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show don’t tell [1] – fear

This shall be another kind of series, of exercise. I shall take no less, no more, than 30 minutes to show and not tell. I will likely disappoint. I invite your critiques. And I invite you to give it a try. Try not to worry so much about how the tale turns out. We do that enough in life. Take the half of an hour. And if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to read what comes about. Cheers, then. Here we go.

Christopher began the long walk over to his aunt’s house. The darkness of the day had arrived recently, and the young little man felt the shadows nipping at his heels. His block was a few blocks away, and so he had to distract his thoughts as he passed the other houses. The sidewalks that rose and fell, had ridges and slopes in between. The lawns that had chain-linked fences, more weeds than grass, and sat silently under windows often decorated with boards and adjacent to the signatures of rival gangs. The globes of illumination that fell from the posts in between homes was spotted, inconsistent, unworthy of the notion of continuity. So some parts of his familiar surroundings seemed more ominous, depending upon where the light happened to be falling. Christopher usually got along well with his aunt, indeed, the whole of his mom’s side of the family. Sue was his mom’s oldest sister. Both ladies were born in the city, raised there, educated on poverty and disturbance. The stereotypes are a pity, thought Sue as she sat in her kitchen, sipping on some whiskey. The trampoline is broken, and the couch needs fixing, Sue thought as she made herself a sandwich and took her position in front of the television. The people in my life are worthless, and I still have to put up with them because it’s better than feeling lonely, Sue felt as she opened the door to greet David, the guy she was seeing, one of the many who liked himself a good once in a while a healthy beating. The crickets had started chirping, and Chris was eager to get to his destination. He wished his mom wouldn’t send him over so late. But, she also had little say in the lining of the school districts, and it was better that he wake up at his address, near where the bus comes in the morning. The night was swaying, as if there was an energy imbalance, as if the streets were conspiring with the architectures of the firmament. The diagnostics were alarming, the redness blaring, and Christopher’s imagination was reeling. The car on the corner was bouncing, and there was a couple walking with a couple guns in their back pockets, marking territory, making the rounds, living with a purpose, clarified meaning. And he wondered about his fate, his path – was he the one doing the step taking? The school was largely filled with those with other stories, kids with patterns of speaking and fabrics of experience with different stitching, knitting of a different order, and though one culture may be superior to another, it seemed unfair to compare when one has been playing unfairly and the other subject to its immorality. The tension in the house was immediate, disconcerting, as soon as Christopher entered the lair. He could tell that Sue had been drinking, and that perhaps recently there had been a disagreement of sorts. The kitchen was accented by a pile of dishes, a floor with visitors crawling in different directions, lights without bulbs, a half-open fridge and overflowing recycling bin, and specks of blood in various locations. On two of the walls, a cup on the counter, droplet cities navigated between and among by tile critters.

“Christopher, is that you? Let me hear your voice, sweetpie.”
“Good evening, Aunt Sue. Are you in the living room?”
“On the lazyboy. Please, come in. I’d get up to greet you, but I’m just so comfortable here.”
“Sure thing, Aunt Sue.”

Christopher turned the wall that opened up into the living room, and dropped his backpack. He wanted to scream, but something inside his mouth was not working. It was loud in his head. Though he couldn’t hear anything reaching his ears from outside of them. The aunt whose spirit he usually equated with her cherry pies was standing in the middle of the living room, most of her face bloody and an opening on the right side of her upper head, the hairs were jagged and mixed with what seemed to be dried blood and glass, and she held a knife in her hand, a blade that was still wet, and seemed to have dripped away from a puddle, a silent mass, a curve that resembled that which a body takes when resting on the ground, the flesh that was once called David, in a heap marinated in less frequently oozing, cooling blood. And the noise turned into a din, a steady drilling, a piercing note that was emitted by all objects, living and plastic, and Chris turned at once to leave, run back home, to safety. His feet started to move, and he felt the earth tremble behind him, as a predator took its form, dug in its feet, began to move stealthily. She took steady steps, strides, to offer Christopher a sense of confidence and reassurance. Cooing and motioning looming, Christopher found the doorknob uncooperative, frozen in the winter’s stubbornness. His aunt’s shadow was first seen making its way along the passage, moving and covering multiple walls, the size of the fateful encounter was growing with seconds inflated into momentous eternities, and the beating of his heart beat to the drowned chorus of uncertainty as what seemed to be the point seemed like a spear in the play of the light, and then his aunt’s body summoned and consumed the wraiths, which proceeded to reunite in full force in a maddened countenance. A cry, a wail, a wish for warmth and home, mommy’s arms and cookies at night, his aunt put on a smile, approached with a hug, loosed soothing syllables as she tightened her grip on the knife, and gave her little nephew a kiss that lasted a night.

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