FLASH FICTION: The Blue Night

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 “What are we going to do with him?”

*

I looked in my heart and heard a nightmare singing.

“Who are you?” I almost said but a voice said, “Mr. Gullifer.”

It was darkest in one corner of the room.

A man stepped out of the corner.

He got close to me.

He climbed onto the bed.

He opened his jaw wide and … bit down on my head.

I heard a crack.

I closed my eyes.

It was still a long time till morning.

*

“Lamotrigine three times a day, fluoxetine once. Risperidone—you can give it to him at night if he gets drowsy. If he starts vomiting, call me.”

*

Every night.

I tried not to look at the corner.

I looked.

There was a chair. Mr. Gullifer…

He stood up. His hat just about touched the ceiling.

One step.

Two.

He opened his jaw.

I closed my eyes.

He crawled on top of me.

He bit my lips shut.

He bit down hard.

I swallowed hard.

I cried.

No one heard me.

*

“What are we going to do?”

*

Mr. Gullifer was sitting on my chest. Digging his…

“Why do you like me?” he said.

I was too scared.

“Hey?”

He dug his fist into my heart.

“Hey?”

I wanted to cry.

I was too scared.

“Hey?”

I closed my eyes.

I had a lot of pain in my heart.

I closed my eyes tight.

*

“Doc?”

“Ma’am?”

“I’m eighty-four years old.”

“Mmm hmm.”

“I can’t live forever.”

“No.”

“Doc…”

“Yeah?”

“I’m wondering…

“Am I too old…

“Is it possible…

“Can I give Aiden my brain?

“Doc?

“Doc?”

*

I looked at the corner.

Mr. Gullifer…

He stood up. His hat touched the ceiling, this time.

One step.

I wanted—I didn’t stop looking.

Two steps.

Mr. Gullifer opened his jaw.

I swallowed the air. All of it.

I wanted to cry.

I didn’t.

I wanted to close my eyes, but… I kept looking.

When I looked at Mr. Gullifer’s face, it changed. It was—it didn’t look like anything. It looked like nothing. His hat was a shadow. It changed and changed. It kept changing.

He covered his face.

One step back. Two.

He sat back down. He closed his jaw.

I blew the air back into the room. All of it.

*

“We love you. We love you. We love you. We love you. We love you.”

*

I couldn’t sleep.

I looked at the corner.

Nothing.

I got out of bed.

I looked behind me.

I looked out the window.

The blue night was beautiful.

I looked down. I saw a painted cart with a horse hooked up to it. Mr. Gullifer was getting into the cart. He was sitting down.

He turned his head. He looked up at me. A long time.

There was a pain in my heart.

It went away.

Mr. Gullifer turned away.

Then he drove away.

                                                                                           

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SHORT STORY: Marcellus

My latest short story for Transition magazine. Though written years ago, and just published, the subject matter (the emotional fallout of a school shooting) is all too timely. Read “Marcellus” here.

 

FLASH FICTION: The Cemetery Bird

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They won’t bury you.

That’s what they whisper. When they really want to hurt you.

When someone dies, when a kid dies in my town, they don’t bury you, they feed you to the Cemetery Bird. There’s no room for kids in the cemetery. If you’re poor, there’s no room, but if you’re rich, they find a way.

Billy…

My mom carried him. I walked behind my mom. She walked up to the bird. My dad didn’t even go up. The bird opened up its mouth and my mom dropped my brother in. Then it closed its mouth. That was it.

They didn’t bury him. They won’t bury you.

One morning, I felt cold in a different way. My parents got nervous. The doctor talked to my parents. When they looked at me, I felt like I was on fire. Though I was so cold.

Every day, I try to feel okay. I walk around with my cane a bit. I try not to think about it.

Yesterday…

I walked past the cemetery. I looked down at my legs. They were shaking, I was so tired. I grabbed onto the cemetery gate. When I looked up, I shouldn’t have, I looked right at the Cemetery Bird. A big, pale bird like a pelican. It breathed out. It swallowed. I felt just as cold as the cemetery gate. I cried there for a long time. When I got home I was still crying.

I’m just trying to feel okay.

EVENT PHOTOS: Joan Betty Stuchner Award

As you may know, I was recently in Vancouver, where I received the inaugural Joan Betty Stuchner – Oy Vey! – Funniest Children’s Book Award. Here are a couple photos from the event (FYI, I’m the tall, ape-like gentleman):

JBS1

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For more photos, check the official website.