation, shit-face?’ Fortunately, the ball came nowhere near us. For the next five minutes, I wasn’t taking up positions so much as keeping out of the way.

Needless to say, the game was being played very largely in our half of the field. But although out-classed, we did have one secret weapon: our goalie, Pete Boulton, was a tremendous kicker of a dead ball. In those days, few thirteen year-olds, would have been able to lift that heavy leather ball past the halfway line. But Pete could do it with ease.

Eventually, we were awarded a goal kick. Pete raised both arms: his signal that he was going to slam it straight down the middle. Bradgate Main were unprepared. The goal kick soared over the halfway line. There were just me and Dog’s Breath underneath the ball, about twenty yards in. Dog’s Breath was a head taller than me: there was no chance of me being able to out-jump him. But I remembered a trick I’d seen Bill Curry, Derby’s centre forward, play on the colossus, Ron Yeats, Liverpool’s Scottish International Centre Half. As the ball plummeted down towards us, I sensed when Dog’s Breath was about to jump and backed into him. I caught him off-balance and he stumbled backward. I caught the ball on my foot (my left foot, of course) and flicked it first time over mine and Dog’s Breath’s left shoulder. I pivoted round him like he was a stone post, collected the loose ball and raced towards the goal, Dog’s Breath floundering in the middle distance.

The Bradgate goalie, startled out of his reverie, ran out to meet me. I shaped up to shoot and the goalie spread himself to make the save. But, instead of shooting, I took the ball round the goalie, spread-eagled on the ground, and simply side-footed it into the net (with my left foot). It was a sublime moment.

You know that phrase: the crowd went wild? Well, the Bradgate supporters gave that phrase a new twist: they were acting like a Wild West lynching-mob. As I trotted modestly back to the centre circle for the re-start, Dog’s Breath snarled: ‘I’m gonna rip your throat out.’

As a child, I was always sensitive to the moods of others. Suspecting that I might have become rather unpopular with the opposition, I thought it best to move out towards the left wing for a spell. Day-dreaming of succeeding Bill Curry in the Derby County attack, I was awakened from my reverie by a shout from Bill Browning: a loose ball was bouncing towards me and Bill was racing up-field looking for my pass. As I controlled the ball, I caught a glimpse of a Bradgate player bearing down on me. So I turned my back on him, shielding the ball while I measured the pass up to Bill.

Dog’s Breath slammed into my back like a runaway train. I was projected into the crowd of Bradgate supporters on the touchline. The force of the impact knocked all the breath out of me. I lay there, face-down on the muddy ground, unmoving, traumatised, arms out-stretched like a dead starfish. Then, in the meleé of crowding legs, someone stood hard on my hand.

It was a life-changing moment: by the time I’d struggled back upright, I’d decided to get a Saturday job.

 

 

Michael Bloor is a retired sociologist living in Dunblane, Scotland, who has discovered the exhilarations of short fiction. Recent publications include The Cabinet of Heed, The Drabble, The Fiction Pool, Ink Sweat & Tears, Occulum, The Copperfield Review, Scribble, Dodging the Rain, and Everyday Fiction.

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Lu and the Well – Keef

Lu was eleven years and six months old.

The grass behind the farmhouse was lush and soft on bare knees. Lu’s pajama-clad ribs were pressed against the cool stone walls of the well, and they were listening to the voice coming up from the water. Lu’s left arm dangled over the side, trailing fingertips through the reflection of the moon in the still water. Everyone else was asleep. Six feet below the surface, the darkness enveloped even the blue-gray color of the walls.

When Lu asked about the well, mama said the voices was just noises coming from the underwater spring. Daddy just laughed and shook his head, said “them womenfolk and their superstitions.” Meemaw said the whispers came from the ghost of a witch. Meemaw said her own great-gramma knew the witch:

“She was a nice lady, my great-gramma said. She always liked that well, and she lived with our family for a spell. She moved out East, and when she did, she said she hoped she’d come back to the well when she died. Six, seven years later, that well started talkin’, and the family knew it was her.”

Lu had a secret that mama never even knew. Lu could hear the voice clear as a church bell. It wasn’t a ghost. It wasn’t a witch. It wasn’t a person at all, alive or dead. It was something much older than any alive or dead person.

The voice in the well, eager for company, had been babbling since Lu was a toddler, telling and teaching, singing and preaching.

They had lots and lots of other secrets.

One day Lu come in from the well, three years old, singing an old, old nursery rhyme: “Who caught the blood? / I, said the fish / with this wee bone dish / I caught the blood.”

Well, mama asked where Lu heard it, and she didn’t like Lu’s answer. After talking with the voice in the well that night, they agreed it’d be for the best to not share anything else that came from those depths.

The voice in the well only told true things.

Sometimes the true things were nice. The voice in the well told Lu about how mama and daddy met and tumbled straight into love after a barn dance, even though mama was already engaged, and how she broke it off with this other fella to be with her true love. In the version mama and daddy told, there weren’t no other fella, but they thought that made it a little sweeter, like mama and daddy was meant to be.

Sometimes the true things weren’t so nice. The voice in the well told Lu how there’d’ve been an older brother from the other fella, and mama had to do something so there wouldn’t be. Mama wasn’t ashamed, and they drew strength from that. Another time, it told how daddy got the scar on his shin, and when they asked daddy, he said something about a coffee table in the dark, but he blushed fast enough that Lu knew the well was telling the truth again, like it always did.

Sometimes the true things were things about Lu, and Lu didn’t know the truths until the voice told ’em. When Lu was ten, the voice in the well said, “your real name is Lu,” and that clicked into place like an invisible missing puzzle piece, and they cried because no one else had ever known the true thing. When Lu was ten years and six months old, the voice in the well said, “your life shall be difficult, but you will be happy,” and that was a relief. When Lu was eleven years old, the voice in the well said “when you’re eleven years and six months old, you will dig at such-and-such a spot, and use what you find to get free,” and that was both an answered prayer and a sadness, because of how much they loved mama and daddy and wanted to stay.

The voice in the well sounded a little like a carillon.

Lu was eleven years and six months old tonight.

The dirt caked on Lu’s fingers drifted off in the well water and sank. The underground thing was a small wooden box, but it wasn’t even really a box anymore, just some splinters. Tucked in among the splinters was a ten-pound lump of gold coins, all fused together by time and rain. When they rinsed the lump off in the well water, little bits of gold and a few stray coins came off with the dirt and fluttered into the dark.

Lu’s parents weren’t bad people. Mama and daddy just didn’t understand, yet, and needed some time. “Your parents will understand,” said the voice in the well, “in eight and a half years.” Lu breathed a sigh of exhaustion and thanks.

“You will come back,” said the voice in the well, and that made them cry again, because it had felt uncertain; understanding and welcoming are two different things. “In twelve years, three months, and six days, we will talk again. Now, you will take your daddy’s hammer and chisel and chunk off a bit of that lump. You will ride your bicycle into town. You will arrive at sunup, and wait for the pawn shop to open. You will sell the chunk of lump. Then you will buy a bus ticket out West.”

“Thank you,” said Lu.

 

Keef lives and writes in Austin, Texas. He’s currently working on a
series of horrible little fables. Follow him on twitter @keefdotorg,
or on the web at keef.org.

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