Category Archives: short story

November Night

I stopped, in the cold November night, to look at an abandoned car. An old model, clunky and worn, and in a drab color. I barely caught sight of it there, off to the side of the road, by an old and boarded up farmhouse.

No lights, no one stranded and waving down someone for help, no smoke or flat tires. Just there against the old farmhouse, empty.

I looked with a flashlight through the dirty windows, I shone the thin stream of light in every direction into the vast empty valley beneath the craggy and black Maine mountains.

I saw nothing. I saw no one.

 

I turned off the flashlight. I didn’t know what to do. Maybe it was intentionally abandoned. Maybe someone came and got them. Maybe they were on the narrow state highway, walking back to town, or to an all night gas station that would still be open.

No one here. Nothing around. I heard not even the scraping sounds of night insects. I heard a little creek, babbling away in the dark. I heard nothing else.

I started to walk back to my car. I’d worked all night. Hard work. I was worn and tired. I didn’t see what else I could do. I had stopped. I wanted to help. But no one was here to help.

I saw nothing. I saw no one.

 

Then; a spark! Red and yellow, out in the wide open sky! Among the smattering of stars and the new moon, I saw something, unnatural. It hovered and flashed, and was not static as a star or moving in the straight line of a satellite.

It was moving away, higher into the sky, towards the endlessness of open space. I felt my heart turn cold, and my bowels churn with fear. I knew, somehow, that it was a young woman, with honeyed hair and dark eyes, that had been in the car.

I knew, somehow, she was up in that ship. They were taking her. She damned, and would never be brought home again.

Demons in the sky. Mocking me.

 

Then, in a blink, in a second, it was gone. It was going to whatever place, in the air or between the air, that they stole away, unseen. I felt as if the sky was an arrogant and malevolent eye staring down upon. I felt afraid, weak, and naked beneath it’s sight.

I ran back to my car, started it up, and headed in a rush back to my house, no thoughts but to get home, to get away from the sky, that eye, and what demons had seen me, as they snatched the young woman away.

I made it into my house, and went down into the basement, and stayed there until morning, fitfully pacing and unable to sleep or to calm the panic and fear. Sunrise only barely relieved it.

Demons in the sky. Mocking me.

 

And watching the news that morning, I saw a story on a missing young woman, the young woman I had somehow known was the one taken by those demons, those hungry spirits. A young woman with honeyed hair and dark eyes.

I saw the picture of the car left by that old and boarded up farmhouse. I saw that there was no trace of her. No clue as to where she had gone.

We are but sport. Insects to torture.

 

I tried to sleep. In some cold sweated fits, I did. Bad dreams came. The eye looking down upon me, through the roof and clouds and through the very flesh and bone of my body, into the electrical impulses of my thoughts.

They saw me. They saw it all. Nowhere to hide.

We are but sport. Insects to torture.

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Eyes Deep And Dark

After the show, we could take pictures, by standing outside the tank.
The mermaid would swim to the glass, smile, and you’d stand in front
of that same glass, and smile, or give a thumbs up,or pull a silly face.

Harsh light and tropical fishes swimming about with nowhere to go to.
The mermaid, with rust colored hair starting to fade, fair skin looking chalky,
and a tail not as vibrant as it once had been, would smile for you, sweetly.

I watched from the shadows in the back while the others crowded forth.
I thought I was not a gawker, and mark, or an awful person, yet I was here.
I watch the mermaid play her part in this dance, in this cruel play, not crack.

Almost to the end, as others had gone, I walked to the tank, heart racing.
She noticed me, smiled, a little light coming to her face, though unsure.
She swam close to the glass, looked me in the eye, curious and anxious.

A breathe away from the glass, I looked into her eyes, eyes deep and dark,
that knew kingdoms older than man, and wonders lost when Earth was young.
Eyes that had sorrows deeper than the ocean she’d been stolen away from.

I put my hand on the glass, cold and sterile, chilled and hard, something between.
Her face was unsure, but still curious, still wanting to be seen, to be seen as whole.
She placed her own hand on the glass opposite of mine, and we watched each other.

I smiled, a pittance, a penny thrown to a beggar, knowing I loved this creature,
but that I was here where she was kept, and was part of the curse that trapped her.
But I wanted to see her, up close, in the light, and I wanted her to see me too.

She looked into my eyes too, saw into me, saw all that was there, broken, lost.
She didn’t smile, but she didn’t take her hand away, and there we were, watchers,
strangers in an imbalnce of desire. She was taken. I was there too look upon her.

Finally, I looked away, cast my eyes down, and turned from her and the bright tank.
Through the dakrened theatre I walked, shame in desire fufilled, a derire, in the end,
I could not sate or deny, but gave into, and came her to get what it was I wanted.

At the door, I looked back. She was still floating there, her hand still on the glass,
watching me with a distant, sad look, a look that shamed me, made my face flush
and my heart race. My eyes stung and I left her there, not looking back at all as I ran.

 

I Thought I Would Have A Good Time

Maisie had thought going out with a group from work would be fun. It had been a lot of fun joking and talking in the car ride up Alcoa Highway to the club in The Old City. Loose camaraderie was more her thing. The interplay of friends and a place to themselves, away from the world.

Maisie had also enjoyed getting dressed up to go out. It was something she rarely did, and it had been something of a treat, a chance to express another side of herself. One of the young woman, and undergrad in Economics named Tessa, had helped her with her and make-up and choosing her outfit. Maisie went with the same one she’d worn the first time she’d went out with her lover.

But now actually at the club, the music was too loud, and it was dark but cut through with strobes that made her eyes hurt. The drinks were expensive; even soda set her back $7. The others, a mix of undergrad men and women, where having quite the time, but Maisie was feeling like she was backed into a corner, the bass line of the music thumping like a fist into her chest, her mind scrambled and unsettled, and she felt the lizard fight or flight instinct rising in her, telling her she should run for the door.

One of the young men in her group, a sweet Art boy named Skylar, asked her to dance with them. She wasn’t sure about going out on the dance floor, already feeling backed into a corner, but she didn’t want to spoil the other’s fun either. So she danced with him and focused on the melody line of the music, and that helped soothe her.

After, on the empty highway back home, everyone was quiet and content. Maisie’s ears rang and her skin vibrated with electricity. Tessa was half asleep and tipsy, laying her head on Maisie’s shoulder. Her head rocked with the rhythm of the road. Her long hair brushing sweetly against Maisie’s cheek.

They dropped Maisie off at her parent’s house, and she watched them drive into the night, back to their dorms and their carefree times.

Maisie let herself back into her house, and walked down into her basement apartment, and lay on her bed.  She turned her alarm clock radio on, to a late night call in show that played love songs and the host offered advice. She felt she was glad she went, and was hoping these were new and permanent friends, but clubbing was not for her.

As a lament to unrequited love played, she drifted to sleep.

Still Morning

It’s 5:30 in the morning, and she rides her fixie in the park, not as cool as it should be in October, but still with diffuse and late coming soon, and the gossamer and damp fog.

Saturday morning, no hustle and bustle of the work-a-day world, it’s all hers, a queen of a still and unawakened kingdom, a queen of something being lost, to the world and to growing up.

She stops and stands with her bike by the little creek that runs through the park, clear and cold, but still with trash and cigarette butts discarded in it. The little creek that mesmerized her as a girl, that her mother told her to stay away from.

She didn’t bring her earbuds this morning, and she heard the wind rustling the leaves and the tall Cat Tails in the water, and heard the calls of the morning birds.

And she heard a mermaid sing. In the distance, in that thin and wet fog, she saw the shape of the siren in the first of the rising sun, combing her long, dark hair, and singing into the world.

She put herself back on her back, and slowly and silently pedaled her way to the mermaid, not even fifty feet ahead of her. The song clutched her heart, made it ache, made her long for something she could not name.

The song filled her ears, a high and sweet melody, sorrowful and beautiful.
The mermaid combed her hair and sang, and looked up at the sky, as all the stars were retreating.

She pedaled to the mermaid, but the mermaid finally saw her, and dived into the water, swimming to were the mouth of the creek met the lake, and was gone from site.

She stopped and stood again with her bike, seeing only ripples were the mermaid had swam away. In the back of her mind, a thought picked at her, that mermaids had never swam away when she was a child.

The morning was still again, and her heart ached, and she wiped away tears. The fog and the peace and what little cool there was was starting to lift and leave the waking world. The world awoke, even on a Saturday.

She looked into the water, where the mermaid had fled, until the ripples were still. Then she got back on her bike and rode back to her house, realizing everything would change and slip away.

Emily

Emma was ragged and worn, desperate to get to her hotel room and get a few, frantic hours of sleep before leaving on in the morning, when she felt a tug on her ponytail. She cried out, dropping the ice bucket she had been filling from the common machine in the nook by the soda machines. The bucket made a dull crack noise, and crushed cubes of ice scattered all over the dull and stained carpet. She heard a little girls laughter.

Emma spun around, wandering who was letting their mischievous brat out to run about at this dark and dire hour. But where ever she looked, down both directions of the hallway, and down the stairway just passed the ice and soda machines, their was no child, no one at all.

Emma, sighed, and stooped down to scoop up the spilled ice, when there was another tug on her ponytail. She again spun around, falling awkwardly falling to one knee, and thrusting cross chest with the plastic ice bucket. Again, their was the childish laughter, which she know realized was that of a little girl, though there no little girl, or anyone else around.

Emma fell back on her haunches, kicking away the scattered cubes at her feet. Exhaustion and stress of leaving home, of things having gone so wrong so quickly, of the desperate hope for her so far north in Rochester. She just felt wrung out, as if all her strength was squeezed out into nothing, and still, she had so far to go.

Emma, again, felt a tug on her ponytail. She sighed and turned around. And she saw a little girl, giggling into her cupped hands. But the girl was ethereal, thin and translucent like morning fog in the chill of October. The little girls clothes were easily thirty years out of fashion. But she was still playful and mischievous, like any other little girl.

Emma laughed with this spirit, laughed and held her middle as all the last weeks troubles fell out of her, her and the ghostly child playing at their game in the dead of night, in an old hotel in the dead of night.

Emma looked up, but the girl was gone, leaving only echoing giggles as the night grew still again. A child’s game, now over. Emma collected up the ice and went back to her room.

In The Infinite

Constance sat in the driver’s seat of her boyfriends ’71 Mustang. She’d pulled off on the shoulder of the interstate, under an overpass as cold grey rain fell, baptismal tears as the stars had given up all hope.

Her boyfriend was asleep in the back seat, curled up in his dad’s old military issue sleeping bag. As Constance smokes, she looks back at him in the rearview mirror, already pale and clammy, his hair crusted with dried sweat and still stuck to his head in chaotic swirls. The fever had burned out, like a star burning out into a white dwarf.

Art Bell was on the radio, talking to someone who’d been abducted by aliens, but whom Constance was running from was no alien. He was someone who’s kingdom was sewn into the very fabric of this plane of existence. In loss and time and corruption, he was everywhere.

The one she ran from was death, and their was no more running now.

 

Out in the drowning darkness she saw a shape. Man sized, but dark, like someone had cut through the shell of the world, revealing the encompassing abyss behind it. It got closer, distorted and wavering, shifting like the stars to just waking eyes. Then he was there, just beyond the edge of the bridge, in a black and worn hoodie and jeans, and black sneakers that were tattered from endless walking. His hands were shoved in the front pockets of his hoodie, and his head was cast down, hiding his pallid face.

Constance reached over and pushed down the lock on the passenger door, but it did no good. Death opened the door and sat down beside her.

 

The man on the radio who had been abducted by aliens talked now of nowhere being safe, nowhere their eyes weren’t upon us. And Constance knew more than aliens watched. Everything from between the air invaded us. Demons, Angels and Spirits. The Fey and monsters and incorpreal parasites. And over all of them was Lord Death.

Only desperation had made Constance run. Pure blind fear and panic had made her push her sick and almost incoherent boyfriend into his Mustang and head west. Americans always headed west in their desperate bids to escape. She’d casted spells to keep the Mustang going without gasoline. In the fogged window, stopped at a red light in Casper, she’d drawn a sigil of protection, to try and hide them from spiritual eyes.

But here in Colorado, in the abusive rain, in the dead of night, the spells and magic and hope were stopped, the running ended.

 

“Did you think you could run forever?” Death asked. He was resigned, not angry, he’d been through this so many times.

‘I didn’t think. I just ran.”

“I’ve taken so much from you, but it was never personal. It was just what He said had to be done, and I had to obey”

“Why did He decide I had to lose so much?”

“How the fuck should I know?”

The rain fell and fell, and now a woman from Connecticut said the governments of the world sold all their peoples out to The Greys because The Greys promised them the secrets of immortality.

Constance pulled a cigarette from her pack and handed it and the lighter to Death. Death lit the cigarette, inhaled deeply and greedily of it’s smoke.

“I have to take him now, Constance.” Death said.

Constance tightly gripped the wheel, looked out into that accursed rain. She stone faced and quiet, but hot, angry tears poured down her face.

“He was the only person I felt safe around. He was the only person I didn’t feel like a goddamn freak around. After all that had happened, he made me whole again. I don’t want to be alone again.”

Death took another drag off the cigarette, sighed. The woman from Connecticut said the powerful were as scared as all of us.

“Take comfort, Constance, that you ever found shelter in a true heart, that someone’s love ever put you back together again. Take comfort in all you shared. Most people don’t get even that.”

Constance wiped the tears from her eyes, tears blurring with rain with the grey. Death reached over and placed one of his cold hands tenderly on her shoulder.

“He’ll still come to you in your dreams.” He said.

Then Death was outside the car, cradling her boyfriend’s spirit in his outstretched arms. Her and Death lock eyes, and he gives her a ghost of a smile. Then he turns and walks away, carrying her love’s spirit out into the night.

The Mustang’s engine starts up again, but Constance still decides to head west, to the ocean, to the endless blue and eternal horizon that could swallow her up. In the infinite, nothing hurts.

Turn

Katy wakes up, blanket and sheets soaked in sweat. Yet, she is shivering, feeling no warmth at all in her body. A touch to her wet forehead, and she feels she is burning up, her bodies futile effort to fight off the infection. She closed her eyes tightly, till stars exploded in the dark. She was doomed. There was no way around it.

She got out of bed, got in the shower, shivering even in almost scoldingly hot water. She was starting to shake again, and her muscles felt stretched and stiff. She still had to go to work, despite what was coming. She head no choice. The rent was do, and the bank was breathing down her neck, and she couldn’t just lay down and die. She wanted to, to just put herself away. And she would never, in the time left, get out from under it. Maybe a week left. Maybe a week and a half. And then, her debt, her obligations would pass on to her brother. The cycle endless, even in death.

She dressed in her maintenance worker uniform for one of the tony stores out in Turkey Creek, her job to keep everything running smoothly for the rich and haughty people there to throw around their riches and expect to be treated like royalty. They’d stare down there noses at her, a lowly servant basically, even if she wasn’t infected.

The TV in her tiny living room played the local morning news, now starting at 4 A.M., when she was getting up. A blandly pretty blonde talked about an upcoming celebrity wedding. She drank her bitter, black coffee as the blonde prattled on about how amazing the couple were, trying to sell everyone on way this was so exciting. All while the country sank into ruin, and the quiet plague that everyone tried to keep out of their minds.

She rode the KAT bus all the way from Chapman Highway, just past the Kroger, to West Knoxville. She tried to listen to music on her phone and earbuds, something sad but soothing. But all the sounds in the world where coming into her head like a dull roar, a tall and angry wave that never crested, so she gave up.

She turned and looked out the window, seeing one of the unfortunate, one that had turned, like she would, one of the undead. Two police officers had young man, thin and wiry, down on the sidewalk, gun drawn to his head, as he snapped and tried to bit them, kicking and writhing. It was all the officers could do to keep him down and get him handcuffed. Extreme aggression was the last stage.

Getting off the bus, finally, in Turkey Creek, her hands trembled. She almost couldn’t light her cigarette. Then, once it was lit, she immediately was hit by a wave of nausea and she throw up onto the sidewalk.

Letting herself into the shop with her master key, she noticed the edges of her vision were haloed by darkness. All of it taken together, the sweats, the cold chills, the dull roar of all sound, the tunnel vision, meant it wouldn’t be long before she turned, before she too was just another raving monster that would be put down with two in the head. Another victim of the plague, the unfortunate undead, that would be cast aside and ignored by everyone who could.

She felt another wave of nausea hit her, and she rushed over to a garbage can, feeling as if she might vomit again, but it was just dry heaves.

“You alright?” Someone asked.

She stood back up and turned to see Richie, another one of the maintenance workers behind her. She tried to catch her breath and smile.

“Yeah. Breakfast must not have agreed with me.”

“You okay, though?”

“Yeah…just….a little out of sorts lately.” She said, trying to paper over all that was failing, all that was happening with a smile.

Richie didn’t look convinced, but didn’t push it.

“I’ve got a bottled water.” He said, slinging his backpack off and digging inside of it. “It might at least get that awful taste out of your mouth.”

“Thanks, Richie.”  She said, taking the offered water as he produced it from his backpack. She smiled at him, genuinely this time. Dear, sweet Richie. Always looking out for her. Always quick with a witty line. It was a knife in her heart that she didn’t have time to get to know him, become his friend.

Katy drank the water greedily, taking the whole bottle in one draught. She threw the bottle in the trash. Richie smiled at her, and she squeezed his shoulder.

“You’re a good kid.” She said.

Katy started on the daily checklist, all that needed to be done before opening for business. She started shaking again, and her teeth chattered with another cold chill. She hoped when she turned, she sunk her teeth into one of the rich assholes, and not her own kind.

Quiet Moment On The Front Lines of an Eternal War

I was tired, from something more than battle and fatigue and hunger. I was tired not just to my bones, but to my very soul. My heart felt like it was pumping sludge instead of blood.

Me and her, Lt. Parris, were sitting above our dug out bunker that was basically home, known, not at all affectionately, as The Tomb. We had tinned fish and bottled water, so we were in high cotton!

Lt. Parris, I dared never call her Taelor, was happily chowing on down on her tinned fish, as if she were on her lunch hour in the park, not a care in the world. Not that she was careless, and not that she wasn’t as wrung out and exhausted as I was, it was just the meat grinder of a war never seemed to dampen her brightness, she shone even in this night.

It was the last dregs of dusk, the last bits of golden and red light been washed out of the sky, and the teacup of the sky was almost completely turned over to close out the light. So many holes in the tea cup. So many stars.

Their was a cool wind coming off the desert. Always so cold at night. Very cold. But I felt something in that wind, almost, almost…….peaceful.

Lt. Parris finished her tinned fish, and washed down the salty aftertaste with the last few swigs from her bottled water. She looked out onto the bare horizon, which ghostly and uncertain under starlight and with no bright moon. There not fear in her eyes. Only peace. And resolve.

“Something to eat besides MRE’s are a rare treat Jones, you should have savored it more.” She says, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

“What are tinned fish when we’re all being devoured, and The Red Dragon is coming take us. We’re all burning. We’ll be ashes on this cold goddamn wind.”

Lt. Parris, sighed, still looking out on the horizon, but she saw something…..else out there. Something……beyond the night and the demons and all the bloodshed.

“Jones…..we’re facing a lot right now. Don’t think I don’t notice the state you’re in. Don’t think I don’t know the Principalaties are amassing, and we’re hemorrhaging soldiers, and that it’s seems like everything we’re fighting for is hopeless and lost.”

“How many years have we been at This Lt. Parris? How much has been lost and how many have we sent how in caskets? How many rivers of blood has flowed on these dusty hills? And for what? The Red Dragon is still pushing hard against us! The demons are everywhere! There’s no bloody end to them! Home, is almost lost!”

I was howling at this point, as if to offer a scream up the sky and heaven itself! Once again, I was getting to worked up. To emotional. To bloody moody and unstable. I sighed, and brought myself back to earth, I think.

Lt. Parris sighed, but didn’t react otherwise. She didn’t threaten to have me reported to the platoon priest for blasphemy, or threaten to have me court martialed for defeatism. All the same, this was stuff she’d heard before, often, and was exasperated with hearing. Almost as exasperated as I was for not being able to shut up about it. But this war I’d been fighting for so long, and nothing seemed to every change in a good way. All that changed was what poor sucker caught it that day and had to be sent home in a box, perhaps a box that contained many pieces.

“Jones, Home isn’t lost. We have held them. At cost, at pain and loss. But we have held. It will never end, not until The Revelation and The End of Time. We’re going to fight here until we can’t. The others who follow us will do the same. The Red Dragon will always be a threat, because just as we have the divine light in us, we also have the darkness in us. Demons were once us you know. They got seduced. They let themselves be taken.

“There  will always be people who let themselves be taken.” She said.

She reached over and placed arm around my shoulders, and gave me a squeeze. I tensed, surprised by her showing any sort of affection. But I then melted into it, and felt the warmth of her, and I felt as if the light and the peace in her was pouring into me.

She disengaged herself, squeezed my knee, than looked up at the stars.

“Remember what you have won, and what you’ve saved, all that you’ve been, even here.” She says.

She collects her empty tin and bottle and goes back inside The Tomb.

I sit by myself for a long time, in the darkness, beneath the stars, and in the wind.

Valentine’s Day

The sky is clear and starry. There is no moon. The street is sparse. A
man. A couple. A diner at a cafe. The air is crisp. I pull my jacket
tighter. I hear footsteps behind me.
I wish I had a cigarette. I quit. She made me quit. Helena. Red hair.
Smile. Hands soft as silk. I remember them on my face.
She had survived once. So many didn’t. A shooting at school. We
thought that was it. We were safe. Footsteps.
Helena. Unchanging. Beautiful. Seventeen forever. I wish I could see
her get old. Gray. Wrinkled.
I keep this day holy. I keep it pure. One year ago. Bleeding on the
resteraunt floor. Gunshots. Her tears. What was happening?
I pass a couple. They are laughing. I look away. Wouldn’t you? I
almost remember. Not quite. Just almost. A summer day. Hands soft as silk.
First kiss. A Promise.
Footsteps are closer.
End of the street. Couple go into a shop. Man is gone. Diner leaving.
I turn.
A man. Plain. Cold. No plumes of breath. He has a gun.
Silenced shots. I fall. The man walks away.
My turn. Now I’m gone.
Stars are bright. They are cold.
Will I see her now?

Hopes and Dreams

Hopes and Dreams

I remember waking up early on summer mornings, when the day was still cool
and the light still soft. Every summer Hope would tend her own garden in her
backyard. She would be up early ever morning, sometimes before first light,
to work in it. And while she worked, she would sing. I would open my window
the night before when I went to bed just so I could wake to her sweet
singing. I’d lay in bed, wrapped in my sheets, and listen. She was always
there, like the morning birds, their song saying that the night was over and
another day was here. Eventually my mother would call me down for breakfast
and I’d get up and ready and dressed and go down stairs to eat, though I
would never want to leave before she was done. I would always go when called
though.

I’d see her at church. I’d see her walking with her family; mom and dad and
sisters Faith and Charity on the tree lined sidewalk. Hope and her sisters
where not like most other kids. Me and my brothers would goof off and horse
around in the back seat of the family car as we drove the short way to
church. Often, during the service we’d let our minds wander, the words of
the preacher becoming a soft drone. Hope and Faith and Charity however
always acted so reserved and quiet. They never seemed to play the fool like
we did. During the sermon they always sat straight up, eyes on the preacher.
You knew no word was passing them by.

I’d pass by Hope’s house sometimes in the early evening, heading back from
the park or woods where me and my friends would play. She’d be sitting by
herself under a big old tree in her front yard. Her eyes would sometimes be
closed, and only her long brown hair stirred in the gentle breeze. Other
times her eyes would be open, and it would be as if she were seeing
everything in the twilight; the ants climbing the blades of grass, the
insects buzzing through the air and the bats that would swoop down to devour
them. It’s was if, like her God, she saw everthything all at once, and like
her God she lived all of it without reservation. We lived on the same street
in the same neighborhood in the same city, but we were really from two
different worlds. We were aliens to each other.

I remember the Valentine’s Day of my eigth grade year. I was in middle
school, and that day was just another school day unless you had a boy or
girl friend. No more parties for us where we exchanged pre-bought cards in
little envolopes, to be but in shoe boxes we had spent the day before
decorating. No, it was just another day. I had no one I was dating at the
time, so I wasn’t expecting any presents or cards. But Hope surprised me.
After the last class of the day I was headed to my locker, and I saw her
standing in front of it. She had her books hugged to her chest. She was
wearing a plain white dress. Her eyes were on her feet. Her long brown hair
fell over her face. I walked up to her.
“Hello.” I said.
She looked up at me. Her hair slid away from to reveal her pretty face. She
looked me in the eye. Her eyes were bright like stars, and as full of light.
Then she smiled, and I saw something in it I had never seen, something I
couldn’t put my finger on.
“Hello.” She replied, and held out her hand. In it was a homemade card with
my name on it. I took it from here, stunned by this turn of events. I didn’t
know she ever took notice of me.
“Happy Valentines Day.” She said, still looking me right in the eye, still
with that strange something in her smile. Then she turned away and walked
towards the buses. I watched her go for a moment and then opened the card.

We met once after that. She had stayed after school for chorus and was
waiting for her mom to come pick her up. I had also stayed late for
rehearsals for the school play. I saw her sitting in on one of the concrete
benches that lined the front of the school. She was looking up at the big
blue sky, not a care in the world. I just watched her for a moment, as
always amazed by her. She was so in tune to something I just couldn’t know,
some other better place. After a moment I walked to the bench where she was
sitting and sat down beside her. She looked away from the sky and then at
me, that strange smile once more on her lips.
“Hello.” She said.
“Hello.”
“Beautiful day.”
“I know.”
“No.” She said. “You don’t.”
There was a sad look in her eye, as if she knew where she went I could not
follow.
“Thanks for the card.” I said.
“You’re very welcome.” She said, her eyes lighting up again.
“It was very nice of you to go through all the trouble of hand making it.”
I told her.
“Well, anyone can buy something. It takes real love to make something for
someone.”
I must of blushed. She giggled, then looked back to the sky.
“It’s an amazing world, despite everything we do to it, or to each other.”
She said. “Do you ever think about it? What all we have here? What all we’ve
been given?”
“Uhhm, well…..” Was all I managed. Again that sad look was in her eye.
“Most people are like that. They don’t think about it.” She said, and then
turned back to me. She looked me in the eye, and I felt as if something
where piercing my heart. It was like she could see right into it.
“You’re like most of the people here. Thoughtless. Aimless. Wasting your
time.” She said. “Still though, there’s something more to you. No one else
sees it. Not even you see it. It’s there though, and it shines bright.”
Hope reached over and squeezed my hand. She never looked away from my eyes.
I felt at once hungry for and fearful of her gaze. Either way, I didn’t want
her to turn away from me. Then there was the honk of a car horn; her mom was
here. She stayed for a beat longer, then gathered up her book bag and then
got into the car. As they drove away, she looked back and gave me one last
smile.

I never got to talk to her like that again. Once again we went to our
seperate worlds. We grew up. We moved away. We lived our lives. Still, she
is often in my thoughts. I always hope she was right about me, that there is
a light shining bright within me. I often doubt how well I’ve lived up to
that. I’d like to think that if she could still see me she would be proud of
me. She is still in my heart. In that way she has never left me. Through all
the years and all that’s been done, part of me can still hear her singing.