I sit at the window; watch the city decay three floors below. The lights in the restaurant across the street
go out. Nobody’s hungry anyway. Buildings bulge and buckle. The sidewalk seems to undulate.
A fist bangs at my bedroom door. “Mr. Frake!”
The smoke begins.
Sirens wail. Hand on my
shoulder. “We must leave.”
I shake my head. “I
am an old man.”
“You can’t give up.”
“I’ll never make it.”
“Do not tuck me into the ground in a fancy box lined with
velvet. Take me, what remains, back to
the Pine Barrens. Take me deep into the forest
and lay me down upon brown needles.” I
grasp his hand over my shoulder. “Let
nature do her gentle work.”
“Mr. Frake! You must
come with me now!”
Outside, the rat-a-tat of the guns begin, sharp staccato.
I squeeze his hand and release it. I wheel around to face him. “You’ve been loyal to me all these
years. Promise me this one last thing.”
“It’s not right.”
“I will become bird and soil and tree. I will nurture the earth. I will travel the world as I have always
wanted were it not for this.” I indicate
my wheelchair, my constant companion, more faithful perhaps even than the man
who stands before me, tears in his eyes.
“Leave me now!”
“I swear to you that I will return.”
I nod. This is enough
“I love you, Mr. Frake.”
He kisses my cheek and I think of all the possibilities for his life
that he’s sacrificed in order to make my own possible.
“The Pine Barrens,” I say.
He nods and runs for the door.
And I sit and wait for whatever might come.
And I picture myself lying deep in the forest, nurturing life
as yet unborn.
It is a new start. It
is a fresh start. For the two of us.
“Thank you, Stephen,” I whisper as the door swings on its
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge