Sunday, October 16, 2011

FICTION: Falling by Stephanie Diaz

I lie in a field. The grass beneath me is gnarled and growing in patches, more brown than green. It rustles in the wind of the darkening day, stretching across the mat of earth to the edge of a forest. There, the trees grow like giants and block much of the sun.

My eyes are shut tightly, as if held by clamps. It's a game I play; if I keep them shut long enough, the world might disappear and take everyone else with it. I pray that it will. There's nothing for me here.

Hours might've passed since I came here. I have no way to know, and don't wish to. I barely notice the grass anymore. In my head, I imagine that I'm falling.

The air rushes past me; the clouds tangle my hair. Hawks tear their talons into my flesh as they pass me by. I open my mouth to cry aloud, but no sound comes out. Or maybe I'm screaming, but I can't hear myself over the wind.

Still, I'm falling. Always falling.

Tears spill over from my eyes, then fly upward with the wind.

Still, I'm falling. Can't see the ground.

Brambles bite my bare arms. Somewhere, crickets string their violins. Now they're playing my funeral hymn.

My heart pounds like a drum. Soon, it'll stop. I pray that it will stop, or I'll wake up and life will be a dream.

Something hits me hard. Light, color, and dark mingle with stars and fading nothingness.

I scream.

Something strangles my throat. I tear at it with my fingers, clutching and clawing.

“Stop, please!” The voice is a sob, entrenched with pity and worry. It pleads with me. Unfamiliar, but so wrenching it makes me pause

Who can it be? I know no savior, but the voice is too sweet to be an enemy.

The air is heavy in my lungs. My chest heaves as my eyelids flutter open.

A boy kneels beside me in the grass. His hair is brown and messy on his head, and his eyes are wide, overflowing with tears.

I do not know him. I stare at him for a time.

The air is fresher now, thick with the smell of dew and dandelions. I don't recognize this place. Not the field nor the trees nor the flowers.

“Where am I?”

He smiles through his watering eyes. He takes my hand in his and squeezes it. “Someplace better,” he said.

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