Yeah, not sure what’s wrong with me. Sorry ’bout that title.
Anyway, this week, for the second time, I participated in Shane Arthur’s (@shanearthur) Creative Copy Challenge. Each week he posts a list of ten words for any willing writer to craft into a story. This week’s words (bolded below) looked daunting but I gave it a go. Not sure what that is there, but I think it’s rather nice.
Here’s what I came up with:
The dog’s name was Wily and that summer he died.
It was the summer of ethereal visions and nameless, faceless, androgynous fears that crept over the town like a swarm of locusts.
I was ten. The year of crossing-over, of becoming something more in the indefinable way of being one day a single number of years and the next having moved into the decades that define a man’s life.
My sister built a memorial for him, an ornate construction of little girl treasures; broken beach shells, dried flowers, and beads. And we paid him tribute, the pure rites of children, over which I officiated, grave and morose and heavy with the responsibility of ten and the six year old’s tears. Hours later she played in the surf, rambunctious, carefree games. So unaware of the something that descended on us.
Mr. Andrews came to us, the day father disappeared. He wandered about the chores father would have done, namby-pamby and listless and that made me more afraid than anything that had happened yet. Mr. Andrews, who slept little and worked always and who preached industry from the pulpit. He was wrong, as everything was wrong, more and more.
“What the hell?” he gasped and I dropped the spade in shock. Perhaps there was a loophole for preachers, that he could use such language, but I doubted it. I shivered but sidled up beside him to see.
The hole he’d dug in our vegetable patch was shallow yet infinite, and within its liquid-solid depthless clarity floated images of magic and horror that stopped my breath. Gaping jaws of monsters I can’t describe even now. Gold unicorns and shriveled human heads, purple-black and pleading. Cackling leprechauns, and blood-red swords, and flames. They flowed and merged and broke apart and congealed into a viscous fluid dark as death. We watched in horror as it seeped over our shoes and oozed up our legs with a dreadful slowness. I heard sounds from the direction of the town two miles away. Sounds I couldn’t identify and didn’t want to. I heard in my bones the soundless cries of terror my throat was denied.
The last thing I heard, before the world went away, was my sister’s screams.