Friday, February 15, 2008
"You shouldn't be here Eric," a voice comes from around the corner,the foot is fully revealed followed by a man's body,a large man's body.The man from school,well, the man-sized boy from school.Three others come into view and stand in the dim light of the alley.
"I was just on my way home," he says ,"I don't want any trouble Kurt."
Kurt approaches him and stands with his face centimeters from his.He raises his hand and delivers a heavy backhanded slap,causing Eric's head to whirl around to the right,his neck and face aching from the blow.Kurt grabs him by the shirt collar just before his body falls backward onto the brick building.
"You know something," Kurt growls,maliciously tugging at the collar,"I really hate rats.Always ready to sell you out,and for what?For nothing,just to be honest."
He releases his collar and violently shoves him into the brick wall.Eric groans,the brick scrapes his neck and head,blood seeps from a wound and collects in his red hair.
"Kurt," Dylan,Kurt's bestfriend and righthand steps forward ,"you know I have to be home by ten,could you hurry it up?"
"In a minute man," Kurt runs his fingers through his brown hair,addressing Eric,"I know you're the one who told the principal I spray painted his car.Am I right?Now be honest."
Eric looked around,the four hostile players from the varsity hockey team weren't going to be merciful whether he tried to deny it or told the truth,he might as well as get it over with.
"Answer you piece of trash," Kurt grabs his shirt and jerks his thin body from left to right,making his jaw slip back and forth resulting in Eric accidentally grinding his teeth into his tongue.
"I told,okay,"Eric gasps and his body goes limp as Kurt reels his right hand back,but rolls it into a large fist this time.The brass knuckles crack against his jaw bone and blood shoots past his lips.
"Always honest,aren't you Eric?" Kurt doesn't wait for an answer as he smashes his brass-clad fist into Eric's nose.Crimson fluid gushes from his nostrils and he slides down the wall,lying crumpled on the wet ground like a discarded bubblegum wrapper.
"Ooohh," he moans and attempts to sit up.
"Stay," Dylan cruelly kicks him in the side before he can pull his body up.
"Broken jaw and nose,maybe even broken ribs," Kurt says,leaning down and staring straight into Eric's eyes,his sweat moistened brown hair spilling into his face,"I think that's a fair reward for your honesty.Don't you think so?Nod yes if you think you should have a bonus prize."
Eric manages to shake his head no,the pain shooting from his nose to his jaw to his ribs.
"Okay,lets get outta here," Dylan says.
"Sure thing," Kurt replies,"and Eric,enjoy that reward."
Kurt,Dylan,and the two silent lackies turn around and melt into shadows,their footsteps fade and they're gone.
I shouldn't be here,Eric thinks as the alley goes black and he falls into the cupped hands of unconciousness,I shouldn't be here,I shouldn't be here...
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Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Jake's exact words were , "I can climb to the highest branch, I could touch the sky!"
He imagined his thin body stretching like an elastic band,reaching until his fingertips grazed the cloud dotted blue,bringing his digits to his face for examination and finally proving that the sky
was a mammoth blue and white, or red and orange, or blue and purple mural(depending on the time of day of course).
He wondered if he could bring his paints and add pterodactyls to the scene,ressurecting the ancient creatures.He sighed longingly and continued to nurture the ache in his chest that told him that the mysterious height of the tree's brances could assist him in transforming his flimsy tin foil fantasy into a sturdy steel reality.
Laura too thought of the oak,what secrets those leafy branches could hold.
Her exact words were, "A world could be hidden in all of those leaves.I bet there is a whole kingdom of orange people and green people and red people-like in the fall.A different shade for every season..."
Her sentence trailed off into admiring quietude.She knew,she absolutely knew that the leaf people glided from branch to branch,more delicate,more graceful,more gorgeous than a monarch butterfly.
She imagined how all winged insects were modes of transportation and how squirrels supplied the food and how when autumn and winter arrived ,the leaf fairies would turn completely invisible(since there were no leaves to conceal them) and would resort to living in the trunk to escape the chill.She was positive that if she could only climb to the uppermost branch that she would find them.She wondered if they would turn her into a leaf person and allow her to ride their dragonflies,like mini helicopters they seemed.She slurped in her breath and tilted her head back to view the vanishing limbs,the very top arms obscured by clouds,just a few fingers sprouting into space,wearing a few of Saturn's rings.
Jake and Laura simultaneously decided they would scale The Giant,as everyone in town kindly referred to it.Jake and Laura,both eight years- old and best friends for as far back as either's memory could reach went to Laura's house,they constructed a plan.
The plan was simple,they would use a latter to reach the lowest branch and free climb from there.That very afternoon they returned,equipped and ready.The two groped and climbed until breathless and took seats on a fat,sturdy branch.
A week later they built a treehouse.Jake stood on the roof attempting to scrape away a bit of the sky's paint,Laure hardly blinked hoping to capture a glimpse of of her leaf dwellers.
Of course they never scraped paint from the heavens or discovered a secret civilization,but they realized as the days and weeks,then months and years passed that the tree inspired them every moment of every day.Their other dreams flourished like the limbs of that tree.
Of course there was the day when they were thirteen that Laura had painted the ceiling of the little structure bright blue and surprised Jake.
"Your mural sky,and it's still wet-touch it,you'll have a piece of the sky."
He did,and sure enough his fingertips were stained blue,he laughed and surprised Laura the next day.He made doll sized people of leaves,constructing makeshift wings of construction paper.Laura soared them into the branches,they weren't as graceful as butterflies but they were her leaf people.
Then,as they sat at the base of that same tree at eighteen years of age (no longer trusting the branches that seemed much smaller with their almost adult bodies)they spoke of The Giant.
"I think that even though the tree has been silent all of these years it's been shouting something," Jake said.
"What's that?" Laura questioned.
"Reach for the sky,ya know,there aren't any limits.Like discovering gravity,Newton never woud've done that without his tree."
"Huh," Laura reclined in the moist crabgrass ,"the sky?Why stop there?Reach for the moon."
"Or the stars,"Jake suggested grinning,"trees,they're reason for inspiration."
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